Internet Safety

12 Things Christian Parents Should Teach Their Children

by Debi Pryde

  1. Teach your children to seek and love wisdom and discernment. Encourage teens to discuss actions and words of people they believe are wise as well as people who are not wise. Teach them how to weigh words and to discern truthhttp1.jpg vs. deception. Make discussing the application of wisdom enjoyable, practical, and casually informative. Commend your child when he makes wise decisions or comes to a wise conclusion. Remember, this process is about your child learning to be wise, not about your informing your child about what is wise!
    Proverbs 2:10-15 (KJV) – When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things; Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked; Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths:

    Proverbs 3:13-18 – Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.

    Proverbs 21:12 – The righteous man wisely considereth the house of the wicked: but God overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness.

  2. Teach your children how to stand alone, to defend what is right, and to withstand criticism without being self-righteous or obnoxious. (We all need to work on these areas constantly!) Teach your child the characteristics of a wise and strong leader by God’s standards. All Christians should strive to be leaders who turn many to righteousness and not to be followers who are led away from right by the majority. Demonstrate how the crowd mentality negatively influences social networking on the computer just as it does in any other social setting. When we believe the “group” approves, we are emboldened to proceed without caution, to do what we wouldn’t do alone, and to forget that those who would please the crowd will not please the Lord in the end.
    Daniel 12:3 – And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

    Galatians 1:10 – For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

    2 Timothy 3:12 – Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
  3. Teach real-life, problem-resolution skills to your children. Show how basic interpersonal relationship principles work in any circumstance that involves people, even people communicating by computer. For instance, we can communicate respect or disrespect and even rudeness in many ways: rolling our eyes when someone is trying to convey something important to us, typing in ALL CAPS during a heated computer discussion, ignoring family members we live with in order to “network” on the computer. There is such a thing as “Internet courtesy.” Courtesy should characterize every form of communication. Discuss it!
    Proverbs 15:23 – The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.

    Ephesians 4:31-32; 5:1-2 – Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
  4. Teach your children the importance of honesty in the various situations when human beings are tempted to be dishonest. For instance, people lie most often when it is easy to lie, when the truth is embarrassing, when we fear rejection, when we are in a social setting, when we are around others who are not truthful, or when we crave attention. Teach your child to recognize how dishonesty leads to heartache, destruction, and broken relationships. Emphasize how our God is a God of light and truth and why Christians are to be lovers of truth. Discuss the consequences of dishonesty in other people’s lives, how the Internet makes dishonesty attractive and easy for businesses as well as individuals. Show them when you spot online dishonesty and misrepresentation—make it a game to find it so they will develop awareness.
    Proverbs 3:3-4 – Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.

    Proverbs 12:22 – Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.

    Proverbs 13:5 – A righteous man hateth lying: but a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame.
  5. Teach your children the limitations of any form of communication that does not include hearing tones of voice or seeing facial or body “cues” while listening to another personal speak. Teach them to identify topics and circumstances that are problematic or should never be discussed using e-mail, instant messages, or blogs. Fair speech (or typing) might not look so “fair” if one were talking to the other person face-to-face. Encourage your child to write a list of personal computer network guidelines for himself so he doesn’t so easily fall into the traps that have brought sorrow to others.
    Proverbs 14:15 – The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.

    Proverbs16:17 – The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.

    Proverbs 22:3 – A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.
  6. Teach your children time-management principles. Teach them how to set and keep priorities. Teach them the importance of exercising self-restraint in controlling choices, preventing any activity from becoming a “dominating” activity and weighing the long-term consequences of activities we choose. Set reasonable limits on such nonessential activities as TV, video games, phone conversations, or computer usage. Purpose to help your children learn to govern their own choices and time wisely so you as a parent no longer need to establish rules regarding such things. Make sure your child is developing a variety of interests rather than fixating on just one. Make sure your child sees your planning how much time you will spend on the computer and refraining and disciplining your own use.
    Proverbs 13:4 – The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.

    Proverbs 25:16 – Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.

    1 Corinthians 9:25-27 – And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
  7. Teach your children to love and appreciate accountability. Teach them that God uses various means of accountability to protect us from ourselves. Those who are willing to confront us or to challenge us to exercise godliness in all our words and actions are invaluable to us—even when they do so in less than gracious or godly ways. (We need those “in your face” people!) One good result of communicating on the Internet is that our words and actions are not hidden and can be evaluated and censured by a large audience (including parents and would-be employers). This accountability forces us to evaluate much more carefully than we would otherwise. Remind your children that words and actions often come back to “haunt” those who are careless and do not consider the ramifications of a public forum such as the World Wide Web. Show them how many learned too late the nature and power of a simple Internet search that could be conducted by literally anyone. Many such searches have been devastating to one’s reputation—sometimes for a very long time. It’s always best to remember that you should never write anything anywhere that you wouldn’t want others to read. Teach your child that his online communications must be available to parents for his own protection and that the computer will always remain in a public place—never in a private bedroom. Demonstrate your need for accountability as well; that’s why Internet safety features and filters are installed on everyone’s computer. Reproof and correction are ways of life—for parents as well as kids.
    Proverbs 1:5 – A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:

    Proverbs 6:23 – For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

    Proverbs 12:15 – The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.

    Ephesians 4:14-15 – That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

    Ecclesiastes 5:2 – Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.
  8. Teach your children that God holds us responsible for all our words and actions—whether they are expressed in the privacy of our thoughts alone, in what we write on the Internet, or in what we do and say in the presence of others. Teach them the joys and freedom of living their lives in such a way that they wouldn’t care who was watching them at any time, day or night. Remind your children that God hears and weighs our smallest words. Therefore, when someone points out a discrepancy in something we write online, the confrontation should serve as a reminder that God hears our thoughts as loudly as He hears our spoken words, sees what we write just as He hears what we say, and holds us responsible accordingly.
    Matthew 12:34-37 – O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

    Colossians 4:6 – Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
  9. Teach your children to exercise self-control and to avoid writing impulsive replies or statements they may later regret. Show them that answering too quickly can get all of us into lots of trouble we could have avoided with restraint. The Internet makes hasty replies easy, and hasty replies can be extremely inflammatory. Asking someone you trust (who is able to be objective) to read your statement before you send it is wise and helps keep one objective. We must exercise wisdom and restraint when choosing what we say when, where, and how. Just because something is true does not always give us the right to say it, and saying the right thing in the wrong way or at the wrong time doesn’t make it okay, either. Some things are inappropriate for us to state publicly (as on the Internet) but are wise to keep private. Other things are dangerous and foolish to say on the Internet because the Internet is viewed by a variety of people: those who are exceedingly vile and evil and those who are loving and righteous and merely seek friendship.
    Proverbs 14:29 – He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.

    Proverbs 15:1-4 – A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness. The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.

    Proverbs 21:23 – Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.

    Proverbs 25:8-10 – Go not forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbour hath put thee to shame. Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; and discover not a secret to another: Lest he that heareth it put thee to shame, and thine infamy turn not away.

    Proverbs 25:28 – He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.

    1 Timothy 6:3-4 – If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
  10. Teach your children that Christians should never associate with certain people or visit certain places, such as bars and nightclubs, gambling casinos, brothels, drug-infested alleyways, X-rated bookstores, massage parlors, and the like. We keep far away from any place where we know thieves, murderers, child molesters, rapists, and thugs hang out. Likewise, there are places on the Internet where a Christian must never go. These places are just as dangerous, if not more so, because they are more easily entered. We can also be easily deceived into thinking that we are observing, not participating. Christians must watch where they go and to whom they talk and listen, whether they are online, at home, at school, at work, on foot, in a car, with friends, or all alone. When we stumble across evil, we should run and tell, whether online or in our neighborhoods. We choose our friends wisely, even when they are Internet friends. Knowing our friends and associations becomes a reflection of our inner character.
    Psalms 101:3-4 – I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person.

    Proverbs 4:14-17 – Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.

    Proverbs 13:19 – He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

    Proverbs 14:7 – Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.

    Proverbs 19:27 – Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.

    2 Corinthains 6:17-18; 7:1 – Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

    Ephesians 5:11-17 – And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

    2 Timothy 2:19-22 – Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

    Romans 16:17-18 – Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly[sensual appetites]; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple [innocent, guiless].

    Proverbs 22:5 – Thorns and snares are in the way of the forward [rebellious]: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.
  11. Teach your children that a computer “hug” or “smile” is nice, but it can never replace the warmth of a real live hug or the joy of a real live smile. Then demonstrate the many joys of interacting with loving and caring family members in your home. Remember that children often “escape” their dreary, oppressive home lives by entering cyberspace and interacting with those who serve as substitutes for the real thing.
    Psalm 133:1 – Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

    Proverbs 15:17 – Better is a dinner of herbs [soup] where love is, than a stalled ox [steak] and hatred therewith.

    Proverbs 21:9 – It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.

    Proverbs 24:3-4 – Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

    Ephesians 5:1-2 – Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
  12. Teach your children that you care enough about them to be not only computer literate but also computer proficient. Don’t let your child experience the Internet alone. Walk with him, showing him the obstacles, teaching him how to handle problems, guiding him in good directions, learning new skills, and sharing new discoveries TOGETHER. The parent of a child who knows more about the computer than he does soon discovers that his child lives in a different world. As a result, parental words of caution regarding anything computer-related often go unheeded.
    Proverbs 27:23 – Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.

    1 Peter 5:2-3 – Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

debi.jpgDebi Pryde has taught ladies’ Bible classes and spoken at retreats and seminars for the past 30 years. A certified biblical counselor, she is particularly burdened for women and for the problems they face in today’s world. She has published a variety of Bible studies and books, including Secrets of a Happy Heart, Happily Married, and Precept Upon Precept. She and her husband, Tom, are active members at Lighthouse Baptist Church (La Verne, CA). You can read more about Debi, about her ministry, and about her rose garden by visiting her website.

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