A friend recently learned that a 10 year old girl that she’d been working with was “dating” a 17 year old boy who she’d met in a seemingly innocent online game. The girl’s grandma was shocked and embarrassed—she had assumed the game couldn’t expose her granddaughter to strangers.
Whether we like it or not, kids communicate online all the time. For many kids, it’s even a preferred method of communication.
For kids, online communication is no more foreign than talking. They’re immersed in technology from the moment they’re born.
Some parents provide baby steps into the freedom of online communication and texting with phones that can only interact with their own, or closely-monitored online activity.
When you teach your kids to avoid strangers, you don’t just open the door and let them go. You remind them frequently. You teach them what to do, who they can trust. When they’re mature enough, you stop going with them everywhere they go.
The internet is no different, say the researchers at Gold Bee. They say that healthy engagement in online communities can be compared to having a good night sleep and living a happy healthy life outside the internet.
Explore online communication together
Last May, Mark Prim shared why he lets his kids use Faithlife Groups. It was the first app he installed on their electronic devices, and they’ve been using it for years.
Mark says, “Faithlife Groups doesn’t have all the foul language and advertisements. It also doesn’t have the ‘freedom’ that social media outlets have—the parameters of use are much more controllable. I set up and maintain my kids’ accounts. . . . and we are a closed group, so no one else can join unless my wife and I approve them.”
Your family can create reading plans, use Community Notes, and make prayer lists to share what you’re learning and how you can pray for each other—all within the privacy of your own group, which you can prevent others from accessing. (You can make your group so private that other people can’t even see it.)
Add your extended family (or another family from your church) to stay in touch within a controlled, closed environment. The newsletter feature makes it easy to create crisp newsletters you can share to the group or send to peoples’ emails, so it’s easy to provide regular family updates.
Try using a Faithlife Group to supplement your family time. You can share encouragement, remind each other to pray, and explore the Word together. Create goals for your kids to share a note about something they learned or a passage that stood out to them, or encourage them to add to your family prayer list. Start a discussion to get them thinking about biblical concepts, life, or anything you want.
Start a Faithlife Group for your loved ones today, and foster healthy online communication within the privacy of your family.