It is absolutely heart-wrenching to read the plethora of articles, social media posts, memes and other online material that shares stories of the woes the youths of today are experiencing. The suicide rate among young people has exponentially increased, just as cases of depression, self-harming incidents and violence against others have, as well. There’s a lot of parenting recommendations going viral on the internet, too, most of which speak about grown-ups having to adapt to modern living and getting used to the fact that kids today are simply functioning in a different world than their parents or grand-parents did, and those who are raising today’s kids need to give them more autonomy, more space, more power.
I couldn’t disagree more. A recent article that was shared on Facebook told of a middle school boy whose very existence had become so stressful, traumatic and horrid (in his own opinion) that he wished he had never been born. Most what had prompted this young boy’s downtrodden and melancholy feeling was the utter torture he faced from his peers at school every day. A central focus of the contention revolved around social networking, iPhones and things, such as who could get the most likes on a post, as well as who could humiliate another the most by secretly filming embarrassing moments during the school day, then posting them online to make fun of those who were filmed.
In a world where it is plausible to think middle school students might need emergency access to a cell phone during a school day, if a mass shooter shows up or some other horrendous tragedy occurs, the question remains whether or not allowing kids to have unlimited (and often, unsupervised) use of cell phones and the internet during school has truly benefitted them. In fact, the story mentioned earlier may be evidence that it has not only not benefitted them but has placed them in harm’s way more than once.
Parents used to be confident in freely exercising their authority to set limits for their children, especially at home. Sadly, nowadays many parents are so addicted to their own online activities, they either wouldn’t dream of trying to limit their children’s use of the same for fear of being called hypocrites or, as is often the case, they are so self-consumed, they really don‘t know what their children are up to because they have little to no family time at all.
Good parents understand the need to make decisions that do not please their children when situations arise where they are acting in their children’s best interests. It doesn’t take genius-level intelligence to figure out that allowing children unsupervised, unlimited access to the internet is not in their best interest; in fact, as recent tragic news headlines have shown, it can be not only detrimental to their mental and spiritual well-being but, in worst cases, even fatal.
Parents need to buck up. They need to focus on the children they brought into the world instead of their own quests for immediate gratification in life. Is it possible that parents can set limits and still wind up having kids who experience mental health problems, bully troubles or other negative issues? Of course, it is; however, don’t children deserve to have parents who at least try to do what is best for them? Is it better to enter adulthood having had no discipline, no limits, no reprimand and no family time or to suffer temporary disappointments in life when parents say no, when online time is supervised and strictly limited or when permission to go to a party or hang out with certain people is denied?
I think most rational, God-fearing, mature adults recognize that the latter is the better option.
Writer Bio: Judy Dudich
Judy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.