This is something my parents and grandparents never had to deal with. Don’t you wish you could go back to those simpler days?
But we can’t so the next thing is to be aware and prepared. This is another good reason that my children don’t have cell phones. My older children didn’t get cell phones until they were older teens / adults and working away from home.
Does Your Child’s Cell Phone Preach Another Gospel? (This link from Russell Moore’s website desn’t work any longer.)
A pre-teen or a teenager with unrestricted cell-phone usage (or Internet or television consumption) is being placed in a very, very difficult place of temptation. The company of that young man or woman is now away from the scrutiny of parents, and is now left only to his or her discretion or conscience. Are there some young Christians who can handle such? Of course. Should you assume your child is one of them? Your Father is more careful of you than that.
One concern that I have regarding texting is the need or compulsion to immediately read an incoming message and reply. After observing my daughter’s texting habits over the holidays, I began to notice that when the phone chimed or vibrated, it seemed to produce an involuntary reflex to check the message no matter what she was doing. Think Pavlov’s dogs, here. I discussed my observation with my daughter and she assured me that she has it under control and is able to take a break from her phone and enjoy life.
Sexting involves the sending of sexual messages and pictures from cell phone to cell phone. Most of the stories I’m hearing (from moms and girls), involve a message or picture sent to a boyfriend that was intended to be private. Of course, when a break-up occurs, or the guy simply wants to show off the picture or suggestive text to his pals, the real trouble begins. It’s easy to forward the picture or message to other contacts on the recipient’s phone, upload it to the Internet, or post it to a social networking page. At that point, it becomes viral and the pictures are often accessible to the general public and most frighteningly, creepy predators who scour the web looking for “n*de c*ll phone images” of minor-aged children.
Required viewing for every cellphone-toting teen (There is a MSNBC Video about this issue.)
This death could have been prevented had the parents of all parties involved just taken the time to talk to their teens about the dangers of sexting. It is our responsibility to ensure that we have drilled home the message to our teens regarding the long-term consequences that can occur from sending, receiving, or forwarding “sext” messages.
1. Never allow social networking to replace or rival personal contact and communication. God made us to be social creatures that crave community. We cannot permit ourselves to substitute social networking for the harder work of building and maintaining personal relationships that are face to face.
2. Set clear parameters for the time devoted to social networking. These services can be seductive and time consuming. Social networking (and the Internet in general) can become obsessive and destructive of other relationships and higher priorities for the Christian.
3. Never write or post anything on a social networking site that you would not want the world to see, or anything that would compromise your Christian witness. There are plenty of young people (perhaps older persons now, too) who are ruining future job prospects and opportunities by social networking misbehavior. The cost to Christian witness is often far greater.