Cyber Parenting – Raising your kids in an online world by James & Simone Boswell
This is one of the most profound Christian parenting books I have had the pleasure of reading. While the focus is on Cyber Parenting, the biblical worldview of parenting is reaffirmed, strengthen and applied in a practical way to protect and guide our children through not only the technological changes happening in our world today but also through the demands the secular world makes on the family as a whole. It reassures parents who feel that they grew up in a different era, that God’s word and rules still apply across the ages.
The authors don’t hold back and give an honest account of the dangers faced by kids and adults in the online environment, be it cyber bullying or sending, receiving and viewing inappropriate content. Protecting your online security is essential and dire consequences can result from being uninformed. For instance, if a site requesting your personal information does not begin with https, the S being key, your personal information on that site is not securely stored and identity theft a risk. Also, innocently informing friends that you are at a local hotspot or agreeing to allow an app to have access to your location, could mean that your movements are tracked, which in some cases has resulted in cyber bullies ganging up on victims in the physical world or criminals preying on children as they are able to find out their physical locations. Another lesson learned is to be careful when sharing content on line and posting information and pictures, while inappropriate and misinformed actions can be “deleted” so to speak, a record of it never really disappears from the online environment, such is the uptake of information! An innocent mistake could have consequences for their future professional lives and reputations ruined as a result.
Yet the authors reassure us that while dangers exist God has given us the tools to cope as parents and in fact, cyber parenting can become a wonderful tool to train our kids in the way of the Lord. As parents, we protect them by modeling good online behaviour, by being informed and putting measures in place to minimize online threats. While, at the same time, we provide biblical lessons on interactions with others, appropriate online behaviour, protecting your reputation and being a great example of a child of God. Then gradually as they mature and prove themselves, we allow them more freedom to make their own decisions. The key is relationship, whether that means joining in online games as a family, ” friending” them on Facebook or talking about the issues from a non confrontational standpoint. As the online world tends to marginalize families, it’s all about taking back family time! I strongly encourage you to read this book, it will be of profound benefit to your family as a whole. God Bless
By Laurie Coetsee