It’s Okay To Say No

People are always asking me: “Is there a way to eavesdrop on my child while they’re using Snapchat?”

There’s a myriad of problems that I have with that question. My first thought is not “Let me see if I can find an app for that” – it’s “Why are you trying to snoop on your child? If the app is the problem, just delete it!”

I don’t know why, but somewhere along the line, parents stopped actually being parents and started being their children’s buddies. And as a parent of two small children who don’t use apps like Snapchat yet, I can talk about this as much as I want until I actually deal with it myself. What’s the phrase? “The only person who can talk about parenting is the person who isn’t one yet?”

But I digress. The issue of our children using technology is really a parenting issue. It has nothing to do with the device or the app. We as parents sometimes forget that we need to put our foot down and say “no.”

Case in point – a parent approached me not too long ago and said this, and I quote: “You need to tell little Johnny to take Snapchat off of his phone.”

I need to tell him?!? I’m not his parent! I’m not the one who will be held accountable for his spiritual development!

I think as parents we say stuff like “My kid wouldn’t do that. He or she knows better. I’ve taught them better,” to make ourselves feel better. And that’s a copout. That’s the devil talking to us – using our false sense of pride and security to get us to not be as vigilant as we should be with protecting our child from digital dangers.

I bet that many many times growing up, you were told “no.” You were told no without any real explanation, and you had to abide by that because your parents made the rules.

You are the parent now, and you make the rules. If you don’t want your child having an app on their phone (or having a phone in the first place!), it is your Godly duty as a parent to say no. Forget what “all the other parents” are doing. If you believe it’s right, and right for your child, tell them no.
It’s okay to say “no.”

Chad Landman is the youth minister for the Church Street Church of Christ in Lewisburg, Tennessee where he has served for four years. He and his wife Bonnie have two boys—Jacob and David. Chad writes about technology and Christianity on his website at chadl.co, and talks to other ministers and youth ministers about technology on his podcast called Ministry Bits. He speaks frequently at area churches using his Active Digital Parenting curriculum, now a weekly blog at Start2Finish.org.

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