Friday, 4 October 2013

Trying To Teach Chivalry, In An Internet Driven Age...

Lately, there have been a ton of blog postings, articles, and news reports on internet safety and the over use of electronics for our children. I know this has been a point of struggle in our home for years. The struggle for me has been that I'm not an "electronics" person. I don't watch TV, I listen to CD's or the radio, and I have no interest in playing computer or video games. Other then streaming my favorite radio station through my lap top, (with facebook sometimes running in the background!) my computer is only used for photos, household needs, recipes, and online shopping. This left me wondering, praying, and fretting over how to deal with internet safety and the accidental or curious google that could potentially bring something up that MENN weren't quite ready for.
Our only kid with a cell phone is Morgan, and it actually sits in the cell phone basket most days. He grabs it when we head to a city, so I can drop him off somewhere and we can stay in touch. He doesn't take it to school, nor does he text all day with friends. He just simply doesn't want to. Morgan also has a facebook account, which he sortof got bothered by, and so rarely uses it either.
Now here comes the strong opinion..... Brace yourself! I don't think kids should have free reign on the internet or their cell phones. I don't agree with it. To me it's the same reason we don't let them drive before 16. They shouldn't be left to shoulder that kind of responsibility alone. Old fashioned? Maybe. I see it more as setting them up to fail in a controlled environment, so it becomes a conversation starter, rather then a disaster.
I'm going to go off on a rabbit trail here for a minute to back up my opinion.

I have a love/hate relationship with this quote. You see, having the pressure to raise 4 of "that kind of man", in a culture that doesn't actually support our efforts, is terribly hard! I get mocked, called a helicopter Mom, told I'm over protective, and get all sorts of other names flung in my direction. Why? Because I am trying desperately hard to guard the hearts of my MENN, and raise them to be worthy of a girl with these traits! Everyone wants the "perfect guy" for their daughters, then criticises the Mother's of boys who are trying to solicit a little support here! Enter the "Given Breath" mom, Kim.

I want my boys to be adored by their Mother In laws, and respected by their Father In laws. I want them to treasure, protect, and love, the heart of their wives. How can I do this when they are being bombarded daily with the culture of "looking out for #1", or "if it feels good, do it!". I don't want my future daughter in laws to have the pressure of trying to live up to something that is false. I don't want my boys to be made fun of for their chivalry! I don't claim to know how to raise a daughter, but I do know a little about raising boys. You can't produce good results if they are left to raise themselves in an unsupervised world. End of rabbit trail!

For Morgan's 16th birthday, Jody and I decided to purchase him a MacBook Pro. We decided this because all his courses are online, and let's face it, this is the direction the world is going. Enter "helicopter" Mom! For a week, Morgan's computer was coming home from school everyday, and he had no internet because I wouldn't give him the wifi password. Yes, you heard me, the boys don't have the password. The only online access they have is when their is more then one boy at the computer, or Jody or I are home. We needed to fix this, because believe it or not, this still wasn't good enough for me. Mistakes could still be made. Enter our solution!

Morgan and I spent over an hour one afternoon setting it all up and getting all of our devices covered. We went with Accountability and Filter for the boys, with different filter settings for each. What this does, is allow them internet access on all their devices, but with an accountability report being sent to my email account. Also, there are different filter settings based on age, but you can add websites to their personal accounts. You know what I thought was the most interesting? Morgan looked at me with a big smile on his face and said;

"You know what Mom? I feel like I've taken another step into manhood! Thank you so much for doing this. It makes me feel so much more secure about everything."

I was a bit shocked at the relief in his response, but said;

"You know what Buddy? We all feel better with solid boundaries."

The younger 3's response?

"You mean, we can go on the internet now and not have to worry about mis-spelling something?"

Yes! That's exactly what it means! Now, before I get accused of the question...

"Well how is that letting them fail in a controlled environment when you're controlling the filter settings?

The filter settings aren't set as high as I could have, and I'm more going with the thought that I receive the accountability report, which is a conversation starter!

The excitement of MENN having the feeling of "With great power comes great responsibility!" in another area of their lives, was all I needed to feel like I had done the right thing. Isn't that what it's all about? Molding, teaching, praying, guiding, protecting, conversing, disciplining, and allowing room for them to figure it out. This to me, is how we can raise.... "That kind of man."


  1. Hi Ellerie! It's been a long time since the Inn Convenience Store days. My kids are a few years behind yours, but it was a treat to find "you" here, and read your thoughtful reflections. In other news, I am currently teaching your lovely (niece?) Jada PE 7 here in Courtenay. Small world!

    1. Hi! I'm actually unsure of who you are... :) There is no way to identify you on here, but I knew you from Sointula? I guess I will have to ask Jada!

    2. Oops, I assumed my name would show with the post. It's Toril :)