Another day, another story of violence. It almost seems run of the mill to hear that some deranged soul opened fire in a crowd somewhere or that yet another city is entering the throes of violence that follow a police shooting.
The problems once associated with high schoolers are now seen in middle school and even elementary students.
However, if you have been really listening, you may have noticed a trend. The violence that once occurred on college campuses began happening in high schools. First it was young adults committing suicide, then high schoolers, then middle schoolers, and now it has reached the point that elementary age students are being treated for suicidal tendencies, and even attempts at taking their own lives. The problems once associated with high schoolers are now seen in middle school and even elementary students.
Ask a dozen experts, and you will get a dozen answers as to why this is occurring. However, one thing all the experts will agree on is that there is only one way that children learn… exposure.
Why do we struggle with honesty about the dangers of exposing children to behavior from which we want them to abstain?
The reason you speak the language you speak and understand the social cues and societal norms that run your life is, simply put, exposure. Language, mathematics, history, science, and every other subject are taught by exposing the student to information about the topic. We understand exposure as the foundation of learning. So, why do we struggle with honesty about the dangers of exposing children to behavior from which we want them to abstain?
Truth be told, we all know a fourth grader doesn’t just wake up thinking about suicide, yet I have dealt personally with suicidal third and fourth graders. How does a nine year old know about specific methods of suicide without having been exposed to the information?
Speaking of “where did they learn that?”…
Where would a group of high school athletes in Maryland get the idea to sodomize teammates with a broomstick?
Where did middle school girls in Florida get the idea to murder and drink the blood of classmates in worship of Satan?
The answer is simple, somehow, somewhere they were exposed to this information. I am assuming that their parents did not discuss suicide, sexual assault, or sacrificial rites over dinner or in the car on the way to soccer practice. So, they must have been exposed somewhere else.
What is truly mind blowing is that parents, knowing the dangers of exposure and the way children learn, are so loose with what they give their children access to see.
I think you know where I am going. Children are exposed to information via the internet and television all day every day. One study stated that teens take in over 30 gigabytes of data every single day. That is enough data to fill 4,500,000 printed pages.
The children in your life are slammed with information all day long. Not surprisingly, much of that information, if not guarded will be contrary to the world view that you most likely want to instill in them. What is truly mind blowing is that parents, knowing the dangers of exposure and the way children learn, are so loose with what they give their children access to see.
Anything, ANYTHING, they want to see can be found in minutes online.
We will never know how many suicides were inspired by the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why, or if its rape scene is where those athletes in Maryland got their inspiration. We may not find out if the demonic overtures in the most recent revival of Sabrina the teenage witch led to those girls bringing knives to school. However, we do know this behavior followed exposure somewhere.
Parents, your child’s smartphone, tablet, and laptop are the garden gates to the modern day tree of knowledge. With a few clicks, they can watch the suicides of kids their age, learn about the occult, find 100 reasons why they shouldn’t believe in God, watch pornography including rape and bestiality, view real life murders, see the hanging of Saddam Hussein, watch a stoning, learn how to manufacture drugs, be groomed by a pedophile, be trained in how to self mutilate, view a beheading or live burning done by ISIS, or find a million other vicious things that you and I can not imagine. Anything, ANYTHING, they want to see can be found in minutes online. This doesn’t even factor in the shows they watch on TV or the lyrics of the songs their friend just told them to download.
Wake up parents! It’s sad when secular groups sent out notices warning parents and educators that 13 Reasons was dangerous, but Christian parents couldn’t see the danger. We wonder why we have a suicidal generation, but we let them glorify entertainers who ended their lives in suicide and spend hours binge watching shows centered in the topic. We wonder why our children are violent, but we fail to screen their entertainment, and they spend hundreds of hours viewing murder, rape, assault, torture and more. Say what you will, but what your kids are accessing on their devices has a greater influence on them than their youth group ever will. Wake up parents!
Their screens are the most influential things in their lives.
Have your kids passwords. Put parental controls on your teen’s phone. Get in their business! Read articles about the shows, games, apps, and sites they love. Do your research. Put in the time. Know their friends. Meet their friends parents. Randomly snatch their phone. Talk to them. Be vigilant. It will not be easy, but it will be worth it.
You only get one chance to raise them.