the things they take in, pt 3: the internet

I don’t know if the internet will ever be replaced.

It has become so ingrained into our lives and culture that wireless internet is a must, we complain when we don’t have it.

The printed newspaper is a dying industry because of the internet. Media of all kinds is shifting towards a paperless/internet based platform. My Christmas gift this past year was a device that allows me to scroll throughout the internet, grab a book, or article, or newspaper, or blog (you name it), and download it for my consumption at any time. This used to be called a book store or library.

I love the internet. With the internet, I am 40% smarter than what I would actually be if i didn’t have the internet, but I’m probably 60% dumber because I don’t fully retain the information I just learned. Thanks to Wikipedia, I can discover if George Washington was really our first president (a youth group inside joke). Thanks to Youtube, I can watch hours of people falling down, getting hurt, failing at whatever they were trying to accomplish, or the like.

But thanks to the internet, I also have the ability to look up whatever my heart desires.

Like I told your students last night with Instagram, the internet is not the problem. Our sinful hearts are the problem.

So, what do we do with the internet in light of our sinful nature? How do we redeem the internet?

Matthew 6:22 says, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light,”

Here are a few things that I think are good when we talk about redeeming the internet:

one) talk with your son/daughter – Gone are the days where one “talk” is enough. You, as a parent, should set the tone with how your son or daughter views their body, understands sex, imagines the perfect guy or girl they should (or shouldn’t) date. Raising your teens is a harder pursuit then when they were children but it involves you being active in conversation with them after the dinner table. Take your son or daughter to breakfast or to Carl’s or on a trip to the mall to talk about appropriate dress.

two) internet accountability and content filtering Covenant Eyes works on your computer, smart phone, or mobile device. Internet accountability and content filtering lets you know where your children are online to see what they are seeing. However, it is flawed because Covenant Eyes can’t sit your son down and talk about porn or talk to your daughter about the kind of man she should want.

three) parental controlsYoutube has them, Windows has them, Apple iOS has them, Google has them. Use them for your benefit. But again, the flaw is that these things aren’t enough.

If we are in Christ, we are new creations. We will still struggle with sin, however, our focus should be on our Savior, Jesus. In Him, we have redemption from our sin. Through Him, we have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside us, transforming and shaping us to be like Jesus. We have a Father who dishes out Unconditional Love not by our merit but by Jesus’.

The internet distracts us and pulls us away from our Savior. However, it can be redeemed. It can be used as a tool for discipleship and our spiritual growth (with websites like TheGospelCoalition, The Resurgence and The Verge Network to name a few). So, lets be wise with how we handle things on the world wide web. Realize that when a student is handed a smart phone or sits at a computer screen for hours on end, they are being taught life from other people. They have at their finger tips a device that has sent people into addiction.

Train them, urge them model for them the posture of being a Christian. Show them your passion for your Savior. Share with them what you learned from your devotions. Train them in the ways of the Lord. Be like Paul and become an imitator to them as you are in Christ. No longer seek your own good, but the good of your children. Not just their physical needs, but their greater need for a Savior.

Because the internet isn’t going anywhere. It just gets easier and easier for them to use it.