What parents can do to prevent kids from abusing computer gadget use
Violent computer, mobile phone games, and “devil apps” are becoming darker and more sinister. More kids are now wearing eye glasses because of prolonged exposure to screen at a young age. The suicide rate has surged the past few years. Fake relationship and peer pressure in social media is one contributor. It’s never too late, God’s grace is sufficient. If your kids are still young, consider the following decisions that can change the course of your child’s digital habits.
2 Timothy 2:22-24
Don’t think twice, revoke their gadgets
“Run from temptations that capture young people and always do the right thing.”
Most parents allow their children to use mobile phones and tablet gadgets as early as a few months old. This is the first mistake that parents make. I gave gadgets to my kids when they were 6 years old and I regretted it. Most kids lack self-control and with busy parents, children will likely abuse house rules, unless you can monitor them 24/7.
Each time they use their smartphones, they’re always presented with a small window of opportunity for apps like Momo or Blue Whale challenge to be used, without you knowing it. These apps are linked to suicide deaths among young people.
Check search history: Parents should be able to access their kids’ phone periodically. This means the password should be an open secret between the child and the parent. Aside from checking the apps they download, parents should also monitor the search history and check if there are traces of porn activity or messages from sexual predators.
Wait until they reach puberty: If your child is 12-years old below, you can still take back their mobile phones. If security is your concern, you can always give them a non-smart phone like Nokia’s new 3310. Children below puberty should be encouraged to read books and do outdoor activities. When I allowed my teens to own gadgets, they no longer want to go outside or read books the way they used to. Point is, never give a child digital gadgets until they are teenagers.
Internet porn: Pornography is another reason you would want to discourage your children to own these gadgets at an early age. Most teens and young men are plagued with this secret addiction. They access porn usually at bedtime, hidden under their blanket. There are practical and Biblical steps in overcoming
→ Practical and Biblical steps to overcome porn addiction.
Train them into obedience
“The Lord will bless you when you obey your parents”
Ideally, kids can manage decision making better as they enter puberty. They should be able to use a computer gadget more responsibly when they reach teen years. Unfortunately, abuse is rampant, especially among teenage boys. My teen girls manage to obey and control themselves by using gadgets within their time limit but not always. It was more difficult with my teenage boy. The issue will always be rooted in obedience.
The Bible gives us a simple formula for this. By reminding my kids Exodus 20:12, they readily grasped the concept of obedience and reward. Each time they got a high score even in short quizzes, there was a simple treat or reward they get. If it was their birthday, we made sure we celebrate it for a week. Eventually, they began to see how God Himself would reward them for their good deed and obedience.
When I see them abuse their time limit on gadgets, even without me saying it, they stop because they understand the value of obeying their parents.
Prolonged use of computer gadgets is linked to the surge of kids wearing eyeglasses, laziness, and mental disorder at an early age is linked to mobile phone usage at an early age (PT). Even without the Momo and Blue Whale app danger, if you are a busy parent, the risk is too great to allow phone usage at an early age.