Not Fitting In, To Fit In To What Matters, cell phones social networking and our kids

Cell phones Social Networking & our kids

Not Fitting In, To Fit In To What Matters

Cell phones Social Networking & our kids

 

I have a Jr. Higher.

 

She is also a tweenager with a desire to be accepted. Where else does a teen or pre-teen want to find such acceptance? Certainly home is a vital place for such acceptance to be experienced, but they also would appreciate it from their peers. Oh yes, their “very wise” peers. The where to this answer has become a little more complex in recent years. This means that peer acceptance, with the emergence of Internet, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and any other social networking platforms, comes from the cyber world as well.

 

One of the issues we, as parents, face are moments when our child comes home and lets us know they feel left out or not accepted as they would desire. It doesn’t just affect them but us as well. We feel for our child’s struggle that they must go through. Isn’t the companion of learning pain?

 

this showed up in my life the other week. While Driving home from youth group night with my daughter, I asked her how life was these days? “Good”, she says. I fancy myself a seasoned parent so I try to ask another way to see if I can get to my daughters heart. I said, “What would you change about today”? Honestly, I was pretty proud of myself, but I struggled to come up with the right question. But then something magical happened: my little girl let me into her emotions. She goes on to say that she feels a little left out at times. The other girls leave her out of their conversations. “How so?”, I ask. “Well”, my daughter says, “they talk about what they spoke about the previous night on their phones or on social media. And they leave me out of it and tell me things like, ’you don’t have problems and wouldn’t understand’.”

 

Because my daughter doesn’t have household drama, or a painful story to tell, she feels left out. There are two ideas related to this issue. One is the issue of life drama, and the second issue is kids speaking late at night on their personal cell phones which produces more drama.

 

As a Dad I’m totally ok with her being left out in both respects. I’m ok with my daughter being left out when, by God’s grace, her parents don’t have drama that would destroy their daughter. Students can survive their parent’s drama, but sometimes only barely. But that’s another article for another time. I’m ok with my daughter being left out of Instagram, Facebook, or texting gossip because she doesn’t need that kind of garbage or those habits to be fostered in her life. I’m ok with her not developing a sense of worth based on likes on Facebook, when she needs to grow in her knowledge of the living God who does more than like her but gives her life eternal with the most joy, the most “like” to be had. I’m ok that she doesn’t idol being polished by her peers, but has a Christ who makes her spotless. She will need to learn to rest in His atoning work on the cross.

 

I’d rather her experience real conversations that are face-to-face with real people. I’d rather her experience the awkwardness of developing an ability of conversation where one must face their fears of rejection rather than saying whatever you want without the consequence of seeing someone’s reactions. In social networking, cowards become bold and the bold become enraged.

 

So, for her sake, I am glad that she doesn’t have a cell phone, or have a social media account of any kind. She is a beautiful young lady inside and out. She is graceful, a delight to be around, confident, independent, and tender hearted. If I give here a cell phone before she is ready, or even when she is ready, it will cause more pain then the pain of wanting to fit in. It might even stop her healthy emotional development that I think is so wonderful about her. There are many things one could do to fit in that would destroy ones life. And I love her so much I wouldn’t risk it.

 

I know the decision we’ve made to keep a cell phone out of our children’s hands is subjective but so are other things that can cause great harm. California doesn’t give out full-fledged drivers license until they are at least 16. Why don’t 12 year olds get that opportunity? Because they lack the judgment to be responsible for operating a 2000 pound object that has the potential to injure, or kill if mishandled or even handled responsibly, actually. A cell phone weighs less than an apple and yet has all the capacity to make a horrific accident out of someone’s life that could ripple through their life for generations to come. If a 12 year old doesn’t have the judgment to handle the situations of a car with such destructive power, then why would they have the judgment to handle a smaller object with greater power to possibly harm your soul forever.

 

So, all this to say, I’m ok with my daughter being left out. I’m ok with fostering a little pain if it can be called pain. Waiting to give my daughter a device that in immature hands is massively damaging seems to be the right parenting decision. So it’s ok with me that she’s not fitting-in so that she can fit-in with the God who loves her.