You can’t impose your rules on another family or your child’s friends. But you can certainly have helpful conversations to keep pornography, bullying, and inappropriate images and comments from harming your child. Here are a few guidelines you can use when making decisions about screen times and friends:
- Differentiate the big things from the small things. Ask yourself, “Will this matter a week from now?” If your child is viewing porn at someone’s house, the answer will be yes. But, if he’s occasionally playing thirty minutes of non-violent video games, the answer’s probably no.
- Get to know your child’s friends. Take the time to befriend the parents of your children’s friends. You need to be able to ask, “What types of television shows and video games do you allow in your home? Do you know what the girls are watching?” Don’t think it’s rude to ask; it’s your responsibility, as a parent, to create safe boundaries for your child. Even when she’s away from you.
- Make yourself the fall guy. You might fear appearing judgmental and superior if you ask too many questions. Just tell the other parent that you’re overprotective. It’s more gracious to criticize yourself (“Forgive me if I’m such a high-maintenance parent”) than to implicate the more lenient parent.
Teach your child to look away. Tell your children if a person shows them something they aren’t comfortable with to look away. You can choose where your eyes go. Turning away from lewd, inappropriate, mean, or sexual images will help your child mature as he learns to guard his heart from evil.