Getting Hooked?

My son wanted to watch as I sifted through an arsenal of fishing tackle on the garage floor. He watched curiously as Rapala crank baits gathered in one Plano organizer and sharpened octopus hooks were placed in another. Without warning, he said "Daddy, I think there's a hook in my finger." Like lightning, my eyes darted over to him, just an arm's length away. Did I leave a hook on the floor? Will I be able to remove it? Is the barb embedded in his finger? Investigating his hand and tugging at a small piece of metal, I became suddenly aware that he might be seriously hurt. Almost instantaneously, he held up the object and asked if it was a hook. I was relieved to see not a hook, but a sharp metal shaving from a damaged wheel stud. Though I've taken him fishing before, I need to be incredibly careful and thorough when sorting tackle. He's young enough to enjoy reeling in a fish, but not mature or aware enough to be trusted unsupervised around hooks.

Any parent would be heartbroken if their child got into the sharps drawer at home and wound up injured. Cutting shears, steak knives and utility blades are hidden in places well beyond the reach of children. Why? Because parents want their kids safe and are well aware of the dangers of such sharp objects.    

As a dad of a young son and infant daughter, I'm finding that there are hidden dangers in the technology I carry around in my pocket. The answer of course, is not to throw away my phone, gather the villagers and run mobile technology out of town with pitchforks and torches. The solution is to become aware of the dangers and then set up boundaries in my life and home. Just as I wouldn't leave treble hooks, lead sinkers or crank baits on the floor for my son to toy with, I won't allow him unsupervised access to my phone. Here's 5 reasons why:
1.) It's addictive. Too much screen time is bad for the brain.   
2.) It's too easy to access pornography.    
3.) If he's posting pictures on Instagram, stalkers can find him.
4.) If he's on Facebook or Instagram, he has unrestricted access to the internet.
5.) I want him to thrive in genuine relationships, not wither in social media.

Just a few weeks ago, we hosted the Reveal Seminar with guest speakers Joshua Straub and Dan Lohrmann. We discussed how the internet is an accelerator (for business, blogs, books, you name it) and that as parents, we need to find the brakes! Our goal is to help you and your children live out your faith online and navigate social media and the digital age with integrity. 

Here are some resources to help in your journey:
Joshua Straub: Author, blogger & healthy family builder  A website devoted to helping parents understand apps & hidden dangers
Covenant Eyes  Internet accountability & filtering software
Center for Parent & Youth Understanding  An accurate assessment of everything from video games to the MTv Music Video Awards.  

Posted on September 22, 2015 .