Dangers Facing Our Youth – An Open Letter to Parents
The days of my youth were such good days. Not perfect, of course, but good. Simple. Easy. We didn’t have much, but Mama always made sure we had enough. We had what we needed and that was good enough for me.
There wasn’t much peer pressure before I was up into my teen years. Didn’t have people trying to get me to dress a certain way or join in certain activities. My days were filled with anything and everything that had to do with the outdoors. I would stay outside in freezing weather as long as I could be getting into something I thought was fun! I didn’t try to look like other people or even dress like them. No one cared if I had mismatched clothes or a dirty face and hands because I had been digging for worms.
I remember getting on my bicycle and leaving the house early in the morning and coming home when I was hungry. I remember playing in the dirt, in the woods, in the water, fishing, rolling down hills and just exploring on my bicycle. I didn’t have a care in the world. As long as I had a full belly and a puppy or two roaming around, I was happy as a lark!
Sadly, the days of the good ole seventies and eighties are long gone.
Our youth these days have a much different situation. Many join in activities and dress certain ways because they are considered “less than” if they don’t. They are active on Social Media at a very young age because everyone else is and they don’t want to be the only one in their class or friend group not involved in it.
Parents are allowing their babies to have access to the World Wide Web and all its influence when they are very young. Now mind you, most parents don’t quite understand the access they are giving to our young ones. They simply think it’s normal for the very young to have this access. Everyone is doing it, right?
Parents aren’t thinking that Little Johnny is on Instagram chatting with Little Suzie and they are sending inappropriate pictures that disappear after they are read.
Then when Little Johnny and Little Suzie find themselves in a sinful situation and end up with a child, these same parents wonder how it could have happened.
Parents aren’t thinking that Little Becky is watching and striving to emulate a Social Media “Influencer” who dresses with no thought to our Heavenly Father or modesty, curses and posts pictures taken while she is engaging in inappropriate activities.
Parents aren’t thinking that Little Bobby is also watching the same Social Media “Influencer” and he has decided that’s the kind of woman he wants to marry.
Then when Little Becky and Little Bobby grow up and have no interest in the gospel, these same parents wonder what they did wrong. They wonder how they could have been a better influence to their children. They wonder why their kids are growing up and leaving the church.
Parents – it is time for us ALL to WAKE UP!!!
If you decide to allow your children to have access to the World Wide Web, monitor it like you are the FBI watching a criminal. Have their accounts logged in on your phone. Check their messages. Read them before they can. I guarantee they will think twice before sending or allowing their friends to send something inappropriate if they know mom or dad may see it.
This is not about trust. It is about their very souls. You are there to teach and guide your children and not to be their friend. Read that again.
You too, must be the example! Remember, your children (and others) are watching! Don’t ever post or like anything inappropriate. Don’t like things or share things with curse words, nudity or anything a Christian shouldn’t. Look before liking or posting! Teach them how they should act by your actions.
Remember, your goal should not be for them to be the most popular kid at school, or even the best in sports or whatever activity they are involved in. Your goal is for them to have a home in Heaven! At least, it better be. For your own sake and for theirs.
So, what things should you be teaching them?
Throughout the scripture, God used all types of people to accomplish His will. From the young to the old. Study these accounts with them. Help them to understand what God wants for them and from them.
1 Timothy 4:12: “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
Teach them that God can and will use them even at a young age. But they must let Him. Show them what it means and how they are to be an example to others.
Josiah was only 8 years old when he became king! He was 16 when he sought after the Lord. God used Josiah at an incredibly young age to bring about His will.
2 Kings 23:25 best describes Josiah, “And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.”
That’s beautiful isn’t it? Can this be said of you, me, our children? He turned to the Lord with all his heart. Wow. What an amazing description. The most important question that should run through our minds when it comes to our children is how we can get them to turn to the Lord with all their hearts. Isn’t it?
Parents listen up! We need to understand, we aren’t raising Kings and Queens these days. We are raising kids who are being pulled in every direction. They are hearing one thing at Bible class and another at school. Their friends are doing their best to influence them.
Social Media and popularity draw a lot of our youth in. They are watching these people who share their lives and learning from them. They may even want to be them because these people online may be beautiful and popular, and they seem to have it all.
I am here to tell you that America’s youth are facing things we don’t even know about. Our young people are often sad and lonely. They’re at home alone, (for the most part). Don’t get me wrong, we as adults are there, but our children are a lot of the time off somewhere alone, in their bedroom, being raised by their music, television, video games, by the telephone, computers, by Social Media and by the rich and famous, “Influencers” who are on Social Media.
Parents, if you have a child that is glued, addicted to their cell phone and Social Media, you have reason to worry. And you better take action before it is too late.
Again, our young people are tormented by loneliness, saturated by sex, bombarded by profanity. Some are fascinated with the dark side of the supernatural and are susceptible to suicide. Our youth are being bullied, excluded, hated on, made fun of and there is an all-out war for acceptance and a sense of belonging, and Satan is there offering solace and comfort in social media and the World Wide Web.
We must not and cannot abandon them or leave them to their own devices. Because if we do, you make no mistake about it, Satan is there, waiting. Waiting for them to decide to follow the world and push God out of their lives.
Satan does not want our children to grow up and obey the gospel, he doesn’t want them to learn how to be a faithful Christian, and as such, he’s plotting against you and against them, every moment of every day!
I hope that you understand that one of the ways he does this is through the digital world, through the internet, through social media. Cyber-space is his playground.
Remember, our children (and others) are watching us! We must show our children what it means to be in the world but not of the world. We must show them and teach them the light of God’s word. Our children are precious, their souls are precious, and we must protect them at all cost! We as parents, must give them and others a reason not to buy into the “norm”. We are to teach our youth to act appropriately, at home, in public at school and online, especially online.
Why do I say especially online? Because at home, at school and in public our kids know better! People are going to see you! But online, it’s easy to “type, post or like” because so many think that they are anonymous.
Sadly, it’s easier for some to be hurtful and mean, even downright evil when they are behind a computer screen or tapping away at the keys on a phone.
Are we teaching our youth to watch and think about the things they are engaging in on social media?
Do we teach them to use words of encouragement, words of comfort, words that build up, words that profit, that are proper and pure?
Look at Eph. 4:29-32 – “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:” Have we taught our children to lay these things to heart?
Do we teach our youth that these verses apply to us even when we are online? That we are communicating when we are on Social Media? That someone is always watching? Do we even understand that ourselves?
I would implore you to get on TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, Kik, Telegram, Tumblr, ASKfm, and Twitter and look at the majority of what is being said and posted.
Satan is always working, always manipulating, and lying. And sadly, it seems that he has the hearts of many of the young people. And the old are not immune, the older ones are just as guilty.
Sadly, many of the older folks are not setting or being the example. Which begs the question, how’s your example? How can you hold your children accountable if you take part in the same things? Good question, huh?
The internet can be a tool for good or for evil. Information and influence can travel across the globe in a nano-second. How are you teaching your kids to use it?
Ephesians 5:1-8 – “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the LORD: walk as children of light:”
The scriptures are clear, there are times and occasions when our speech condemns us and when it will keep us out of heaven! Keep in mind, this verse doesn’t say…. “except when you are online.” We are held to the same standard in all aspects of our life. Even online!
Parents, if you haven’t had an open, honest, candid conversation with your kids about this, there is no better time than the present, the time to do it is now! Have the conversation, set some ground rules and remember to put on your Federal Agent Uniform when it comes to following up on your expectations!
Maybe you aren’t a Christian yourself. Maybe you aren’t quite sure what it is that you need to do to ensure you have the tools to help your children get to Heaven. The first step: pick up your Bible and study. Study and study some more. Familiarize yourself with the plan of redemption, (salvation) for mankind. God gave one plan for all men to obey! God loves you! Be obedient to Him, learn and obey the plan.
Please, don’t wait until it’s too late. Put Christ on in Baptism. Put God first. Do this and you’ll find it’s much easier to be an example. Then, teach your children the gospel, teach them the most important thing in life is how to get to Heaven.
How does one become a Christian?
1. Hear the Gospel. (Romans 10:17, John 8:32)
2. Believe the Gospel (Hebrews 11:6, John 20:31)
3. Repent of past sins (Luke 13:3, Acts 17:30)
4. Confess faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 10:10, Matthew 10:32)
5. Be Baptized (Galatians 3:27, Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38)
6. Be faithful unto death (Revelation 2:10)
As always, I am happy to study with anyone, day, or night. My husband Mark is also happy to study with anyone, day, or night.
In Christian Love, Leah Brewer