Archive | April 2013

Let Our Children Be.

Research of every kind has shown that media, constantly being indoors, over entertainment, trying to manage children into little adults, too much exposure to sexual material and immoral values at an early age, is destroying the soul of children. They are being pulled,  pushed  and dragged from one place to another, endless activities, lessons that are supposedly “good” for them, and forced to fit into time boxes convenient to adults. This stress is wreaking havoc and creating terrible results on a generation of children who are growing up with emotional adult illnesses at early ages, lower vocabulary, more depression, vastly growing obesity as a childhood disease and so much more. Premature addiction to sexual images and news stories and acting out  adult values is damaging to their souls. Innocence and purity of mind  is healthy to becoming healthy adults.

Our children are starving for real life and drowning in the midst of an empty one.

But the old fashioned way of raising children seems to be the healthiest way  to raise emotionally, intellectually, physically resilient children. Children are natural imitators and so we must fill their lives and minds with worthy people, ideas  and heroes to pretend and to imitate – to practice what they will be when they grow up.

May they not grow up to imitate addiction to computer. May they not learn and display passivity from adults ignoring their needs while paying too much attention to facebook, twitter, blogs, cell phones. May they not copy the habit of observing parents dwelling hour after hour in front of interpersonal machines! while neglecting to honor and invest in real time relationships.

Children need protection and nurturing. Their brains are being robbed of intellectual exercise because they are not doing the things that children have done through out history. Children need a lot of time to have alone-time- imagination-to synthesize all that they are learning and thinking about in their worlds. Children need to read, to be read to and to have their brains filled with moral strength, values and stories that inspire!

When our children are constantly entertained by media, their brains actually become retarded – clinically slowed down, because  they are overstimulated  and their undeveloped eyes and brain capacity cannot deal with all of the visual stimulation, so that the brain actually shuts down in areas. Because they are deprived of what their bodies are designed to have- rest, play, imagination, curiosity, interaction with real people and real experiences, problems to solve, there is a diminishing of long term emotional, spiritual and mental health. Unfortunately, most children are not free to exercise life choices in the oxygen of creative play and have forgotten how to exist without constant entertainment, which prohibits intellectual growth.

Children need to be outdoors (including mine). They need time to be bored so that they will have to figure out how to occupy their time creatively. Innocence and purity of mind is healthy to becoming healthy adults.

They need to be around books and have lots and lots of imaginative stories read to them and then have them pretend the stories. They need lots of time with adults most preferably their parents not aunts, uncles and nannies so that they can pattern their values, manner and relationships after mature people rather than always being in the company of  immature children and media images which display violence, foolishness and questionable values.

Children will reflect naturally what their environment has produced. If one wants excellence and creativity, it comes out of a life well planned and ordered-  intentional living out what is real, acceptable, true and good. It does not come out of media or constant external entertainment or happen- chance where children becomes morally addicted to cultural values as displayed on the internet, television and the movies.

May our children be blessed with the gift of play, imagination, free time and the space to be outdoors to explore (if the security of say my country Nigeria will allow it).May they wonder at the marvels of God’s creation. May they have the treasure of real human beings who hold their hands while exploring the world, or who rock them to sleep and sing them real songs or scratch their backs at bedtime and tell them their own love stories. And may they daily hear the words of their creator God and marvel at His excellence and grow to love Him with all their heart.

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Safeguarding Your Family On Internet 2

Now the concluding part on Safeguarding your loved ones on internet. A brief recap though is expected. In the first issue I said that you should install safety software, computers or laptops or Ipads to be used in common areas and no internet on phones. It will be nice if you read the first post on this topic so as to make heads and tail of what I am talking about.

4. Other kids coming into your home

I love having other kids over to our home most especially now kids are on holiday for the Easter Celebrations. I  love to make my home available for visits. But I learnt something from a friend who is a bit older and with older children than mine. She said that when her kids friends come visiting, she takes all their cell phones and laptops and keeps them with her- not allowing any of them to take them up to her kids’ rooms ( and I thought I was the only paranoid Mom) You see I don’t care how nice the kids are-whether they go to church or from christian background (there’s always a black sheep somewhere  if you get my drift). No child is ever far from falling into temptation and how many mothers really have that time to check on what their kids are up to these days.

5. Don’t be naive

You need to be smart oooo. You need to be ON the internet and learn to be a little savvy with technology. I have a friend who wonders  how I know so many social media and how they work and she will often tell me,” hey you are trying o, me (i.e she) once I check my facebook and chat, that is it ooo”. The Oga at the top saga in my country started like this, if the poor man paid a little attention to what was happening around him , he would have known what a website was! Our kids learn how to use the computer and phones quickly! I’m amazed! You need to figure out a few things to keep them from stumbling onto things that they should not read or see on the internet. Don’t delude yourself by thinking that your child or husband is exempt from that temptation. Learn how to read history – or know when they’ve cleared their cache. SEE SISTERS, IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT I’AM TALKING ABOUT, GOOGLE IT!

6. Accountability

This is very important. Be open and honest with your husband and kids about internet usage. For your husband, it will not be an easy conversation. In developed settings, the husband will have a group of God fearing and reasonable friends who helps him keep accountable in the area of lust and sexual temptations, but in the part of the world where I come from, hmmmm? The average African man sees it as a right but when the man decides that for his sake and his family that he must be held accountable, that is a plus sistas. Sistas, encourage your husband  as I have done mine, there shouldn’t be a man, married, or otherwise who doesn’t have a friend in their life asking them some hard questions oooo. Because the society we live in gives the man the right to do and undo, it might be difficult for you to be the one he is accountable to. Chances are you will nag him constantly. If he is a christian, he will need godly men but if he is not, he probably won’t want to be a part of anything like that and you must be understanding of that and then you will need to be very prayerful.

7. Social media restrictions

Hey, trust me, I am all over the place in the social media world- as a mother I feel is part of my job. I must know what all the social media is all about ooo. I encouraged my husband to get into a few of them,- half for business, half for fun. You have to decide when it’s time for your child to be on social media, if ever. For now I worry for my upcoming teenager that is my boy that is 12 going on to 13. Being on any of the social media is not open to discussion for now, when that time comes, the Trinity ( God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) will let me know what to do.

You may not agree with me on some of what I expressed. That’s OK. What’s more important is that you have a plan for your family. Sistas, if you have not thought of this, it’s time you do. As a mom, wife, woman etc, it’s coming whether your child is 1 or 13. Don’t forget you have a husband who is also part of your family to care for.

Safeguarding Your Family On The Internet 1

What I will share today is a challenge that I have been wondering on how I will overcome . As if by the Holy Spirit leading recently  I saw how to solve it, how ? I subscribe to a lot of sites, blogs etc, and once in a while, somebody writes on something that is and has been an issue to me and to a lot of mothers, women and  sisters and immediately like this particular case I decided to share.

It is unfortunate but the world we all live in now is a wretched and sinful one. we are constantly bombarded with things we have to protect our children from. We live in the time of smartphones (Blackberries, Iphones, Ipads, Play station portable PSP etc ). Most of us parents buy these phones for our children for status sake and we do not stop to wonder on the kind of pornography and vivid images our children and husbands are exposed to daily. As a woman with a blackberry and an Ipad, I know the kind of information I get and I shudder when I think about such information getting into the hands of juveniles. For blackberries? goodness! the kind of videos and pictures I get from friends all in the name of fun and rebroadcasting, you will not believe it. On Valentine day, February 14th, this year. I got some obscene videos and pictures and I had to calmly explain to the senders to desist from sending such to me whether as on I need to know basis on otherwise.

Now according to what I read, I will share some of the protective ways I learnt to protect my family. In my house I am the only one, me (MOM) who is always a step ahead in the I.T world. I know the password to everybody’s email after I created them including my husband’s. If any game is to be installed, I do the installing, any site is to be visited, I am told about it and I check the site before giving the go ahead. My husband put me in charge because he saw that I can pull my weight where  computers and the internet is concerned

Now lets get down to some serious business on how you can protect your family from pornography. I will try, the list is not exhaustive  but it will get you started.

1. Install safety soft ware

I remembered when I was working in a government office, the I. T unit blocked some sites in the office so that staff will not have access to those sites while working. Those include porn sites, and some of the social media. Management of my office felt staff were using office hours to entertain themselves. I also know for certain that this is the case in other government offices including banking sector. Now since I left working for the government and on my own, I am  virtually on line for one thing or the other, with the help of my husband (bank rolling the expenses) and a dear friend who is an expert in these matters we got the soft wares and blocked some sites I felt my children might have access to on days I am not on my guard. As a parent ask around and you will get these soft wares- it is worth the money you will buy it. It lets you do a bunch of things- like put block and allow specific website for our children. I can allow them to log on for a certain time of the day, for only a specific amount of time, or all kinds of other parameters. My tween who is 12 going on 13 can log in with his own password, at home, and can go onto approved websites that I have specifically allowed. NO social media or chat rooms or any website that contain certain searches. Let me tell you the story behind my taking this particular step. Some 3- 4 years ago, my 2 boys an daughter were really small. Every day I picked them from school, they will tell me about cartoon network and the games they could play online. Each day it was the same story and I said okay, lets do this, I got my modem and installed it in their desktop and clicked on the website address they gave me, Sisters you will not believe it, as the page was half way open, a porn site came up and if not that I was the one checking this out I would have sworn my children opened that page deliberately. Before the cartoon page open up fully about 2 different porn sites came up and to add to my dismay, when the page was up, there on one of the games listed for my children to click was a full blown porn site! all it needed was for kids my to click and VOILA!. Fortunately my kids were not around me as I was checking this thing out, there were in the sitting room watching their beloved cartoon while I was in their room doing this.

2. Computers or laptops or Ipads in common areas

Like I said my kids’ computer is in their room and I am constantly there, there room is an extension of mine, and we operate an open door policy. So at any time I can pop in to know what they are up to. No Ipads are allowed, my Ipad and their dad’s is locked with a password and we keep changing the password and of course they are no go areas. They are not allowed to go to others friends’ homes where they have internet access or cable/satellite TV in their rooms most especially where the decoders are controlled by the children. I don’t care if it offends those people but hey I got a family to protect!

3. NO internet on phones 

I am not opposed to kids having a cell phone, but to own a blackberry or phones with internet? Come On! My children have had phones for as long as they could say Hello? It is easier for me to always know how they are when I am not at home. The phones my kids have even my tween boy is the one without internet, so the possibility of installing apps is not there. Texting has no picture sharing. Him and his siblings can only text family members, Shikenah! For the most part, my kids rarely text but then again it is for my piece of mind jare!. I t enables me know know what they are up to at any time. Parents buying all these Iphones, Ipads, Blackbery for their kids, hmmm? when jungle matures I wonder who you will blame ooo. Do you know how many kids including husbands that are hooked on pornography already? Recently in one of the south south states of my country, a story broke of 2 teenage boys that raped their younger step sister to death! Stay tuned to the concluding part shortly.