Russell Moore posted an insightful article about the potentially devastating impact that unsupervised and unfiltered text-messaging may be having on the souls of pre-teen and teenagers.  Moore writes:

A pre-teen or a teenager with unrestricted cell-phone usage (or Internet or television consumption) is being placed in a very, very difficult place of temptation. The company of that young man or woman is now away from the scrutiny of parents, and is now left only to his or her discretion or conscience.  Are there some young Christians who can handle such? Of course. Should you assume your child is one of them? Your Father is more careful of you than that.

Moore’s point is helpful. Cell phones themselves, and the easy-access world of text-messaging, aren’t inherently sinful modes of communication. They can, however, become a toxic host for an abundance of sinful habits. Text-messaging is a largely private, and often impersonal, mode of communication where anything goes. People gossip about one another, cheat on their tests and break-up from their boyfriends and girlfriends through the world of texting. Texting has also become a medium for the transmission of sexual messages and sexual images (called sexting). Texting emboldens people to say and do things they would not ordinarily say or do because the impersonal nature of it casts a shadow on the consequences of our actions. It creates a world of virtual relationships without the messiness of actually having to try to live in real community with another human being.

If we develop sinful behavioral patterns through the way we use media, and in this case, in particular through text-messaging, are we so naive as to believe that our sins transmitted through cell towers won’t find a way to cool our affections for Jesus? Furthermore, aren’t the questionable and sometimes blatantly sinful words and images we send through cyber-space ultimately indicative of a heart seething with wicked intentions?

Our conscience is not enough to guide us along the path of wisdom. Our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). A wise father will be quick to recognize this, not only about himself, but about his family as well. A wise father will be careful to provide oversight and instruction in all areas of family life – including the cell phone. For a more focused perspective on this I encourage you to read Moore’s article in its entirety.

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