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Guide your child’s use of technology with love, faith and hope

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According to a recent report by MIT Technology Review, a Microsoft researcher for social media, Danah Boyd, is releasing a book that encourages parents to calm down and don’t freak out about their child’s use of cyber technology entitled, It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens. Bullying, anxiety, pedophile access, and exposure to drug and alcohol abuse are not new things with which youth must contend, but the technology does amplify their experiences.

Boyd is reported as saying that what is required is a parent who does not freak out and is “present” and not just physically – but truly interested and paying attention to their child’s experiences. Of course this means that there is less talking and more listening on the part of the parent.

The trick is to be present with a heart at peace so that there can be open communication which is much easier said than done.

Heather Murdock, Placerville resident and mother of three ages 10, 12 and 21, admits that there are times when she is feels as if she is not adequately prepared parent her 12-year-old’s use of mobile devices, texting and social media.

She is worried for her daughter’s safety. “Sometimes I don’t feel qualified, and I am fearfully trying to think of ways that I can be in control,” she said.

A talk show host for TSPN local television station in Amador County, called Love, Hope and Faith with Heather Murdock, this mom of three relies upon her faith to help shed fear. “I remind myself that if I feel I am the only one who has the power to protect her, then it is as if I am saying God is not enough.”

God’s love inspires open communication when we are authentic in our authority to govern the home with house rules that train children to exercise their free will wisely. It is not about controlling the lives of our children (micro-managing), but controlling the home environment to provide instructive, age-appropriate experiences that reinforce their value and competency as individuals.

So for the cyber parent, now more than ever, what you believe really matters. “I have found that it is really important to not allow your own hang ups and sense of shame stop you from addressing the issues our children are facing today ranging from bullying to porn, sexting and drugs,” she said.

Civil liberty is the product of an act of faith by a handful of people - that God is sovereign over the life of an individual, He grants us intelligent life and free will, and so power is something that cannot be taken from you, but it can be surrendered.

In this regard, it is good to think about how you and your children will stand your ground in the social network? How will you train your children to exercise self control and restraint in a boundary-less environment that seduces people to let it all hang out.

“We have to be careful not to take God out of the equation,” Murdock said. “The big question for parents is do you really trust God? Do you expect that your children can learn to make good decisions without you micromanaging them and recover from the consequences of their mistakes with you in their corner encouraging them?”

For more about governing the cyber-powered home to train your child to be a free agent in the flesh as well as in the network, go to: A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media.

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