This was before kings ruled Israel, so all the Israelites did whatever they thought was right .
(originally published on January 7, 2011. Reposted with extra links)
I was reading this passage today and recognized that for many of us, we know a “little princess” who lives this out on a day by day basis. Just like the society that Judges was chronicling, girls that we know choose to live their lives doing whatever they want to do and labeling it as “RIGHT”.
So here are some basics you can do to help your daughter have healthy digital boundaries set by your family, so that there is not a temptation for your daughter to “do whatever they think is right” online. You need to be having conversations about technology and tv instead of simply BANNING it. When your student moves out of the house, they need to determine what their digital boundaries are. One of mine is that I don’t post on facebook walls past a certain hour. So read on about some basics, and then work with your family to see what boundaries you need to have. You are preparing them for the future with these conversations, because I guarantee that they are not thinking about how their digital presence is connected to their physical presence. So read on and see if any of these may work for you.
1. Stop believing the lie that if you set boundaries, they’ll just do whatever they want anyway. I know several families, mine included, that lovingly set boundaries because they know their teen has a prefrontal cortex that is not fully developed until they are 25. We would think it’s absurd to let a baby or a toddler to decide what to do with their day, or where to go. Why do some people believe that teenagers should be different with having age specific boundaries?
Our middle school minister has triplets that are 1 and a precious little girl named Harper who is 3. This past week, Mary Lindsey (our middle school minister’s wife and a good friend of mine) came with the whole clan to let them get some excercise and for her to get a couple of things done. We each took a child and walked with them around the church. There were several times when I noticed my particular triplet moving toward a place they didn’t need to be going or putting something in their mouth that didn’t need to be there. So I would tell them “no” and move them back into the boundaries they were allowed to run in. Just like toddlers need boundaries to grow healthy and even to know they are loved, teenagers need boundaries as well. Here are some that I have seen my parents and other families institute in their homes with great success.
1. Practice a no technology boundary at dinner. That time is family time and so you as much as your children, need to turn off technology and truly begin having conversations with each other.
2. Keep your computers in a family central area. Work with your daughter in creating this family space.
Explain that this computer family area not only encourages public accountability for her, but also for the rest of the family.
3. Work with your daughter to establish “cell phone check-in station” . When cellphones start coming into the life of your teenager, oftentimes they may find themselves tempted to say or do things with their phone that they shouldn’t be doing. These things typically happen late at night. Example: SEXTING, addictive night texting, One family I know picks an hour and checks in the phones of their children in the evening. This policy is so their children are not alone with their cell phones having conversations in bed late at night with people they would never let into their physical room at that late of an hour.
4. Agree with your student to set some facebook profile rules that work both ways.
As a parent,there are some rules you need to have for yourself as well as your daughter. For example,do not post on their wall every week and comment on all of their friends comments. The fact that they are letting you into their social network is great. Do not abuse that. Instead, work with them to agree on how you will interact with each other on facebook. Use the private message feature. Help them understand that they do not need to put their cell phone on their page. There are so many conversations you need to have your daughter to agree with how you interact with your her and how they interact with their social network world as well.
5. Bring prayer into their digital boundaries. Pray each day that they are being wise and seeking to make God known rather than being self-absorbed on faebook. Message them a prayer each week through their facebook email or text them a prayer. Help them to celebrate technology and not just condemning it. Technology is not bad by itself, but when it is placed in our hands we can move it into a bad tool or a good tool. Talk with your daughters about this concept as well.
These are just a few thoughts that I have seen work with Digital boundaries in the home. This is not exhaustive and they can always improve. Each family has different habits and personalities so we recognize that some of these boundaries may not work in your home but another will. Please share below regarding some digital boundaries you may already use or have seen others use.