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“Train a child in the way he
should go, and when he is
old he will not turn from it.”
Proverbs 22:6

CHILDREN AND GADGETS
Cecilia Kabanda May 2018, Issue 73
Our world today is awash with electronic gadgets which are readily accessible even to using symbols like “*@#” to cover up obscene words. The thing about this whole gadget
children. How much access to these gadgets should parents allow their children to and informal electronic communication is that people are not taking responsibility for their
communication. They write all manner of things full of obscenities but then they are either
have? In this Key Ring, Cecilia shares her thoughts.
writing them in short form or in slang. And everything is taken casually. A few times I have
1. Which electronic gadgets do your children like the most? had to ask my children, “Can you repeat this conversation in front of daddy and mummy?”
I think they all like the phone. The youngest, who is 6 years old, loves gadgets because he Of course they find it surprising that I’d even consider asking such a question but that is
can record other people and himself singing all the “made-up” songs. The eldest, who is 16 what it really means—before you send out a message, first think about it. Is it something I
years old, seems not to be so much into gadgets because she likes books and reading; want to say in public? One time I asked them if I could stand at the pulpit and read some of
although in terms of gadgets she prefers the television. The 15 year old loves the whole those messages out loud, just to give them a measure of how gross some of these messages
social media package. In fact, the last time I visited her at school she installed Instagram on can be. If you are not willing to have something repeated in the presence of other people
my phone and started chatting with her friends. In a space of a few minutes I can find lots of then you should have no business sending it.
selfies and that she has checked out all kinds of applications on the phone. With things like the laptop, I had a challenge once. I had left the laptop home with one of
2. As a parent, how do you protect your children from indecent exposure on those my daughters because she needed to do homework and then a friend sent a message
gadgets? asking her to check out a certain website. For some unknown reason I had also left the
At first I used to give them ‘kabiriti’ and they were only sending text messages and receiving modem at home that day. When I got back and checked the browsing history, I noticed that
phone calls but I realized that the issue is not the gadget, the user also has to be challenged she had tried to access a link with nude pictures or video of one of the Kardashians. She
to think twice about what they are doing. It is a struggle but I have to constantly remind didn’t own up immediately until I told them that I had proof. She told me that one of her
them that when you stand for Christ, every- friends had told her to check the link since they knew she liked the Kardashians and it was
thing has to be for the glory of God. From the something that had just come out. But I


time you wake up to the time you go back to asked her, “Must you open the link? The
moment you see the word nude in the link, is
sleep. That is the standard set for us and I
have to uphold it. But what I am also trying to Set the rule of restricting usage that something you want to expose yourself
to?” Then we had to sit and talk about how
build is that whole aspect of integrity that
because somebody is not seeing or not the mind works and all those things.
hearing then I can go ahead and do whatever It is a challenge I should say but many times,
I feel like. Right now they have a phone they share but even then, sometimes we ban them especially with the older ones, we use a lot of scriptural reinforcement such as Philippians
from the phone. This whole gadget thing has in a way given us many teachable 4:8. In a way, gadgets especially the phones are necessary evils when you need to
moments to reinforce the truth of the gospel and what the Word of God says. But some- communicate or leave instructions at home. As parents we want them to realize that
times you just want to close everybody in a box and protect them from it all. though mummy or daddy may not see, their Creator, God sees and knows all they do in
I used to intentionally lend them my phone just to see what their friends were sending. The private. We give them that sense of responsibility that they do not have to fear us, in as
problem was not so much about what my daughter was sending but the friends were much as we are the parents but the ultimate person they should be mindful of is God. How
sending things that would be probably in cartoon form but with somewhat mature content, can I say I belong to Christ and yet play around with something that is so anti-Christ? I
including some of the jokes. Sometimes I would ask my daughters “when you look at this would like them to develop that sense of personal responsibility, make choices with their
joke, what does it say to you? Does it glorify God?” I also look at some of the conversations sober minds and out of reverence for God.
they have with their friends and ask them “what business do you have writing such words?” 3. What would you say is the appropriate age for a child to own an electronic gadget?
and she’s like, “No, mummy it is just an expression.” I have had incidences where I asked That is a tough one to decide because I was even against giving my children the smart
for the phone and somebody was struggling to delete some of the content before giving it phone they have right now, but one time Precious was going on a school trip and she
to me. I told her that if I cannot have it the moment I ask for it that means it is being needed a phone to communicate and also needed to take pictures. So, the easiest thing was
misused and there are things you do not want me to see. In that case, they are grounded— to buy a phone with a camera instead of buying both a digital camera and a phone. For the
no phone usage for a while. I am also concerned about the way they write short messages younger children, I find gadgets useful maybe if we are on a long journey and they are tired
of reading a book then they can probably play a game to keep them occupied. The
appropriate age for me I think would be about 17 years upwards because then somebody is
responsible enough to own a gadget and I believe their social skills have also been
developed by then. However, as a parent, I would still set the rule of restricting usage or
withdrawing the gadget once I feel it is being misused.
4. Do you think it is right for a parent to buy their child an e-Bible as opposed to the
traditional hard copy Bible?
I think children should first get used to carrying their Bibles to church. I know at church
there are people who claim they are reading the Bible off their phones but they are actually
doing Whatsapp or Facebook. So, let children be given hard copy Bibles.

Cecilia Kabanda is married to Peter Kabanda and together they have three
children: Precious, Sanyu and Joshua.
Cecilia is a creative person who enjoys working with children and young people.
She also enjoys singing, reading books, poetry, writing and thrives on other
people’s company.

The KEY RING is a monthly publication by the Kampala Baptist Church Media Team
that seeks to provide an avenue where men and women can share knowledge and
understanding of the word of God, experiences and encourage one another as the
older perform the act of ‘paralambano’ to the younger.
Cecilia’s husband, Peter, and their children Our prayer is that the Lord will speak to you through this publication.

Drop us an email at kbcmediateam@gmail.com | Visit the church website at www.kbcuganda.org