Good Versus Bad Vulnerability

Our recent encounter with vandalism where we had eight of our tires slashed led me to an article I recently posted on my Facebook fan page titled, “Three Ways to Protect Against Vandalism”.   The first step of  “identifying weaknesses” resonated not only with the feelings of susceptibility from being vandalized, but also with a nagging feeling of vulnerability I was having  with our new middle schooler and all of his electronic equipments–the Nook, the ipod, the computer, and Dad’s tablet. For several months I’ve been feeling  ill-at-ease with the influence of the Internet and the culture on our kids.

Vulnerability is a good thing when it’s a part of loving, intimate relationships.  But it’s bad in the context of letting unbridled evil into your home and family life.

That discomfort attracted me to read an article in the National Catholic Register about Covenant Eyes, a software company helping  parents monitor their kids’ use of the Internet.  It was no coincidence that I was able to connect with Ryan Foley at the Covenant Eyes booth during  the Mid-west Catholic Family Conference.  He explained that Covenant Eyes was developed by a busy widowed executive dad who wanted some way to monitor his kids’ activities.

Now the company has grown to help other families by rating web sites based on content and providing a daily report to the accountability partner.  Evidence of visiting inappropriate sites can fuel healthy discussions on good boundaries between parents and kids–and even spouses.  All personal devices with Internet access can be registered.

I sighed with relief as I was listening to Mr. Foley. I have always had the approach that I want to teach our kids how to interact with the culture in healthy ways rather than become “Cavemen Catholics”.  Giving them supervised practice using the Internet and engaging the culture while they were still under our roof and under our control was our way to prepare them when they left the home and theoretically were free to do whatever they want.  However, I was feeling a bit too loosey goosey with the proliferation of these gadgets.  Our son was still fairly innocent and not too interested in being cool, etc., but the days where his curiosity and interest would increase were not too far away.  Falling into the trap of pornography, one of the vices of the Internet,  is not the nemesis of seedy men; good Catholic men and young boys get taken down regularly with its lure, and with them, the family and society.

And it all could be prevented before it even starts with an honest identification of weaknesses and a good plan to eliminate them.

Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip:  Ask yourself how protected your family is from negative influences of the culture and media; if, necessary, take steps to shore up the vulnerabilities.