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House or Home - Parenting Edition - Is Technology Helping or Hurting Our Kids?, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
May 1, 2024 6:00 am

House or Home - Parenting Edition - Is Technology Helping or Hurting Our Kids?, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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May 1, 2024 6:00 am

When it comes to technology, ignorance could be lethal - especially when it has to do with your children. In this message, Chip is joined by his son Ryan for a candid discussion about technology and specific ways to protect your entire family from the dangers of unrestricted access to the internet.

Main Points

What do parents need to know in today's tech world?

  1. The landscape is constantly changing.
  2. The rules are ever changing.
  3. The dangers are changing and growing.
  4. The basic needs and desires have NOT changed.

What's the game plan?

  1. Lead the way.
  2. Have the talk often and openly.
  3. Keep the control.
  4. Know where they go.
  5. Go where they go.
Broadcast Resource Additional Resource Mentions About Chip Ingram

Chip Ingram’s passion is helping Christians really live like Christians. As a pastor, author, and teacher for more than three decades, Chip has helped believers around the world move from spiritual spectators to healthy, authentic disciples of Jesus by living out God’s truth in their lives and relationships in transformational ways.

About Living on the Edge

Living on the Edge exists to help Christians live like Christians. Established in 1995 as the radio ministry of pastor and author Chip Ingram, God has since grown it into a global discipleship ministry. Living on the Edge provides Biblical teaching and discipleship resources that challenge and equip spiritually hungry Christians all over the world to become mature disciples of Jesus.

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When it comes to technology, ignorance is lethal.

Let me say that again. When it comes to technology and your children, ignorance is lethal. My son Ryan is going to join me today and we're going to talk about technology and some things that your teenager may never ever tell you.

But boy, you need to know. Stay with me. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. The mission of these daily programs is to intentionally disciple Christians through the Bible teaching of Chip Ingram.

Thanks for joining us as we continue our series House or Home, Parenting Edition. In our last program, Chip and his son Ryan talked about the influence of technology on our kids and stressed the dangers of unrestricted access to social media and phones in the home. Now, if you missed that insightful discussion, let me encourage you to go back and listen to it through the Chip Ingram app. It's actually an easy way to listen to Chip and Living on the Edge anytime.

Well, with all that said, here now is Ryan Ingram to pick up with the second half of the conversation. Is technology helping or hurting our kids? Okay, so how do I connect and relate? And there's some basic needs and desires that have never changed.

I did youth ministry a long time and the thing about youth ministry is how you attract students changes constantly. But how you keep them doesn't. How you keep them is actually these three fundamental areas and I believe it's true for you and I and for every single person. First is that there's a deep desire and need for community, for a place to belong. You see that in the tech world with the evolution of social media and I mean there's a billion other ones that are coming out all the time. But there's this deep desire to belong and to be a part and yet then most of the times, the kids I talk with, that's not being met inside the family.

In fact, they feel isolated or alone at home. It's too busy going to the next thing and so I just wrote down some things that I think are helpful practices for us as family and one of the things that we did growing up all the time was family dinners. It was 5.30. You had to be there at 5.30. If you're late, you are in big trouble.

I mean, literally. If I was late, I was in big trouble too. But it was scheduled into the routine of our life, 5.30, the whole family's there, we're going to sit around the table, but it created a culture of community that has shaped the way we do family, the way we hang out.

When we go to dinner, in fact, my wife, when she first joined our family, it was odd to her, a little bit weird, because we would sit and have dinner and then we'd hang out around the table for hours and just talk and hang out. It just created that space to be. And the second is a deep desire for significance. Talk about that.

That's right. Every student, in fact, every person has this longing to make an impact, know why they're here, what is my purpose. And as a family, as we do that, a great way to connect is to serve together, go on a missions trip together, look at how you can not just be a part of what's going on here and serve, but how can we as a family serve. I watched a family that serves together at our church, their whole family works in the children's ministry. And just a great way they see church and their kids have this reality that church is part of us serving together and using our skills and gifts.

I mean, we did that a ton growing up and went to projects and painted stuff and all over, but it gives a deep sense of significance. The third one is this need for boundaries. And on this issue, what I thought was interesting as I've just watched the teenage, especially boys, that had the least amount of boundaries. What I watched them so often do is actually they would join the military. There is just intuitively this deep sense and need for boundaries, for security, for safety, for someone to say, here's where you should be and where you should live.

And it was so much so that they could do anything and go anywhere, but then they would end up going to the military, the most rigid, rule-based place as far as here's the boundaries. Well, just a word to parents, because when you're setting those boundaries, you're the bad person, whether you're a single parent or a blended family, especially when, you know, who are you to tell me that. But that role of saying, this is the way it is, I really love you, I care for you. So it's not just the research, but when kids come through it and they're young adults, they're saying, man, I didn't feel loved when my parents didn't provide that, because it's hard.

I mean, there's a lot of nights, I'll tell you, your mom and I, you know, we sat up in bed and I'm thinking I'm the hardest, most difficult, painful, rigid dad in the world, but I'm sure this is right. I just feel lousy about it. And you didn't seem to like it at times either.

No, not at all. It's a short-term pain, long-term gain. It communicates, the students and teens communicate over and over, I felt abandoned without the limits and boundaries.

I felt alone without the limits and boundaries. I felt like they didn't really, if you really cared about me, and since you didn't really, you didn't care enough to do what I needed, not what I want. Well, let's shift gears, and I want to get to the real solution side. I think we've said, okay, I hope a lot of parents are thinking I had no idea down deep my kids are going to talk like this and what their needs are, or sort of there's the landscape, what I need to know.

So what's the game plan? I'm a parent here, and I'm thinking, okay, help me, man. I mean, some people are feeling like me, ignorant.

Other people are just feeling like neglect. I need to get with the program, and some are feeling like I don't know where to start, so lead on. Well, and I tried to simplify it as much as possible. Just give you five steps for a game plan. The first is lead the way. As the parent, lead the way, and I'll give you a few ways to do that. First is become a student and a support. Kind of that whole principle, as long as you have kids that are students, you should be a student too, and it should go longer than that, but just think about that. I'm going to be a student. I can't be that, what we talked earlier, that autopilot parent. I have to be an active, engaged parent. The second is get help if necessary. Amit, I need help in this area.

I wrote down kind of three things I think you may need help in. First is personally. Just talking about porn, I know that there's probably many of us in this room that have that same struggle, that we can't genuinely begin to lead the way for our kids because there is a secret addiction that's keeping you from actually guarding and loving your child to their fullest and the way God's created you to do that. And personally, you just need to get help. It's for me, but it is for my family. The second area is technically.

This is the most tech-savvy area in the world. And so some of you are going, I got it. And there's others that are like my dad. And so you need to go, I need help. It's okay to not know, but it's not okay to not know and not do anything. And so I don't know how to do it, but I will figure out how to have someone help me do it.

The third area is professionally. You begin to go down this, especially I think this is in the area. If you have tweens and teens in this area and you've not done anything, you're going down a rabbit hole and you're not sure what you're going to find. And you may uncover some things that you don't know how to deal with. And so you need to get some professional help. That may be a Christian counselor, that may be your youth pastor. I've had that.

I had one sermon I share about my addiction and my past openly because I know that God can use it in helping others to then break the secret. And I had a dad call me and he said, hey, I just found out my teenage sons have been looking at porn. I don't know what to do. Can I bring them in? And so he brought them into my office.

He didn't know how to have this conversation and what to do. And so we just sat down for the next couple of hours with his kids and we just walked through. And the fun part is now I see them. I mean, he has a great relationship with our kids and these are just awesome, awesome boys that love God and want to do the right thing. They just needed help. And so get help if needed, whether that's personally, technically or professionally. Can you all know now why I asked my son to help me? You know, it's kind of like I want to really help you, but I didn't know how to help you. Yeah. So and I personally, I have, for me, I have accountability partners I use on my computer and on my phone. X3 watches one and I use Covenant Eyes. Those are great resources to find, okay, what's up to date? What's actually happening and where can I get help?

What filters are used at different ages? And then you say here, number two, have the talk often and openly. What do you mean by the talk? The talk is the tech talk, is the birds and the bees talk. It's the hard talks, really. It's just what are the hard talks? The talks that you want to avoid, the talks that make you a little uncomfortable just bringing it up to your kids, the talks that you know that if you have them could really guard and protect them. And so I say have the talk open and often. Don't avoid it.

Address the issues. I remember, actually, I think I was 11 years old and we had the birds and the bees talk. And one of the things down here is create a safe environment for them to talk. And I remember having the birds and the bees talk and sitting on the bed with my dad. And my dad's sitting, you know, he's got his arm around me and he's having this conversation.

And 11 years old, I don't really fully get it and it's a little weird to me. But I remember this clearly and it was just a sweet moment with my dad of where he's like, son, no matter what, no matter what you ever do, you can never do anything that will make me love you any less. I will always love you. You can talk to me about anything. I'm always here for you. Now, there was limits, but then there was the open door of grace and love that I had a father who had unconditional love for me. And I think that's part of creating this safe environment for them to talk where you ask questions, you affirm your love for them.

Because so often students, they experience things, your teens, a great majority of teens are actually solicited online and never tell their parents at all. And you want to create an environment where they can actually share. You're listening to Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram, and Chip and Ryan will be back in just a minute to finish today's talk. But quickly, this program is only possible because of the generosity of listeners like you. Consider supporting us today by becoming a monthly partner. Learn more by going to livingonthedge.org.

That's livingonthedge.org. And thanks for doing whatever God leads you to do. Well, with that, here again are Chip and Ryan to finish this important message. Let me ask you this. If I'm a parent, what are the warning signs? I think that's a really important thing that maybe something's going on. What would three or four things that would tell me, hey, I better get my antenna up, I think my kid might be into something. Yeah, I think if you notice a big change in behavior, like a character change where you see them beginning to, all of a sudden they were outgoing and now they're introverted.

All of a sudden they used to do sports and now they're hiding away somewhere. Whether they become secretive or defensive, they get angry, easy, or obsessive over things. One thing is if you notice that whenever you come into the room, whether it's the TV or the computer and the screen changes right away, your radar should be up. It's not just that they're clicking to a new thing. They may be clicking away from something if they withdraw from family. But those are just some of the warning signs. So lead the way, have the talk, and then keep the control. What do you mean by that? Well, if you don't keep the control, your kids will have the control. And just by nature, they're going to be ahead of us technology-wise.

My daughter already can use the iPhone and get her, you know, I mean, she can't tie her shoes yet, but she can use the iPhone. But keep the control. One thing, and just our history, we had a computer that was in the back room.

That's a bad idea. Keep the computer, keep all technology, I would say TV, phones, everything, in public arenas. Set specific rules and contracts.

And a couple of those websites, they have great material for you to go, okay, here's the set of guidelines we probably need to embrace as a family. Parental controls. And this is just a rule I have, and I think it's a pretty good one, that if your device doesn't have parental controls on it, if you have a device, maybe it's a Blu-ray player, everything comes internet-ready now, right? Gaming device, and it doesn't have any way for you to monitor or filter or stop, you probably shouldn't have it.

That's just asking for trouble. In fact, my phone, on the iPhone here, I get in on here, and iPhone brought a whole new list of challenges for me with my background, and I had to figure out what do I do. And when it first came out, they didn't have the software for it, and I have an accountability partner, and I found in settings, that under settings, there's actually, you go to general, and there's an area called restrictions.

I can't even access restrictions. My accountability partner has that code. And maybe something on this, this is where we get sort of, is this idea that this device is your son or your daughter's, and it's theirs, and they can do with it. If this goes in their room, if this goes to bed with them, the latest study is, kids are texting in bed till one or two in the morning. In fact, some of their parents.

If you can't turn this thing off for 24 hours one day a week, you ought to ask yourself, what's driving you? Because at the end of the day, you know what that really boils down to? A level of grandiosity that's almost unbelievable. I'm so important.

I need to know everything. I'm the center of the universe. I mean, when you stand in line, when you're waiting for a red light, and you know what, it's all of us, isn't it? It's just, you hear that little beep, and I wonder who texted me, I wonder, you know what, I think they'll be there. It's a whole three minutes until you turn in. But it's some discipline. But if these things are with your kids, and it's kind of unlimited, or you're modeling that, you can almost just set the clock. Some very, very bad things are going to happen in your home. And so this is what this is talking about.

You really need to take control. Set time, set restrictions. Nothing good happens after midnight. What do you mean by that? I just mean, for me, nothing happened good late at night. So you can actually set your computer, or maybe even if you're more technical, you can set your entire Internet to actually shut off and set different time things for that.

But if I had access to unlimited, unrestricted Internet late at night, which I did in high school, late high school, it was not good for me. I struggled when it was late and when I was alone. And then you have the other area that I think is the greatest struggle, is when they're with others. You can control two out of the three, and you can help shape the third and begin to instill values and have some guidelines.

In fact, a lot of the websites say, here's our guidelines, and here's how we're going to interact with others as well, which is really important. Number four, know where they go. And on this one, I like it. You say when they're young, and they can kind of read this, zero to 12, you become a gate.

Right. But then when they get older, because even schoolwork and stuff, you want to be guardrails. Yeah, the needs change. And so as a gate, as a parent, we, I believe, have the responsibility to determine what comes into our child's mind and what they're sending out, and should completely control that, because we're guarding and protecting them. And yet, then as they get older, one, we want to help them learn how to use it responsibly. But the whole idea of guardrails, and this is a great, I remember sharing this. This was part of a talk that we did with Awakening, our college age, out of the passage, talking about embracing guardrails and becoming guardrails. And that a guardrail is a system that's designed to divert potential disaster, not keep you from fun.

That's good. And so oftentimes, our perspective, and when you can help your teen, your student, to understand what I'm doing is I long to be a guardrail in your life, and I don't long for you to go over the cliff, and so that's what I'm going to consistently do because I love you. And it's not to keep you from fun.

It's not to keep you from what everyone else is doing. It's just I see the danger. And I know that any one of us, and for me as a father and being down this path, I can say, I have the guardrails in my life too. I don't trust me enough.

I love you, but I don't trust you enough either. And so I think it's important to know ages and how we interact with them. And then the last one is we were talking kind of preparing, and it's just I like this one, go where they go. Sometimes parents can feel like, oh, we've got filters on the computers. You know, I've had some talks with my kids. But what you're saying is unless I am their friend, and I log on, and I read and know what's going on, I'm probably going to find myself in that ignorant place where I was at some point. Yeah, you can know where they go, but if you don't go where they go, you don't know what they're saying to others.

They don't know really what they're doing. And you just need to go where they go. In fact, I'd say you need to have all the passwords for your kids and everything.

In fact, the way we set it up at my house is for any parental monitoring stuff, whether it's the Blu-ray player or our Netflix account because we have the parental controls there, my wife has the passwords. I don't need those. And I think the conversation maybe to close with here is it's certainly courage and wisdom, but you hear a message like this, and you realize I don't have their password. I really trust my son or daughter, but I'm ignorant, and I'm setting them up for failure. This is one of those things where you say something in a weak moment, you can be the most godly man, a man after God's own heart, in a weak moment, even David sinned greatly. And so this isn't about I don't trust you. This is about keeping temptation. The biblical command is real clear. You don't fight temptation. You flee from lust. You don't fight it.

Any person, I don't care how much you love God, how disciplined you are, any and every person under the right circumstances of temptation will fall. The best, the godliest, the most well-intended. And so what we're just going to say is we're going to join forces together with our kids and with one another to really live out the life together, to protect one another. You're listening to Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. And the message you just heard is technology helping or hurting our kids is from our series House or Home, Parenting Edition. Chip will join us in studio to share some insights from today's talk in just a minute. Join Chip in this ten-part series as he provides practical and biblical wisdom for moms and dads at every stage of parenthood. He'll dive into Ephesians chapter 6 and share his personal experiences as a father to help you guide your children to become God-honoring adults. Whether you are a new parent or grandparent, this series has valuable insights for you.

If you've missed any messages, visit LivingOnTheEdge.org to catch up. Well, Chip's in studio with me now. And Chip, in recent years you've developed a genuine passion for reaching the next generation. Take a minute, if you would, and tell us what's behind that.

Dave, I can tell you exactly what's behind that. I've got 12 grandkids. The oldest is 19, the youngest is 4. And I've got adult children that are living in this world. And what I know is that the number one influence in kids' lives is not the youth pastor. The number one influence isn't media. It's not social media.

It's not even TikTok. What I see happening is parents and grandparents not realizing the person that has the most influence is you. When we talk about reaching the next generation, in my heart what I want to think about is I want to give hope to sons and daughters. And hope comes from a mom who walks with God, a dad who walks with God, or a single parent who in the midst of it all says, I'm going to model the Christian life.

I'm going to trust God in the midst of the pain. We're going to sit around the table and we're going to eat together. And at Living on the Edge, we are creating resources for moms and dads. We're doing things to reach directly into the lives of teens.

We're addressing those issues like gender fluidity and all the things that parents are dealing with. If you care about your kids and if you care about your grandkids and Living on the Edge is a part of your life, could I ask you very directly, will you financially partner with us? We need your help. Go to LivingOnTheEdge.org. That's LivingOnTheEdge.org and make a gift. Help us reach the next generation.

Well, if you believe in that mission and want to join the Living on the Edge team, now is a great time to partner with us. Your financial support helps us create resources, produce broadcasts, and much more. To send a gift, visit LivingOnTheEdge.org or call us at 888-333-6003. That's 888-333-6003 or go to LivingOnTheEdge.org. Have listeners tap donate. And thanks for giving whatever the Lord leads you to give.

Well, here again is Chip with some application for what we heard today. As we close today's program, let me give you some pastoral counsel here. When we got done with this message at our church, the response was jaws were dropping.

And I'm talking about some of our most faithful, committed, godly parents. And it was like they looked at me. I had people stop me in the hall and said, Man, I've got to get home. I've got to address this. And you know, I love my kids, and we have a great relationship. I've not even thought about any of this. So we gave them a to-go package where they could go home and just start saying, Okay, where's the computer?

Do we know passwords? What filter should we use? And so here's, let me encourage you, go and listen to this message again with the notes in front of you, and preferably with your mate, because you need to have a game plan. But this game plan, especially if you're not a single parent, you need to have a game plan that both spouses really agree on, or we're going to have not good things happen in your home. You need to go through all those issues and talk about, How are we going to address this? How do we address that? How do we stay under control?

When's going to be the best time to roll this out? So come up with a plan. We want to help you. LivingOnTheEdge.org, listen again, get the notes, go home and evaluate every area of technology in your home and make it safe for your child. Thanks for that great advice, Chip. Hey, before we go, let me remind you of an easy way to listen to our extended teaching podcast. Hear Chip anytime on Amazon's Alexa Echo and Echo Dot. Just say, Alexa, open Living on the Edge, and you'll be able to enjoy that day's full-length teaching. Try it today. Well, from all of us here, I'm Dave Druey, thanking you for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge, and I hope you'll join us next time. Music
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-01 05:32:05 / 2024-05-01 05:42:53 / 11

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