Proverbs 11:22 Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.
There's just no skirting around this one, is there ladies? This verse is directly pointed at the world we live in... Worse, there are no longer just "Pigs," the population of "Piglets" is growing exponentially. In this modern media age, we find that the conveniences meant for expediency are also gateways to temptation, sin, and bondage we never anticipated... Even for our kids.
If you don't know what Sexting is by now, you are behind Mama, and it is time to catch up. The advent of digital EVERYTHING has somehow erased all sense of modesty. Every whim, impulse and poor choice is being recorded for all the world to see. Our kids have become so infatuated with themselves that they actually believe that others might like to see them at their worst and without inhibitions. Sadly, in these photo shoots, children lack as much common sense as they do clothing.
Don't give me one of those, "but my daughter goes to Christian school," or, "but we go to church every Sunday and Wednesday night," lines. The statistics tell us that even your precious child has likely been exposed to R and even X rated content on the web, but many children are just too embarrassed to talk about it with a parent or adult. However, that embarrassment is not likely to erase curiosity, nor does it seem to discourage peer interaction on the topic. I have been repeatedly floored by the conversations and pictures posted by some of the most lovely, polite, Mary-Jane shod, Christian girls. Don't let the sweet exteriors fool you, they are all subject to temptation.
Then there is the ubiquitous Facebook or MySpace profile picture. Darling, young girls looking up into their hand held cameras, positioned just so as to accentuate their best attempt at bedroom eyes and tantalizing views of brand new cleavage. COME ON! Sister, this is not child's play! This is children play acting their way into an adult world they know little to nothing about. These girls naively post without realizing the danger they are inviting, or the sin they are perpetuating. Yes... I said, "perpetuating." Romans 14:13 says, "Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way." Do you think these tweens and middle schoolers think about what boys... and men... do, or are tempted to do, when they see these pictures? Probably not. If they do, it is time to intervene, Mom; if they don't, it is time to fill them in.
Most girls think that participating in these things will only attract the attention of that cute boy they have their eye on. They never consider that their skinny jeans and tight tops are more explicit than an Anatomy 101 course. It is unlikely that it occurs to them that some pot-bellied, balding, "Old Fart" or their best friend's dad might be eating them alive with their eyes. They don't concern themselves with the starring roles they play in the minds of men and boys whom they wouldn't shake a stick at. They don't guess that they might wish they had a stick to shake, if they found themselves alone with one of these fellas!
Mom, do you know the new fun trend? Signing up on "Hook-up" sites with false identities, fake pictures and nasty language. One of the objectives is to see what lonely men your baby can strike up IM conversations with. If you are thinking, "Yikes," "Gad-Zooks," or "Heavens to Mergatroid," you are just getting a glimpse of how bad and how dastardly this little game is. Let your mind wander for a second on the possibilities and you won't even scratch the actual surface.
Am I being too harsh and dramatic here? I don't think so. Am I grossing you out? Good. Trust me, I don't think that every other man out there is a pervert, but do we really want our daughters unknowingly wagging a bone in front of one that is? I am OVER seeing the faces of beautiful girls pop up on my TV screen, followed by the cries of pleading parents in search of their beloved child. No, I am not suggesting that these girls invited their fates. Many of these kids are simply victims, and never participated in the stuff I describe above... However, the actions of others that elevated the excitement and frustrations of these sick minds sure did. Other insecure souls trusted the kind words of wolves that were dripping with seemingly innocent complements. They sucked up the sugary sweet blather that lured them into their inescapable trap. Either way, a tragedy followed and a blessing of a child's innocence or very life was lost.
What can we do about it? Kick ourselves in the pants for apathy, for starters! Get our lazy eyes off of reality shows and tune into the reality that our kids are subjected to daily. Trust me, there is FAR more drama to be had in middle school than on any Soap or "bake-off" show. Take TWO minutes a day to peek at cell phone texts, Facebook, MySpace and email accounts. YES, you are going to have to get your child's passwords. YES, your requests will likely be met with resistance and irritation... But, HELLO, doesn't that just make you want to investigate all the more? It is time for damage control, Mama. It is time to expose the secrets and talk candidly about dignity and discretion.
Didn't your mom make you sit in the kitchen, in front of her, when you spoke on the phone with a boy? Didn't your mom look at you like you had lost your mind if you asked to show a boy your room? Wouldn't your mom "kill you" if she knew you wrote a love note in class? If not, then sorry, you were short changed and you can do better. Trouble is, there are so many more ways, nowadays, for a girl to get into sticky situations and be lured into exposing what she might not really want to, because these little electronic gadgets make it so darn easy!
Now don't think I am suggesting you pack up and head to Amish country. Our girls need to learn to live in this digital and cyber age safely. But Mom, how are they going to do it if you don't teach them and monitor them? Yeah, they know more about this stuff than you do, but you knew more about modern things than your mom did, too - and you couldn't always sneak one by her. Just the fact that your daughter knows you are interested and vigilant will serve to bolster some self control.
Here are some simple things you can do to curb the possibility of cyber indiscretions:
- Have access to all computer accounts and passwords (even school email accounts - they are not monitored carefully). If you find your child on a non-disclosed account, restrict access to the computer... Honestly, she won't die! Not to mention, it won't change her social status at school... If it does, then she was hanging with the wrong crowd anyway, and you have done her a favor that she just might thank you for in under 15 years.
- Check your child's computer history so you can see where she has been. If your child routinely erases her browsing history, then restrict access - she is going places she knows she shouldn't. Did you know that YouTube is an easy access to porn? Yep, sorry to wreck it for you, but it isn't just about cute or funny video snip-its. This site, and ones like it, would be safer to access with parental supervision.
- Put a "Cyber-Sitter" on your child's computer - and on yours for that matter. You don't need to view the garbage that is out there anymore than she does. A great one is called Covenant Eyes. Go on, give it a google! It is a Christian based organization that strives to protect you and your children from the yuck lurking out there.
- Don't rely solely on your "Cyber-Sitter!" This is lazy parenting, and sitters can't eradicate every creep and creepy thing.
- Check out your child's friends on Facebook, MySpace and other sites. If they have pictures that are inappropriate, remove them from your child's friends list. Better yet, contact that child's parent and let them know what is being posted. I bet you 100 bucks they are unaware and would appreciate your help.
- Check your child's phone records and billing statements. Who is she talking to? Who is she texting? What time of day or night is she communicating? Is she erasing these contacts and messages from her phone? If so, Mama, it is time to put some limits on the phone.
- Call your child's cell phone service provider and remove any internet capabilities, especially if the provider does not offer "Cyber Sitters."
Some folks out there will be thinking, "But that is an invasion of their privacy." Really? What privacy? Privacy is earned, it is a privilege. Someone else might be sympathetic to their child's social standing, and be thinking, "This would be social suicide." Mom, it is time to put your daughter's safety and dignity before her popularity.
I know this all sounds like work. I know you have limited time, but the investment you make now will reap great dividends later, and you will have no regrets.
So, just one more thing to do...
Pray. Pray. Pray. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is more important to your daughter's well being. Pray that God would put a foul taste in her spiritual mouth when she sees or hears unclean things. Pray that she would not be able to ignore the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and would only find true rest and satisfaction in Him. Pray that she will hunger and thirst for the righteousness of God. Pray that she will leave any insecurities behind that might outweigh what she knows to be right and true. Pray that she will find her true worth and security in Christ, and that His opinion of her will be all that matters to her. Pray that when she sins, her heart will be convicted, and will drive her to her knees at the foot of the cross, allowing Him to forgive her, pick her up, dust her off, and set her on a new path free of guilt and shame. He is able to do all things!
I Timothy 4:12 Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
Bible references taken from the New International version