Why Our Kids Are Turning Into Zombies


Why are our children becoming zombies?  Because we let them be!

Heads bent, eyes hidden from view, fingers moving rapidly — even an earthquake couldn’t distract them. Medically, this is known as Social Media Zombie-ism (okay, so I made that up) and has reached epidemic proportion due to an obsession with electronic devices. It certainly affects my kids. Children also suffer from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) as they engage in the social world frenzy that is at their fingertips. Besides, it’s not like we are setting the best example; we are often device-zombies ourselves. It seems innocent until you add up the hours of missed conversations and physical activity; only then do you realize the slippery slope.

Gut check here:  putting devices in their hands benefits us as parents. It works to keep them occupied because when they are bored, trouble is not far behind. We allow the excess usage often for our own benefit.

Here are some suggested boundaries you should consider; and yes, boundaries are needed and healthy for kids and adults!

1) Let device time be more of a reward than expectation.

Our kids expect to be able to be on their devices rather than seeing it as a privilege. Retrain them!

2) Set the example by your own balance in using social media.

When our children see us on our devices 24/7, do we really expect them to do otherwise? They are following our example!

3) Don’t just limit time on devices, but set time for face-to-face interaction and connection.

We are becoming less and less personal thanks to social media. We don’t spend time in face-to-face conversation as we did 20 years ago. We need to set time aside to have meaningful and personal conversations away from social media.

4) Set privacy settings so only friends can interact with your child.

I probably don’t have to tell you that social media can be a dangerous place for kids. There are a lot of people with evil intentions looking for kids to victimize. Don’t wait until it is too late to set something up.

5) Check your kids’ social media accounts for secret accounts.

I have learned that many kids have secret Instagram accounts for example. By its very nature, there is nothing good about a kid having a secret account that parents are not allowed to see. Don’t be naive and think your kid would never do this. It is the naive parents whose kids do want they want behind parents back.  Ask your children what types of social media they are using and be sure to check thoroughly.  There are many options out there and our children are using them, often unbeknownst to us!

Christian Your Views Are No Longer Tolerated

But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.  Acts 5:29

Things are changing rapidly in our culture. We have hit a tipping point. For years movements like the LGBT have been preaching equality and winning over society.  Sexual freedom is glorified more and more. The idea of waiting to have sex until marriage has become taboo. Tolerance is being rammed down our throats at every turn. It is no longer enough that these lifestyles be allowed in our culture.  They have become bolder in their demands. There is a demand for it to be accepted.

People are losing their jobs for speaking out against these lifestyles. Christians are being seen as bigots because they are unwilling to accept what they consider to be immoral actions. Society will not allow Christians to love them without agreeing with them. Yet, this is our calling.  People don’t like feeling guilty so the rise in anger increases in order to try and shut the mouths of Christians. Here is the reality. Persecution is coming.

More and more momentum is building to tolerate every group but Christians. It is ok for you to do about anything you want and it be accepted anymore. Morality has been replaced with anything goes mentality. The loud voice of our culture preaches toleration for everyone except those who disagree and take a stand. That will not be tolerated. It can’t be. If someone disagrees hey might have to face the possibility it is wrong. That will not be allowed.

The tipping point is here. It used to be just angry dismissal of Christians. Now if one speaks out publicly, their job is on the line. Very soon society will demand churches conform or there will be consequences. Government will bow to the pressure of the majority and begin to take freedoms away from the church. It might be our tax exempt status or a censorship of sermon topics or forcing ministers to marry those of LGBT community. It might be all of these. Is there a day coming when Christians will face jail time if they don’t conform? I think it might.

So what are we to do?  Stand up. Count the cost. Hold firm to our conviction. Trust Jesus to the very end. We don’t want to start a war but we are already in a war. We can’t compromise. We can’t lose faith.

And while they spit at us and call us names we are to love. Not retaliate. We are to pray for them and show them kindness even if they seek to destroy us. It is what Jesus did.

We must obey God rather than men!

You Said What On Facebook?


Social media is a great tool for connecting with friends from anywhere, for allowing people into our lives who want to see it, for information, and sometimes even for inspiration. There is a lot to like about social media. I use it constantly for making spiritual challenges and to communicate to church members. I like to highlight good things my kids are doing and to brag on my wife. But social media can also be the devil. I do not exaggerate. I have seen it destroy friendships, marriages, and young adult’s reputations. I have seen it be used to hurt others and as a tool for bigotry and hate.

Here are three specific ways I see social media being used in a harmful way:

  1. 1) A place to publicly shame others.

We see something posted we don’t like or something in the media that angers us and we attack with shame grenades. It feels so right in the moment. We are dispensing justice to the atrocities of what we feel. How dare they? It is only right that I call them out publicly. We feel so self righteous. And then all the people pleasers out there feel the tension of our post and so they like it and make a comment supporting us, most of the times out of a desperate desire to be liked by us than because they agree with our tirade.

You see it all the time. Someone starts their post with “You may not want to read what I am about to say. I am about to rant.’ Two things you should know when you see this. This person desperately wants you to read what they are saying or else they would not feel that way and then put it on public display. Secondly, you will see several comment who don’t necessarily further the discussion or disagree with it but quickly try to associate with the ranter out of a need to be liked. I am not trying to be harsh here but to make us aware of what is happening. It is toxic, my friends.

We also love to bash those who are unreachable to us. Celebrities and politicians are typically our target here. We shame them with hateful posts and feel justified in it because we don’t know them personally and we feel confident they want read it anyway. We just rally the other haters to shame with us. What does it accomplish? Better question is how does God receive glory from it?

Another way we shame is by setting up a straw man, an anonymous person, that we attack. We say something like “For all those posting about such and such, you are this and that.” Then everyone on our feed is left to wonder are they talking about me and if not me, then who?? Again what benefit comes from this. If I see someone saying something that I think is wrong I should approach them personally. That is what the Bible says to do in Matthew 18. This passive aggressive way of calling out the Straw Man is cowardly.

Am I ever guilty of shaming others on social media? I have committed this sin before. I am guilty as anyone. We need to call it was it is, sin. There is nothing Christian about it. The reason it feels so good is because it appeals to our sinful nature. This post will be very hard to swallow because most of us are guilty to one degree or another. The right response is not to justify our actions but to repent. To confess our wrong to God and to stop doing it.

2) A place for married people to connect or reconnect with a  person of the opposite sex in a dangerous way.

I do a lot of counseling and I used to be amazed how much social media played a role in affairs. It has become an epidemic. What starts out as connecting with a new friend or reconnecting with a friend from the past turns into flirting through private messages, which can turn into a whole lot more. Social media makes us much bolder, more confident, to the point we might find ourselves doing things we would not normally do. Before we know it we have crossed a line.

Be careful of open ended questions you ask someone of the opposite sex. i call these “feeler” statements. You are trying to gauge interest or someone is trying to gauge interest from you. It can be very subtle but it has potential to lead to infidelity. Also avoid pitfalls like buying into the notion that a little flirting is ok. It is never ok to hurt your spouse by flirting with someone else. Also never, ever, ever confide in someone of the opposite sex about problems in your marriage through social media. If you re struggling in your marriage meet with someone of the same sex who can offer goodly counsel. If you engage in spouse bashing with someone of the opposite sex, it is a sure fire way to lead to an unhealthy emotional connection with that person.

Jesus tells us to flee sexual sin. He is so serious about sin, like this, that he tells us if your eye cause you to sin, gouge it out! Don’t put your guard down on social media with people of the opposite sex. Don’t assume their intentions are innocent. Hold your spouse accountable on social media. Don’t be paranoid but be aware of who they are talking with. If your spouse gets defensive of your desire to hold them accountable, then that can be a warning sign.

 

3) A place to hate

Some of us need blood pressure medicine because we get so frustrated, so angry, at what some post. It drives us bonkers. Another picture of their child, another solicitation to buy their product, another comment about a topic they know little about. What I have learned is we get the most frustrated about things that we are prone to do ourselves. I was talking to someone recently who made a comment about someone on social media posting selfies all the time. I mentioned to them that I noticed that they posted pictures of themselves constantly too but with someone in the picture with them. They didn’t like that observation from me! Reality is someone could make the same assumption about them as they were about this other person. We need to be careful about judging the intentions of others. We sure don’t like it when it is done to us.

Here is a simple rule. If someone bothers you by their posts unfollow them. Don’t mention it to others to get a jab in on them. If you say something to someone else then you are wrong because you are gossiping and backbiting. It does not matter if they are wrong or not. No one deserves to be shamed by you! Just simply don’t follow them.

Now here is a way to grow. Ask yourself if what frustrates you about them is something you struggle with as well. Be careful of blindspots in your life. Be careful you are not judging something in others that you are guilty of.

Social media can be a beautiful place. It can be a place of torment and destruction as well. If you are Christian then you don’t get a Christian timeout on social media. God expects you to represent Him well on social media. Keep your guard up. If you can’t fight the temptation to be shameful, angry, gossipy, or lustful on social media then close your account for the sake of your own soul.

Diary of a Wimpy Parent: Raising A Teenager

Ephesians 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”

There is a lot of things I want for my teenager  but her thinking I am the coolest dad around is not one of them. Now I am as cool as the next guy, at least in my own mind, but I want to be something else to my daughter than cool. I want to be her role model, her rock, her guide, and maybe even one day her hero. I am not willing to do what it would take to be her cool friend. I don’t want to be a wimpy parent who lets my teenager set the tone for my relationship because I want her to like me.

Now don’t get me wrong… I take the time to find out what she is listening to in her music, what she is doing on Instagram, and who she is hanging out with. I want to be engaged and not clueless about what she cares about. But I want to be the parent and not one of her friends. Too many parents want their kids to like them so much so that they let things go in order to not come across stuffy. That kind of compromise sets the wrong tone for a teenager.

Thing is our kids don’t mean it when they act like they are put out by our being a person of authority . They don’t really want their parents to be hip. Rather they want boundaries and direction from us. Sure it seems like they fight it with every breath. If my daughters’s face ever froze with some of the looks she gave me when I was parenting, it would terrify you. But don’t believe their outcry, they want you to stay strong with them.

Here are a few principles I suggest you implement in raising your teenager, regardless if they think it’s cool or not.

1) Ask your teenager if they have prayed about it when they mention a struggle and take time to pray with them over that struggle.

We have to teach our children that God is more vital to us than someone we just mention on Sundays. That talking to him is crucial for life. Not only should we challenge them to pray but model it for them. Pray over them. Will they roll their eyes or make a sarcastic comment? Quite possibly. But don’t let that deter you. They desperately need you to set the spiritual tone in their life.

2) Monitor what they do on social media continually.

How can I stress this enough? Think this kind of urgency:  there is a fire in the house and you need to get out. Social Media can be an evil place. A place of cruelty and sexuality and vulgarity. There are so many ways for your teenager to get into trouble. Set the boundaries and monitor them! Get a filter like BeSafe and block their accessibility to graphic sites. Our daughter cannot add or erase apps from her iPhone. Only we can do that. Does she like it? Nope but we do it for her own good. We check her texts. We keep her off of snapchat and other sites we believe are used by many irresponsibly.

3) Listen don’t lecture

Teenagers are beginning to become adults. They want to be heard and their opinions to be respected. They don’t what to be treated like a child. Give that to them. Listen to what they have to say and don’t always be quick to correct. Let them have an opinion, and if it is not hurting them, let them learn for themselves if they are wrong. Try not to lecture them. They listen to lectures all the time at school and in church. Let them talk about life as they perceive it and be slow to correct their thinking unless necessary. When you need to correct do so patiently and encouragingly.

4) Be Consistent and Strong

It is so hard not to give in when they are upset with you. Don’t do it. Don’t let them play you. My daughter has me wrapped around her finger and she knows it! Stay strong. Be consistent. Teach them that you mean what you say. It will help them be consistent and strong themselves one day. We are not teaching them well when we give in just to keep the peace. It is not fun being the “bad guy” but it is for their own good. You got this!

5) Don’t stop hugging them

My daughter turns into a limp fish when I try to hug her right now. It’s like I have cooties, leprosy, and body odor all wrapped up into one  scent that repels her. Sure I would rather go hug a cactus than be made to feel like I’m being completely rejected, but you know what… I wouldn’t stop doing it for anything. My daughter needs her daddy’s affection. No matter how awkward it gets I won’t quit. She needs affection and I much rather her get the right type of affection from me than seek it out from a teenage boy! I love on my daughter and won’t stop even if she does act like I am tortuting her by my every touch.

This list is not exhaustive but has been helpful in my raising of my teenager. Please share it with others if you found it helpful.