AMBrewster talks to parents every week who have no idea how passionate the world is about exposing their kids to sexuality. Today we discuss “techtation” and learn to prepare and defend our kids from the unrelenting onslaught.
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I am sooooooooo thankful we didn’t have smartphones when I was in high school!!!!!!! I don’t want to imagine the destruction I would have willfully invited into my life! I’m also thankful pornography was harder to access on the internet in those days.
Pornography was plenty accessible if you wanted to find it, but I’m thankful the temptation to interact with it innearly every app wasn’t something I had to deal with, because I would have drug my life through even more disgusting rancor than I already had.
But though we generation X’ers didn’t have that level of access, these are the technological waters our children are sailing. And for those of you who think this episode isn’t for you because your children are very young, please listen carefully.
I distinctly remember my first sensually lustful thoughts when I was five. I know. I know, that’s disturbing, and you may be tempted to wonder if I’d been exposed to sexual things that would have implanted those thoughts in my tiny mind.
But I didn’t. And the research shows that there are many young children who -- through no fault of their friends and family -- start becoming interested in sensual things at very young ages. Every parent needs to hear today’s topic.
But more on that in a minute.
Recently, Truth.Love.Parent. has been gaining popularity. More people have been listening because some of you have taken four simple steps. Some of you have subscribed to our podcast. Some of you have given us a 5-star rating on iTunes. Some of you have given us glowing reviews on iTunes. And some of you regularly share our episodes with other parents. Each listener who does those four simple things makes it easier for other searching parents to find us. Thank you for what you’ve done and what you will do to make T.L.P. heard in more homes.
And now back to to topic of Parents, Kids, and Techtation.
Listen, I know I’m not the first to sound a siren call about young people and the threat technology represents. But I hope you’ll be patient with me for just a few minutes as I share some insights I’ve gleaned from counseling teenagers and children who are addicted to sexual sin.
1. Lust doesn’t need technology to flourish.
Job tells us that he had to make a promise with his eyes not to lust after women. Job is a book written about a family that predates Abraham! In fact, Job is thought to be the oldest book in the Bible. The point is, lust exists in the heart of every human, and sexual lust in particular needs only two things –- a mind and an object.
Please do not think your children are safe from the temptation we’re discussing simply because they don’t have access to a technological device. All they need is their own mind and something after which to lust.
2. Technology is to sexual sin what airplanes are to world travel.
They don’t make it possible, they make it easier.
While driving down the road traveling about 45 miles an hour, I’ve often marveled at the amazing speeds we travel compared to the transportation of the past. Horse and buggy have nothing on today’s worst cars. As we’ve already seen, lust doesn’t need technology, but technology sure makes it easier to access it. When before, a young man would have to sneak a copy of a dirty magazine, today he can anonymously view whatever forms of vile filth he wants from the comforts of his own bedroom.
3. Too many parents are ignorant to what I like to call “Techtation.” Techtation is the unique temptation technology affords.
Did you know that the most grotesque scenes of human sexuality are available to anyone with an internet connection? Did you know your child can send and receive texts you will never know about? Did you know someone could send your child a nude picture of themselves, and you’d never be billed for it? Did you know that almost all of that can happen in your children’s most innocuous game apps, and that every single thing I just mentioned can be accessed through the most basic social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter?
We plan to do an episode in the near future where we detail for you exactly what your children can access just on social media. It’s disturbing and shocking.
But for now, we must move on,
4. Too many parents trust their children with technology.
We don’t trust toddlers around ovens, scissors, and pools because of the inherent risk each poses. In addition, the proportionate immaturity of the child to the enhanced danger of the object increases our prohibitions. Yet we hand pre-pubescent, hormone-ridden, spiritually-immature, lustful young people a device capable of beaming wicked images into their brains, and we somehow justify this decision because our culture condemns us for not trusting our kids!
Listen. I know why we want to trust our children so badly. It seems like a need we have to want to extend them more privileges than they’ve earned. And in many cases, that’s okay. It offers them opportunities to succeed. And even when they fail, most of the time it’s happens in a safe environment where we parents can help then learn from the defeat.
But techtation doesn’t work that way for two of the reasons we’ve already seen. 1. We never have an accurate picture of the depths of our children’s lust. I can’t tell you how many parents have told me categorically that their child has never seen pornography, but later in counseling the child admits to seeing things that would make us nauseous. 2. Techtation is filled with trap doors, secret walls, hidden peep-holes, and whole underground caverns full of perversion that most parents know nothing about.
Handing your child a device with no filters, walls, moats, barbed wire, and security features is infinitely worse than handing them the keys for the first time. And there’s not a single parent who does that without many precautions and provisions in place.
5. When sin is finally found out (generally after much disaster has been wrought), parents often cut the wrong cords.
I’ve seen plenty of parents remove the child’s devices and cut all digital communication with the outside world. But the cord of personal lust is too often left untouched.
I encounter these five issues nearly every time I counsel a young person engaged in sexual sins: they come hardwired with the lust, they have access to technology that provides countless temptations in places that seem safe with very few parental restrictions, and when the worst happens, it’s often the technology that’s blamed.
But we mustn’t stop with these observations. I think it’s fair to say most of us disdain criticism that provides no viable solutions.
So stay with me a moment more while I address the very simple ways we as parents can help our children battle techtation.
1. Understand Lust.
Parents need to learn to smell its presence on your children’s breath, see its shadow on their bedroom floors, watch how they interact with their peers. Do they touch each other? Where are their eyes resting? Understand the biblical root of lust, the consequences of lust, and the cure for lust. Did you know that sexual sins scar a person in different ways than others sins? Proverbs 6:29-35 gives us a view of the destruction inherent in sexual perversion that should bring tears to our eyes. We parents must be educated and informed about the biblical issues and answers.
2. Come to grips with the fact that when you hand your child a mobile device, you’re not merely making it easier to contact them.
Understand the inherent dangers of the device. You likely baby-proofed your home; you also need to teenage-proof the phone. There are many things you can do, and we don’t have the time to scratch the surface -- especially because nearly every device has different features. But I will include a link in the description to a program called Covenant Eyes. Programs like this are invaluable in the battles against techtation.
3. Research pornography!
I know that sounds terrible, but I think you know what I mean. Read articles about the effects it has on the brain. Study the physiological cues of a porn addict. Research how kids today are sexting. Become an expert on protecting and preparing your kids to interact with lust and techtation. There’re a plethora of up-to-date articles like this one that are written specifically for parents to know how to protect their children, and what to protect them from. I’ll also say that we Christians need to resharpen our definition of pornography. No doubt, when you hear that word, you imagine terrible things. That’s appropriate. But did you know that sensuality of any kind is pornographic? Sex was created by God for married couples. When we allow our kids to watch movies with immodest actors doing sensual things, we’re introducing our kids to their first pornography.
4. Stop trusting babies around the oven!
Nowhere in Scripture is it mandated that a parent trust their child simply because they’re a teenager. Trust is a facet of love, but trust is never unwise in its trusting. You teach your children to use a knife before letting them wield their own. And even after you’ve taught them, you oversee them and review with them, and add more instruction about cutting different things in different situations. You also teach your kids to drive before handing them the keys. We need to teach our children about the device in their hands, teach them about lust. Let them mature, and then bless them with trust equal to their worthiness.
I’ll also say this education needs to start as early as possible. My son needs to be made aware of the dangers of the minecraft app, and every child allowed to sit in font of a computer keyboard is one keystroke away from seeing their first pornography.
And with that said, Christian parents need a renewed vision for how to introduce this concept of sexuality to their children. And the longer we wait the bigger the issue will become.
5. Children need accountability.
They need to be taught to live a Christ-honoring life in the middle of this corrupt world. Joseph didn’t need to be taken out of Egypt, he needed to worship God in Egypt. The device isn’t the real issue; the heart is. It may be necessary to cut the cordless device, but if your child is caught in sin, don’t ignore the deeper, more significant issue. Get counseling. Root out the lust and help the child desire what is right and good.
And just for making it this far, here’re two bonus points!
Bonus 1: Friend, follow, like, digg, and pin your kids.
No, that wasn’t an admonishment to psycho-babble, espionage, digging graves, or voodoo dolls. You need to hang out where your kids hang out. Know who they know. Read what they read. Listen to what they listen to. How else do you hope to lead them through the mine field that is this life? Every single time I’ve encountered a young person feeding the flesh on social media, I’ve found a young person whose parents don’t know what Snap Chat or Instagram is. “I don’t use Facebook,” is not a legitimate excuse that somehow gets you -- the parent -- off the hook! Is your child on Facebook? Then that’s reason enough for you to have an account . . . or at least to share a login with your child.
I know a set of parents who never would have known a middle school boy in their daughter’s Christian school was soliciting sexual favors from her had all of her incoming texts not also gone to their phones. Is that a scary proposition for you? Good.
Bonus 2: “Friend” your child in real-life too.
Once again, no psycho-babble is intended here. What I mean is make these steps in their sanctification a you-and-them-together experience, not a you-against-them confrontation. Love them. Disciple them. Be on their side for God’s glory. Too often these conversations aren’t had until someone’s already in trouble. At Victory Academy for Boys we start these conversations before the guys do wrong. We discuss them in appropriate, biblical ways because we love the guys, and they realize that. I’ve been told that our chapels about sexuality and pornography are some of the most impactful messages we have for two reasons: The guys have told me that 1. they didn’t realize it was that big of a deal to God, and 2. we offered the admonishment in love.
What’s at stake in this conversation is the spiritual life and Christ-honoring relationships of your children. Please don’t naively allow them to undergo the painful temptation technology brings to bear on their lust? Help them know what lust is and how to defeat it in their life with the truth of God’s Word. And then equip them with the spiritual weapons necessary to fight tech-tation.
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So, until we see you next time, I pray you and your child can grow closer to each other as you both learn to fight techtation.
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