Is Your Teen at Home Tonight?

Even though many do not realize it, we all use a measure of faith in daily situations. For instance, when you go to a gas station you hold a certain amount of faith in a great many variables. In New Jersey, we trust the station attendant at our full service stations will not do anything to cause a fire or explosion. (HINT: If the attendant is smoking, drive away.) We also have faith the manufacturer of the holding tanks and pumps has clearly met up with the approved standards of containment and flow of hazardous materials. With that in mind, we also believe an individual from the government has performed a routine safety check-up to approve the materials to keep manufacturers and suppliers accountable. Of course, if that inspector had a busy day, we trust he still did a thorough job to ensure your safety. It all makes you think twice when pulling into a gas station!

Just as the government takes careful measures to ensure safety regarding fuel, so we should be alert to anything that might cause harm to our children. Not too long ago I attended the Understanding Youth Culture seminar led by Walt & Ken Mueller. There I learned much about some important issues concerning technology, of which all parents of youth should be aware. We all know how technology can be used in positive and honorable ways. However, there are several negative aspects to technology that often go unaddressed or unregulated.

Most parents go to great lengths to maintain accountability and safety when their children leave the house. Who are they going to be with? Where are they going? What time will they be back? Who will be driving? Will there be adult supervision? Many parents feel their children are safest within the four walls of their own homes. However, most do not realize that the many facets of our modern technological instruments allow our children to “leave” the safety of our homes even while being under the same roof. Ken Mueller believes, “When a child is connected to the Internet, they have left home.” Whether it’s by instant or text messaging, cell phone, personal websites or other social networking, what are we doing to protect our students when they “leave the house”?

There is often little to no accountability or routine safety check-ups concerning our children’s technological use. Let me encourage everyone to take this to heart, and consider treating the use of technology in the same manner we treat hanging out with friends. Who are your students connecting with on their MySpace or Facebook site? What is the time your students will “be home” from their text messaging? Is there adult supervision on IM? Many are afraid of invading our child’s personal space or their “privacy.” But, ask yourself how private is the life they willingly expose to the rest of the world?

We all want the best for our children. Regardless of how you determine to safeguard them when using technology, the important thing is that you are doing something. For more information on this or other related topics, let me encourage you to visit http://www.cpyu.org. Be alert, be aware, and think about whether your teen is at home even if their in the house.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8

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