Is Technology Helping or Hurting Our Kids?
From the series House or Home - Parenting Edition
Our kids have access to the internet and social media outlets that lead them into an environment that can be very hostile to them and to the values you hold as a parent. But it's not practical or reasonable to just shut it all off. Chip, and his pastor-son, Ryan, co-teach this message explaining what you need to know and how you can set up guardrails to protect your kids.
This broadcast is currently not available online. It is available to purchase on our store.
Helping you grow closer to God
Download the Chip Ingram App
About this series
House or Home - Parenting Edition
God's Blueprint for Biblical Parenting
Chip Ingram teaches timeless truths about God's blueprint for parenting and offers a wealth of personal experience and practical help. With courage, tenacity, and focus, this series has the potential to forever change the trajectory of your family life and how you relate with your children.More from this series
Is technology helping or hurting our kids? Now, what I want to do, because the answer is, you already know it, right? The answer is, yes. It is really helping and it’s really hurting.
But what I want to do is I want to start off and I want to do a quick review in terms of five timeless principles. Wherever you’re at, these principles are timeless. What we’re going to find is how you apply them is really different.
Principle number one: is successful parents begin with clear-cut objectives. As a parent you gotta say, “I want my kids, my goal is to help them become holy, to become like Christ, not just happy or successful.”
Principle number two: successful parenting demands that we practice what we preach. They will become what we are.
Principle number three: is successful parenting means building relationships that bond. It’s not a transfer of information. There’s gotta be a deep connection of the heart. And whether that happened in the old days around a camp fire, or whether it happens now with high technology, you gotta have relationships that bond.
Principle number four: successful parenting requires constant repair and ongoing maintenance. I don’t care where you’re at in the parenting journey, just wait six months, you gotta change. You’re going to have to apologize.
Whatever was new? Guess what? Six months from now it’s not new anymore. Whatever you’re doing that’s working well with your kids? Wait a week, it won’t be.
Principle number five: successful parenting provides unconditional love and unpopular limits. When you’re the kind of parent your kids really need you say, “No matter what I want you to know I love you, I’m for you, I will never forsake you and, by the, way no, you can’t have your own selfish way that might be damaging to you.”
So significance, you love them. Boundaries, you give them security.
Now here’s the problem. The problem is the application. How, during the time of Moses, Deuteronomy 6 was applied or in the first century it was applied is one thing. How you apply it now in the technological world that we live in, with internet access everywhere all the time.
Here’s what I want you to know. What you’re ignorant of is lethal.
What you don’t know can destroy your child. Your child, at this time in history, has more information, more influence, more people, and more evil that can get into their mind and heart than ever in the history of the world.
And if you, and you can be sincere, you can be conscientious, you can care about your kid. But if you are ignorant about how and where that information, or those people, or those images, or that thinking, gets into the heart and the mind of your child, it can destroy them.
I know. I’ve been there. Unfortunately. And even done that.
In my ignorance, one of my children logged on to the internet and started a very painful and difficult journey. Ryan, why don’t you come and take a few minutes. This is my son, Ryan Ingram. Welcome him, if you will.
[Applause] Thank you.
Ryan, I was ignorant. I didn’t know much about computers. The guys in the office set one up at home and I’m not sure they even had filters and things. But why don’t you share your story and, kind of, what happened in our home because I was ignorant and didn’t know any better.
[Ryan]: Yeah, well, the problem was you didn’t know a whole lot but you had guys around you who were super tech savvy that always had, kind of, tried to keep you on the latest curve of things.
And so what I call is just the discovery stage. I knew very little but started typing in all kinds of searches and seeing what I could find.
And then eventually came across pornography. And what started out as just kind of looking, turned into a full-blown addiction where I was just sucked in. In fact, what I wanted just, it’s amazing how addiction works, right? It’s the deep craving of the soul that is almost this compulsive element that you can’t control.
And so I would, late at night or when I’d really want people to be gone away from the home so I could be in the back room with the computer and logging onto porn.
I remember that, you know, the power with, especially pornography in this day and age is in the secret. And for me the secret, thankfully, got brought to the surface quickly. I’m glad I wasn’t stuck there for years, and years, and years.
But I remember my senior year of high school I came home one day after school and my dad was home early, which rarely happens and, for me, that’s generally, especially in high school wasn’t a good thing.
So, I see his car is home and my mom’s there. And we take this long walk down the hallway to the back room where the computer was. And he said, “We need to talk.”
And I knew exactly what it was about.
And it was a little awkward. My mom was there but it was actually one of the hardest and yet greatest conversations of my life. Especially when I’ve had conversations with guys over and over in ministry, who, their marriages have been ruined because of pornography. Their kids’ lives destroyed. And just to see that God’s deliverance in my own life to be able to have that conversation with you.
And that brought me on a journey of hope in such a way where a long journey, not overnight, sadly, I wish it was. And yet, the scars still remain and I still have to have stuff… I mean, for a long time in my early marriage we didn’t even have internet because it was just like, I can’t have that around. And keeping clear guardrails in my life to make sure I just don’t slip back.
Because I love my family too much and I love my Jesus too much. So that’s a little bit about my story.
[Chip]: Well, I didn’t know that that stuff would pop on and didn’t have any idea how it worked. But I still remember one of our tech guys actually confronting me, Ryan, and saying, you know, and I appreciate the culture that we had that he felt free and he assumed I was the problem.
And I said, “I got a lot of problems. But that’s not one of them.” And that led us to the journey and it’s been neat to see how God has worked.
Now, since that time you spent the last ten years in ministry. You’ve been a pastor of junior high, a pastor of high school, a pastor of college. You spent ten years with young people who have lived in a very high tech world.
What have you learned? What have they told you? How, if you could maybe answer the question, “What do they wish their parents knew about being a parent in technology in this world?”
[Ryan]: Yeah. Really, we were on the front end of that first generation in this, kind of, tech world, at least the Internet stage. And I work currently with college age young adults and so I just asked this question: what kids wish their parents knew about parenting and technology.
Because I wanted the perspective of those that were really close to their high school, teenage years. Their tween years. And yet could have the insight to say, “Man, I really wish this, they knew this, because of what I experience. The consequences, the pain, the destruction.”
And so, it’s interesting to me because it’s very counter-intuitive to what we think they would answer. But let me just read a few of these.
The first thing was they said, “I wish they knew how much I actually needed them.” And so often we think that they don’t need us. They put on this front that, in fact, it would be better that you’re not here. And yet the deep craving of their soul is, “You know what? I wish they knew exactly how much I really needed them.”
They say, “I wish they knew that when they set boundaries it makes me feel loved.” That it provides this sense of safety and security. That one, I mean, I was shocked to kind of see that come back because you see that fighting all the time against the boundaries and yet as they’re looking backwards they’re going, “I wish they stuck to their guns.”
“I wish I had an open and honest communication with my dad or my mom.” And I just think it’s funny because I hear all the conversations in the car and, “How was your day?” “Fine.” “Well, how are you doing?” “Good.” You know? You’re like, “Really? You want open and honest communication? Can we get a little deeper? But that is a deep desire that they were able to talk about life and what was going on.
“I wish they knew it’s not the same as it was when they were kids. That the world’s changed. That life’s dramatically different there.”
“I wish they didn’t just ignore my use of the Internet.” That sense of feeling, of being, alone. I can relate to that one.
“I wish I didn’t have unlimited, unmonitored, access to the Internet.”
[Chip]: Now, when I read that one I thought, “I mean, I’m not going to hear that from my junior higher or high school student, like, please don’t let me have unlimited access.”
But looking back they realize that was where a lot of the pain occurred as parents thought, “Oh, everything’s fine. No big deal.”
[Ryan]: Absolutely. And the last one, “I wish I had real time as a family with no technology.” That we would have unplugged, that we would have hung out and gotten to know one another, not sat around the table looking at our phones.
[Chip]: Well, I’ve actually had, on a few occasions, people, parents and students talk to me where, you know, “Every time I get in the car my dad is on the phone.” If more is caught than taught, guess what? Your students and your children are going to model your behavior.
Well, Ryan, let’s get to the, you know, maybe the, “How do we help people?” I mean, you’ve done a lot of work here. You’ve been working with these people’s students and kids. Let’s go over here, it’s sort of the work station. And let’s see if we can’t, you know, this is a very smart group. They opened their notes. They’re ahead of us.
[Ryan]: I heard it already.
[Chip]: Well, we got a little laptop. I’ve got my iPad here so we’re all teched up. And let’s move to, what’s a parent need to know? Okay? I’m sitting here tonight and some, especially in this city, a lot of people very, very tech savvy.
But there’s some that are like me. So pretend, pretend you’re talking to me. Oh, wait, you don’t have to pretend. I’m here. But someone like me that you realize if I can’t find someone to fix my stuff then I’m in trouble. So what do parents need to know in today’s high tech world?
[Ryan]: Now, the first area is really we all get this. But we just need to really embrace this. That the landscape is constantly changing. We understand that. We see it. But it has dramatic implications for us in parenting. Because if the landscape is constantly changing, we can’t be on autopilot as parents.
And so we just see that we live in a landscape that is constantly changing. So what happens as a result is then the rules are ever changing. How we interact with life, what actually is possible changes? The rules have changed in the way we can impact our world. Anyone at anytime can become famous with a click.
But it builds into this “me” generation, I’m the focus, that life revolves around me. Just think about the words we use. How many friends do you have? How many followers do you have?
In fact, I’ll stop with this one, is “old” is obsolete. New is not just nice. It’s necessary. The rule builds into this consumeristic mindset that we have that we must have the next new thing.
In fact, though, it has shaped our culture in the way we interact with one another I believe because the sage is dying in our culture, isn’t it? The wisdom of the past generation has begun to fade because this generation sees, “you don’t understand this and I do.” And so I don’t need you. Old is obsolete.
The encouraging part is, I work with college age young adults, is going through that they now see we long for mentors. We long for the wisdom of those. We can do all this great stuff tech wise but we don’t know how to do relationships. We don’t know how to do our finances. We don’t know how to do all these other things.
[Chip]: I didn’t realize how ignorant I was. But then the neat part is to get to start to mentor some of these people and realize, boy, such a percentage from broken homes, or being so smart with these things and just absolutely naïve in terms of, you know, how do you build a relationship?
So it’s really, I want to just share with you all. There’s never been a greater time to mentor and build into the lives of people in their teens and twenties and thank God for that leadership team that is building into the life of your middle school, high school, and college students. So…
[Ryan]: Yeah, one passage before I move on that came to mind is in Chronicles and it’s talking about David’s men. And it says this interesting thing about the men of Issachar.
And it says that they understood the times and they knew what Israel should do. And I think that’s it. We live in a culture where the times are changing. The rules are changing. And as parents, that we ask God for the wisdom to understand the times and the courage to do what we know we should do.
[Chip]: And the thing that happens there is then it goes to the next point. The dangers are changing and growing.
[Chip]: So, I mean, you know, yeah it’s one thing and we could all figure out that and, boy, I see this all the time. You know, texting and driving? That’s just stupid.
[Chip]: Okay, and this is not limited to kids.
[Ryan]: No, I think we could ask the question and I don’t want to because…
[Chip]: Well, let’s not do that. Okay. But I mean…
[Ryan]: How many of us have done that?
[Chip]: We are, I don’t want to miss or, I’m trying to say something, and save three seconds, and you kill someone. You know, kid runs out, he runs into the back of someone.
And so this is pretty serious. What are some of the other dangers?
[Ryan]: Well, and when it was first introduced to me, you know, back in the day, it was porn. That was the only thing I, you know, that was the only problem, But today, I mean, beyond addictions and all that is now you have online predators and you just think about not only do our kids have access to the world but now the world has access to our kids.
And we would never, I would never leave my daughter downtown by herself. And yet we do that with our kids online all the time.
[Ryan]: And then you have cyber bullying. And it’s this whole idea that you have, what used to be just happened at the playground, it happened, you know, during recess, during lunch breaks and high school in the quad. Now that extends all the way to home 24/7 and you say, or at least teens, often say things way more viciously behind a computer screen than they ever would to their face.
And you see this cyber bullying. And it has dramatic impact. We’ve seen kids actually commit suicide as a result of this.
And then you have sexting and sextortion.
[Chip]: What is that?
[Ryan]: Yes. For those of you who don’t know and sexting is anytime you send an illicit image or message of yourself. So, and it doesn’t necessarily have to do with your phone and texting although that’s the primary means. And this has been a trend we’re seeing with teens and tweens.
[Chip]: And political leaders.
[Ryan]: Yes. And football players.
[Ryan]: To take a nude picture of yourself, or provocative or to say something explicit sexually, and then send that to your boyfriend, girlfriend. Problem is then we’ve seen actually, you know, a girl that did that to a boy and then he sent it to everyone in school and thinking that she was just doing something for her boyfriend and yet…and those sort of things.
But then sextortion, I have a hard time with that word. It is then how predators are now actually leveraging that and they pose as someone else and get a teen or a young person to send an image and then they use that as a leverage in their life to say, “You need to send me more pictures, otherwise I’ll share this with everyone. You need to come meet me and do this otherwise I’ll do this. “I mean, they even use, “I’ll let your parents know.” And you begin to see this sextortion that’s going on.
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 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 in most of the times, the kids I talk with, that’s not being met inside the family. In fact, they feel, 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 were late you were in big trouble. I mean, literally.
[Chip]: If I was late I was in big trouble too.
[Ryan]: No, but it was scheduled into the routine of our life, 5:30, whole family is 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. And it just, it created that space to be.
[Chip]: And the second is a deep desire for significance. Talk about that.
[Ryan]: That’s right, yeah, every student and 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 serve together. Go on 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, that teenagers, especially boys that had the least amount of boundaries, what I watched them, so often, do is actually they would join the military.
There was 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, you know, place as far as, “Here’s the boundaries.”
[Chip]: 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 that’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.
[Ryan]: No, not at all, no.
[Chip]: But short-term pain, long-term gain.
[Ryan]: It communicates, 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 wanted.”
[Chip]: Well let’s shift gears and I want to get to the real solution side. I think we 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, 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.”
[Chip]: So lead on.
[Ryan]: 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. And 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’m going to, I can’t be that, well we talked earlier, that autopilot parent. I have to be an active, engaged parent.
The second is get help if necessary. Admit, “I need help in this area.” I wrote down, kind of, three things I think you may need help in.
First is personally. And 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 in 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 are others that are like… my dad.
And so you need to go, “I need help.” It’s not okay to, it’s okay to not know but it’s not okay to not know and not do anything.
And so you can, “I don’t know how to do it but I will figure out how to have someone help me do it.”
[Ryan]: 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 and 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.
[Ryan]: 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 shared about my addiction and my past openly because I know that God can use it in helping others to then break this secret.
And I had a dad call me 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, or what to do, and so we just sat down for the next couple hours with his kids and we just walked through and this is, 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.
[Chip]: Can you all know now, know 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.
[Ryan]: Yeah. So, and I personally, I have, for me, I have accountability partners I use on my computer, and on my phone, and 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?
[Chip]: What filters to use at different ages… and then you say here, number two, have the talk often and openly. What do you mean by “the talk?”
[Ryan]: Um, 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 eleven 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 eleven years old, I don’t really fully get it. And it’s a little weird to me.
But I remember this clearly. Man, it was just this sweet moment with my dad. 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.
[Chip]: Let me ask you this: if I’m a parent, what are the warning signs? I think that’s a really important thing…
[Chip]: …that maybe something’s going on. What would three or four things that would tell me, “Hey, I better get my antennae up, I think my kid might be into something.”
[Ryan]: 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 easier. 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.
[Ryan]: It’s not just that they’re clicking to a new thing. They’re, they may be clicking away from something. If they withdraw from family. But those are just some of the warning signs to…
[Chip]: So, lead the way, have the talk, and then keep the control. What do you mean by that?
[Ryan]: 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 yet her, you know, I mean she can’t tie her shoes yet but she can use the iPhone.
But keep the control. One thing in 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 those 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, 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 in, you go to general and there’s an area called “restrictions.” I can’t even access restrictions. My accountability partner has that code.
[Chip]: And maybe it’s 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 until one or two in the morning.
[Ryan]: Yeah, or later.
[Chip]: In fact, some of their parents, if you can’t turn this thing off for twenty-four 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?
[Ryan]: 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.
[Chip]: 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 twelve, you become a gate.
[Chip]: But then when they get older, because even schoolwork and stuff, you want to be guardrails.
[Ryan]: Yeah, the needs change and so as a parent we, I believe, have the responsibility to determine what comes into our child’s mind and what is, 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 them to learn, 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.
[Chip]: Hm. That’s good.
[Ryan]: And so often times 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 whatever everyone else is doing. It’s just I see the danger.”
And I know that anyone of us and for me, as a father, and being down this path I can say, “I had 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.
[Chip]: Then the last one as we were talking, kind of preparing, and 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 one point.”
[Ryan]: 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, you 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 and 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.
[Chip]: Yeah. 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, “You know 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…You know, 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.