Toxic Tuesday: Underage House Guests, Technology and How I Protect My Kids

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard

Technology opened up a new avenue to develop kids into toxic adults. As a mom with a nineteen year old daughter and boys ages ten and eleven I’m concerned, as I’m sure you are, about how to protect them from spiritually and emotionally harmful technology. I wonder how any boy in today’s world is going to grow up without becoming ensnared by pornography at some time in life. Their only hope is in the Lord—so I pray for and with my boys and teach them to make decisions now to be resolved that when they see immodest pictures they will bounce their eyes away and not look back. 

Statistics show the average age for boys to come across pornography on the internet in our technologically advanced society is age eleven. This leaves a high probability that a young male guest visiting our house has already been introduced to porn either accidentally or intentionally. 

And then there are apps. Companies produce new apps on a weekly basis targeting children and teens as their market audience and many of these apps are dangerous for many reasons. You will find links below for more information on apps and how to control them on your child’s phone.

For many reasons I decided to limit technology that enters my house by way of my young boys’ friends. There is no way to know what someone could have accidentally or intentionally found and saved to their electronic device while surfing the net, listening to music, watching YouTube or movies, using an App, receiving ‘selfies’ from friends, or utilizing Google search; including but not limited to, Google images.

Electronic's Drop Off for under age house guests.

Electronic’s Drop Off for under age house guests.

I tell A.J. and Colon’s friends that although I trust them, I do not trust the World Wide Web and for that reason I have a house rule they will need to follow when they visit us. The rule is this: All electronics stay in the kitchen at the Hospitality Bar. If they need on the internet for any reason I will be glad to log them on to my computer, at the kitchen table, and I will search for what they want to watch or do.

I am almost always in the kitchen which means I am within range of seeing or hearing the entertainment on the computer. If I have to step away I can always look at the ‘History’ to make sure all content was safe.

My boys live by this rule in our own home. No internet access on their own. I log them on and they sit at the kitchen table where I can hear and/or see what they are viewing or listening to. At this time they are allowed on educational websites for school, Lego.com and Tim Hawkins’ website. No web-searching is allowed since we do not have any safeguards in place.

Laptops, phones, iPads, iPods and MP3s all stay on the hospitality bar until young guests are through visiting our home.

Hospitality Bar: Electronic's Rug on the right. This is conveniently located beside the door where they enter and exit.

Hospitality Bar: Electronic’s Rug on the right. This is conveniently located beside the door where they enter and exit.

If you want to implement this idea for your house guests you could use a basket, bowl, tray, plate, towel or just the bare countertop for ‘parking’ electronics. I like my rug because it is decorative and because I can easily count how many devices are deposited and if any are missing during the visit.

Since my boys don’t have guests over more than once a week and since they don’t need to spend their time together being entertained by electronics, I limit the usage and tell them they need to spend their time more creatively. I suggest other indoor activities or playing tag or ball outside.

I admit, telling my boys’ friends this rule makes me nervous because I have a difficult time setting boundaries and not feeling bad about it. I falsely feel like I have to explain my every decision. It would be easier to ask God to protect them from all life’s inconveniences and harms; however, God gave these children to me and I can’t outsource every earthly nuisance back on God as if it is His responsibility just so I can avoid feeling uncomfortable. Our Heavenly Father gave us the authority as parents to raise our children to; like Jesus, grow “In wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”

I use this ‘No Technology’ policy for my kids and for their friends. My goal is to keep everyone safe from internet vulnerabilities while they are under my care.

I cannot and will not abdicate my authoritative protection away to a youthful house guest or son; no matter how much I adore them and trust them.

So…you may have already heard from your child, “Mrs. Deevers has me leave my phone in her kitchen whenever I am at her house.” It is true—I do. It is for their protection. I hope you will return the favor when my boys visit your house.

Other helpful internet and app sights and articles:

MMGuardian Parental Controls for phones and apps

Ignore No More app Tired of her kids ignoring her phone calls, a Texas mom taught herself how to develop an app and created “Ignore No More.” Read the Washington Post article, Houston Mom.

Uncovering the Risks of Cell Phones for Teens

7 dangerous apps that parents need to know about. I’m certain this April 2014 list is behind the times but I could not find a more recent list I read two weeks ago.

COUNTERTOP/CANISTER RUG IS FROM: The Cobblestone Cottage, St. Charles, MO for local residents. The rug is not listed on the website.

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