The world is a very different place than it was just a couple of decades ago. Technology and the Internet influence society now at levels none of us could have imagined back then. Our children and grandchildren are proficient with this technology, and many seem to rely on it as much as the air they breathe.
There was a time when communicating was done with a phone or by writing a letter, but today you can instantly communicate with a text or instant message via the computer in your pocket. It's not just kids—many adults have also become accustomed to this luxury. Technology is so important to young people that many parents now use access to it as a reward or punishment.
The benefits of all this interconnected technology are clear: access to vast educational resources at the touch of a screen. But on the flip side, it's also full of graphic content not suitable for adult eyes, let alone a child's eyes. God told the prophet Daniel that in the days right before Christ returns, knowledge will increase (Daniel 12:4). But as we can see, not all knowledge and information is good.
Trying to limit and control access to all the bad can prove nearly impossible. Kids are usually far more tech-savvy than their parents. I have talked to several who admitted that their parents had no idea what they were looking at online. They said there is always a way around whatever blocks a parent may install. The parents, however, are usually oblivious and quite sure they have it all handled.
As more people redefine their morality apart from God and the Bible, we must be ever more intentional in instructing our children how to perceive and navigate the world. Proverbs 22:6 tells us to “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” That includes diligently teaching them how to process, understand, plan for and deal with events that take place in the world. It means teaching them how to think critically about information that they read and confirming what's true and what isn't. It means teaching them the wisdom to analyze situations, and giving them the skills they need to avoid future problems.
It’s important to teach a child to seek the input of those who have more experience—people who can really help them. It doesn't come naturally to anyone, no matter what age; we resist relying on other’s wisdom. It is necessary for all of us to learn to be humble enough to listen to those in the know. The book of Proverbs is very useful for small teaching moments. (Proverbs 15:32, Proverbs 12:15). Using Scripture can really help us prepare our hearts for accepting good counsel (see also Proverbs 3:5-8; Proverbs 16:18, Proverbs 1:7, Proverbs 14:7).
Perhaps the best way to sum it all up is: Teach a child to pray for guidance and lean on God for understanding.