During the family panel discussions that were part of our conferences, we almost always got a question that went like this. “We know your family uses the computer and Internet for business, ministry, and personal things. Plus many of you seem to have smart phones. You mentioned that you have protection on all of them. What do you use, and how can we protect our families?”
That question is important to us, and we would like to share information on this topic with all of you. It has taken us years of research and trial and error to come up with our plan and what we utilize to implement it.
Regularly our time is spent on the computer and the Internet. Our sons’ businesses are all computer related. The Titus2 ministry is mainly conducted via the Internet. Much of our business and personal communication goes on through e-mail. We use texting for quick, easy communication between family members and close friends. It has become imperative to us that we have safeguards on our computers and devices so that none of us unwittingly or purposefully happens upon immoral sites.
We regularly receive e-mails from moms who are devastated by the addiction their husbands have to the immorality that is readily accessible via the Internet. As families share with us their problems concerning losing their children’s hearts, regularly the Internet has been a factor. Usually the privacy of a bedroom, where there is no accountability, is the path the young person treads leading him deeper and deeper into sin.
As we have become more aware of the dangers of the Internet, we have wanted to protect and shelter our children from those dangers as we could. There are several things we have done to help avoid those problems.
Obviously, the most fail-safe way to protect them is not to have the Internet in your home. However, for us, because the Internet is so involved in our livelihood that was not a reasonable option for our family so we sought ways to minimize the negative influences. Just as one uses a chain saw, which is very dangerous but can be powerfully utilized with proper training and safety precautions, we have chosen to do what we could to safeguard the Internet, using it as a tool not a toy in our home.
First, we have had our children share bedrooms—a boys’ bedroom and a girls’ bedroom. With less privacy, there is less opportunity for failure since there is often accountability and even when a child is alone in his bedroom, he never knows when a sibling will enter.
Years ago, we had a family conversation and discussed some of what we were hearing about moral failures among Christian young people. As we discussed this topic with our children, we asked them if they would like accountability in order to help them avoid being in similar situations. Everyone agreed, and as a family, we took some steps toward that accountability. We have an open device and open computer policy. That meant that we (Steve and Teri) had full freedom to get on the children’s computers, see their e-mail, and look at their phones. Since they knew we would do this, it provided them with accountability. In a similar way, we (Steve and Teri) have an open policy with each other concerning our computers, e-mail, and phones. “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” (Ephesians 5:21). Accountability itself goes a long way in reducing temptation and sin. “But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).
We use Accountable2You for our computers and device accountability. With Accountable2You, I get a daily report for each device. Steve gets my reports. It is a summary. I can go online for a detailed report. If there is questionable usage, I will get an immediate email. (The Accountable2You is a Titus2 affiliate link and blesses Titus2.)
There is still quite a bit more we would like to tell you concerning protecting our families in this technological world from the evil that would like to prey upon them. We will continue on this topic next month. We pray that each of our heart’s desire is that we would be as Peter encourages us, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16). That is only possible through the Lord Jesus Christ. As we raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, may we be willing to invest of our time and finances to shelter them. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 John 2:16).