“Preparing a Plan,” Media Safety (2020)
“Preparing a Plan,” Media Safety
Allow your family to spiritually thrive with healthy technology use by preparing a media plan. Even if you are a family of one, preparing a plan is an important step. “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 109:8).
“Whatever the needs are for our individual families, let’s teach each family member to use technology wisely and positively from the start—to develop a moral mindset. Let’s educate children in constructive ways to use technology for good. We can teach them to evaluate by asking themselves, ‘Will using this serve a good purpose?’ Our choices in how we teach our families now will influence future generations” (Joy D. Jones, “It Starts with Us” [address given at the Utah Coalition against Pornography conference, Mar. 10, 2018], newsroom.ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
While expressed boundaries are important, Elder Bednar offers the following council: “Be careful to not regiment excessively the use of technology or proliferate endless rules and restrictions. Desired attitudes and righteous behavior cannot flourish in the soil of constantly constraining control and coercion. Your love, patience, teaching, and ministering will provide vital spiritual support as they press forward on the straight and narrow path” (“They Should Proclaim These Things unto the World” [address given at the seminar for new mission presidents, June 24, 2016], ChurchofJesusChrist.org). Elder Bednar goes on to suggest the following principles to consider:
Teaching children to “righteously exercise moral agency and become agents who act in accordance with the doctrine of Christ rather than objects that are merely acted upon.”
Helping children “learn that the only filter that successfully can overcome and avoid evil resides in the heart and mind of a faithful disciple of Christ. Only the companionship of the Holy Ghost can fortify sufficiently against ‘the fiery darts of the wicked’ [Ephesians 6:16].”
Helping children “discover by inspiration the many ways these tools can be used to move forward the work of salvation.”
The idea of creating a plan can feel overwhelming. Don’t put all that pressure on yourself. Work on this plan together with those you love. Here are some questions to discuss:
When is using technology OK, and for how long?
What is acceptable and what isn’t?
What level of monitoring will there be?
What are the consequences when rules are intentionally broken?
What is our turn-away plan when we accidentally encounter bad media?
How will we record our plan?
Be in tune with spiritual promptings. Filters can help protect your family from inappropriate content, but they aren’t effective all the time. The best filter is an individual’s own agency and desire to make righteous choices, aided by the gift of the Holy Ghost.