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Parenting: Technology, Electronic Media and Me

21 July 2016 – 10:17 am |

 
What comes to mind when we think of today’s technology and electronic media?
Generally, here are the top 5 things that came to MY mind:
Smart phones. Computer. Gadgets. Online games. Internet.
While technology and electronic media …

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Parenting: Technology, Electronic Media and Me

21 July 2016 | Posted in: Inspirational, Parenting | No Comment

brie_thinking_media
 

What comes to mind when we think of today’s technology and electronic media?

Generally, here are the top 5 things that came to MY mind:
Smart phones. Computer. Gadgets. Online games. Internet.

While technology and electronic media can be useful and helpful, the reality is, we see an increase in its negative impacts, especially in our children’s lives.

Regardless of the family’s beliefs and values, soooo many children today spend many hours a day staring at flat screens.

Some boys play online games like Grand Theft Auto (GTA) and go about stealing cars, killing police officers, committing crime and adultery, etc.

And girls, well … girls as young as 8yo play games where they create online boyfriends, then flirt, kiss, dress up and go out on dates with them.

The challenges parents face are real and toughAnd, we see children as young as 4 years old browsing YouTube videos freely. On their own.

We see more and more children nagging their parents for more time on electronic devices.

It’s a mad, mad world we live in today, and the challenges parents face are real and tough.

Now, I don’t know if you’re a person of faith.

I am. I choose to place my faith in Christ. But anyway, REGARDLESS of our personal belief, here’s one question I feel we should ask ourselves: are we as parents today aware of the potential danger of it all and are we willing to do something to control our children’s exposure to technology and electronic media?
 

 
Let’s think about this together and reflect on our own family values as we ponder on these three thoughts.

1. Awareness of the Potential Danger
 
While it is true that children can learn and gain knowledge from today’s technology, many parents unfortunately fail to see the serious danger that their children are exposed to, IF they are not guided and supervised.

Most of the time, young kids don’t search for bad websites, bad websites find them!Without realising the potential danger, many parents allow their children to:
 
– Own a mobile phone, gadget, electronic devices since young.
Some children, as young as 3 years old, are given their ‘own’ tablets, to keep them ‘entertained’ at the dinner table and when out and about with the family. Communication and interaction between family members and friends are greatly reduced as the result.
 
– Surf the internet freely without much guidance.
Some naive parents say, ‘Our kids are good kids. They only watch cartoons and play children games. They sure won’t go into bad websites, right?’ Most of the time, young kids don’t search for bad websites. Bad websites find them when our children key in even the safest keywords on the internet!
 
Many parents also feel they are too busy to be involved in their children’s world and interests– Download games without permission nor supervision.
Other than trusting the internet too much (and not keeping themselves updated on the development of technology), many parents also feel they are too busy to be involved in their children’s world and interests.
 
– Use electronic devices to play games for many hours each day.
They are believed to be great babysitters in keeping the children entertained and quiet.
 

 
brie_danger_media
 

Children are so easily influenced by what the world has to offer.

(Us included too, actually)

They are exposed to all sorts of philosophies and worldviews.

If we are Christian parents and we fail to see the potential danger of technology and electronic media, we most likely would wonder why our children turn twenty or twenty-five and say, “I’m not interested in Christian things anymore.”

Why are our children not interested?

Most likely it’s because they are responding to the appetite that WE have encouraged.

If they are allowed to consume ‘worldly food’ regularly (and often on a high daily dose), that is what shapes them, and that is what they will prefer to continually consume.

(It’s made worse if they do not have a loving home, nor a close relationship with their parents)
 

 
In the past, we could guard our house so much easier than we could today.

Today, the enemy can come through our walls invisibly, through the wireless!

Temptations that drive our children away from godly thoughts and godly living can come through their mobile phones and electronic devices. In the comfort of their home, children may be exposed to vulgarity, obscenity, violence, pedophiles or even criminals.

Parents, the danger is real, inside and outside our home.
 

 
> Our children should not be ‘isolated’ from the world
 
Some parents believe that that in order to protect their children from the negative impacts of today’s technology and electronic media, they need to remove access altogether.

No smart phones. No internet access. No gadgets.

We live in this world, and we WILL be exposed to the good and bad whether we like it or not
But is this how we should do it?

Is this what the Bible wants us to do as Christian parents? To put our children in a closet and raise them without any consciousness of what’s going on in the world?

We live in this world, and we WILL be exposed to the good and bad whether we like it or not.

Romans 12:2 says:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

I feel the word we should highlight, is the word ‘discern’.
 

 
Real freedom involves a choice and self-controlSomeone once said, ‘In Singapore, chewing gum is banned. The people in Singapore are free from the temptation of chewing gum because the whole country has banned the sale of it. But that’s not real freedom, is it? They do not chew any gum because they are NOT allowed to, not because they choose not to. Real freedom involves a choice and self-control.’

As Christian parents, we are called NOT to remove our children from the world, but to consistently teach them how to ‘discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect’.

We are called to equip our children with the Truth, with God’s Word.

They need to see what the world is, as well as how and when its offers are against the will of God. They need to learn to discern what is good and bad in God’s eyes, learn to flee temptation and humbly come to the Lord to repent whenever they make wrong choices.

We need to teach (and live out the principles ourselves) that self-control in our lives should not just be an outward behavioural self-control, but also an inward surrendering to Christ, our Lord.
 

 
3. Controlling our children’s exposure to the Media
 

– The TV

 
What TV programmes or movies do our children watch?

Our TV really must NOT be on without us being aware of what’s being shown. There are children programmes that display hatred towards siblings and disrespect towards parents. Even cartoons that we think are harmless, they could promote messages that are so subtle that are against Christ and against the Bible.
 
Parents often forget that they are the ones who buy and fund the whole thing– Tablets and gadgets (eg. iPad, iPod, Music)
 
Parents often complain about their children’s difficult behavior and about the kinds of exposure their children are getting from the tablets and gadgets in their hands.

The problem with this is, these parents forget that they are the ones who buy and fund the whole thing!

Many parents allow games to be downloaded and played, including those that are not age-appropriate, and those that promote violence and vanity. Some others, they allow their children to freely download whatever games and apps without checking what they are about.

Also, many are simply not aware of the kinds of music their children are listening too (ie. Are the songs filled with vulgarities, immoralities, etc?)
 
Many parents allow their children to freely browse the internet and YouTube videos, all on their own!– The internet and YouTube
 
It is shocking to see how many parents, including Christian parents, allow their children to freely browse the internet and YouTube videos, all on their own!

When children browse the internet freely, they can – at ANYTIME – be exposed to texts and images that are totally NOT age-appropriate. For example, links to trashy websites and obscene images may appear on their screen, even though they have used ‘clean and seemingly safe’ keywords on Google and YouTube.

And once ‘rubbish’ is absorbed through what they see, hear and read, it is unfortunately impossible to ‘erase’.
 

 
Phew. There you go.

I just shared what I personally believe parents today should do and be aware of.

(And what ‘I’ personally should learn to do and watch out for as a Christian parent)

Frankly, I feel it’s tough being a parent today.

The challenges are many and real, and the enemy is right in our homes too!
 

 
Fellow parents wherever you are,
may I humbly ask that we all reflect upon the values that we teach our children and the habits that we have allowed to develop all this time?

Let’s set our family standards since the children are very young so they don’t think that their parents are just being mean and ‘unfair’ when we have to say ‘No’ to what they want.

(Having a 12yo in the house, I totally see the importance of being consistent, loving as well as the need to ‘build relationships and set family standards’ since day one!)
 

 
Be a blessing and a living example to themFinally. This is what I tell myself again and again:

Our children need our guidance, our presence and our time.

We need to bond and connect with them since day one.

We need to pray for them.

And if you share the same faith as me, we need to live out our Christian faith too, be a blessing and a living example to them.

It’s (very) hard to do, given our daily busyness and our own ‘weaknesses’ and faults.

But as they say, it’s so hard to do, but it’s not impossible.

May God give us the wisdom and perseverance we need every day, and may God’s grace and mercy be upon us and all our children.

Amen.

Checking Out: Pine Forest, Gunung Pancar, Sentul

11 July 2016 | Posted in: Mobile Blogging, Places to Visit | No Comment



 

This is one of the wonderful things about living in Jakarta: within just 40km, we can enjoy the great outdoors.

Lots of green.

Yesterday, we drove towards Sentul City and we checked out this pine forest at Mount Panjar (Hutan Pinus at Gunung Panjar)

 


 

Entrance fee to the forest cost Rp7,500 per adult and Rp15,000 per car.

(We only paid for adults in the car)
 

hutan pinus sentul
 

We went with a group of friends and their kids, so we borrowed two rattan mats (upon arriving in the area, small boys would immediately approach and ask if you’d like to borrow their mats)

The crowd wasn’t too big, to my surprise (because it’s still within the ‘Hari Raya’ weekend holiday)

It was breezy. The kids played with bubbles and climbed on rocks. It was good.
 



 

Tips and Info:
 
– Coconut is sold @ Rp15,000

– A bowl of instant noodle with poached egg is Rp10,000

– If you’re there at around 3pm, I’d suggest that you go for a walk in the pine forest first and explore the greenery BEFORE borrowing the mats and relaxing around (This way, you could still explore the area before it gets dark)

 



 

I don’t know about you, but I love the tall pine trees. Such a nice background for photo-taking! =)

(Btw, don’t forget to squat and take photos from a lower angle, to capture the tall trees in the background =)

 
hutan pinus gunung pancar
 

Now. To end the post, I feel I need to air my concern about the place:

I strongly feel, the locals (especially the sellers of food and drinks) MUST be taught about the importance of looking after nature and throwing their rubbish properly.

The area is beautiful and so is the view.

BUT.

When we’re there, I watched in disbelief as the coconut seller casually threw our coconutsWhen we’re there, I watched in disbelief as the coconut seller casually threw our coconuts (and the rubbish we neatly placed inside the coconuts) down the hill nearby.

I looked around and spotted some ‘medium-sized’ rubbish bins around. BUT, they’re all full already!
 

hutan pinus gunung pancar1

 
I really hope the local government and officers will do something to make things better.

Here are some ideas I’d like to suggest:

 
– Provide bigger and MORE rubbish bins around the area

– Enforce stricter rules and punishments to sellers and visitors who litter and purposely damage the environment. Brief the sellers on the rules and the consequences for ignoring the rules.

– Engage ‘park officers’ to roam around on busier days and help monitor the area

After all, it IS a ‘local attraction’ and a ‘protected area’, yes?

I hope the local authorities get to read this and improve their work.

For the sake of our environment and beautiful nature.



How to get there:

 
– Drive as if you’re going to ‘Jungleland’, Sentul.

– When you’ve come to a T-Junction, turn right (and you’ll most like see huge writings, orange coloured, on the right wall of the street which say ‘KARANG TENGAH’). You’re on the right track.

– Go straight ahead, and you’re there! =)

Checking Out: Highland Park Resort Bogor

30 June 2016 | Posted in: Places to Visit | 2 Comments

img_8846.jpg
 

Since it’s still the school holiday for the kids, we decided to bring them out to Bogor, some 1.5 – 2 hours drive from Jakarta.

And, we checked out Highland Park Bogor!

Fresh view of Mount Salak! Love it!

 
Highland park bogor

 
Highland Park Bogor has a few types of ‘unique rooms’:

– Camp Apache
– Camp Standard
– Camp Superior
– Camp Deluxe
– Tree House

 

 

And it also has ‘Barracks’ for larger groups who wish to stay under one tent =)

We stayed in the Tree House (very close to the children playground, swimming pool and slides!), and hey hey, we had like, more than 5 deer roaming around freely right below us!

Brie was like, ‘Mommy! Look! Bambi!’ =)

Note:
The room comes with towels, toothbrushes, comb, shampoo, shower gel, hair dryer, kettle, tea and coffee. Convenient.

 
Highland park bogor

Highland park bogor

Highland park birhday
Highland park bogor water

 

Our older kids thoroughly enjoyed the pool and the slides.

And for the younger ones, there are actually two playgrounds separately located near the pool.

 



 
The resort is surprisingly very family friendly, and it has quite a few facilities for kids (Needed to stay longer than 2 days and 1 night to check out ALL of them!)

 


 
One of the interesting ones we checked out was the resort’s horses.

When we got up in the morning, we did some morning walk and we checked out the resort’s Apache Camp side. We walked past its nurseries and we stopped by the stable. The caretaker was feeding the horses at the time!

 


 
And, not too long after we had our breakfast, we did some horseback riding (the horse’s name was ‘Olin’=)

It was nice, and it made me want to know more about horse-riding =)

 


 

Anyway.

Would I recommend this place?

Yes, I would.

I love the big blue sky and the mountain view.

The fresh breeze, the quiet surrounding, and the different family friendly activities made our getaway wonderfully fun! =)

I did a video of our stay, btw.

Click to watch! Enjoy! =)

 

One Special Day: Thoughts on Turning 40

28 June 2016 | Posted in: Daily, Inspirational, Marriage & Relationships | 6 Comments

leonny_birthday_40
 

So THE day has arrived.

I am now officially, 40.

If you’re well over 40, you’d probably roll your eyes and say, ‘Bleh. You’re STILL 40! You’re young!’

(My 91yo grandma said I’m soooo very young! Hehe)

If you’re under 30, you’d probably think, ‘Hmm, can’t yet imagine how it’s like to be 40. Still a LONG way to go.’

=)

All this time, for some reason, I see being 40 as ‘old’.

BUT, now that I myself AM 40, … it’s funny how I don’t FEEL old.

I feel … ‘normal’.

Like, nothing much have changed on the inside.

 

birthday family

 

Ah anyway.

I’ve been thinking about a few things as I approached the big four zero.

Here are some of my personal thoughts.

>>> I have now decided that being 40 is NOT ‘old’.

Not to me anyway =)

A lot of it has to do with your ‘mindset’
I mean, some people already feel they’re so old when they’re 30, and they choose to stop being active.

And some others, they feel ‘young’ even when they’re in their 60s and 70s. They choose to stay active and continually learn, explore and share with others.

So I thought, a lot of it has to do with your ‘mindset’.

Age is just a number, they say.

As much as it sounds like a cliché, I do agree with it.

How we face our life and its ups and downs very much is influenced by our mindset.
 

>>> I feel there’s still so much to do in life.

There’s still so much to do in lifeIf God lets me live till I’m 65, then I have 25 years.

If God lets me live till I’m 55, then I have 15 years left.

If God lets me live till I’m 45?

No one can know when it’s time for us to leave. It’s all in God’s hands and big plans. But, here’s one thing I’m sure we all agree on, our bodies WILL gradually get less and less strong and able over the years.

So ‘while I still can’, I must squeeze my time and make use of my days carefully and wisely.
 

>>> I must never let myself feel ‘old’ and lazy

Reminder to self: I must regularly exercise and keep fit =)


 

birthday card_40
[Appreciating little gestures and notes from the kids]

 
Here’s more about the day.

I had sweet surprises on my birthday which I’d love to record and remember for many years to come =)

First, hubby apparently ordered roses to be delivered to our home in the morning!

Aiyooohh, I was sooo touched I cried. Lost count of how many times I hugged him (while the kids watched everything =)

He’s not a romantic guy, and I don’t expect him to be. So for him to actually plan for flowers on my birthday, … I thought it was wonderfully sweet of him! =)

 

roses_birthday

I also had lunch with some extended family members, and apparently a birthday cake was prepared! The get-together itself was already nice, and I didn’t expect the cake at all! It was such a sweet gesture.

As if it’s not enough, friends with whom I ministered together that day, gave me a surprise : a birthday cake AND a bouquet of flowers.

It was just so nice of them!
 

birthday_sfac
 

Seriously, I’ve never had THAT many flowers on any particular day.

I mean, all in all I had MORE flowers on my 40th birthday than my wedding day bouquet! =)

It was as if God wants me to see how I should learn and let my life bloom and be a sweet fragrance to all around, regardless of my age.

Food for thought?

ANYWAY.

I’m so thankful to God for my husband and kids, big family, friends online and offline, for good health, for the opportunities to be involved in ministries and everything else that HE has entrusted to me all these years.

Regardless of our age, our paths ahead will have roses AND thorns, ups and downs. It’s part of our learning journey.

I just hope and pray that whatever happens I’d always trust God as my Strength and Source of wisdom, patience and joy, and that HE will hold my hands whenever I need to sail through storms.

May God help me, and us all.

Book : First-time Mom

2 May 2008 | Posted in: Marriage & Relationships, Parenting, Video | One Comment
first-time-mom-book

Here’s one parenting book I’d like to recommend today.
First-time Mom, by Dr. Kevin Leman.
Getting off on the right foot – from birth to first grade
After a friend of mine shared how insightful the book …

Dads and Work, and The Absence from Home?

8 June 2012 | Posted in: Parenting | 10 Comments
dad kids beach lombok

When kids get difficult and display troubling behaviour, many families resort to seeking professional help these days.
In many of those cases however, the children actually don’t need to see a psychologist; what they need to …

Happy Father’s Day

19 June 2011 | Posted in: Marriage & Relationships, Parenting | No Comment

If you ask me,
I’d say there’s no such thing as a perfect Dad or a perfect Husband.
But there is a Dad
who gives his best for his family
who makes time to play Lego bricks, tell bedtime stories …

Marriage : before and after

17 March 2008 | Posted in: Marriage & Relationships | No Comment

Someone once said that once you’ve decided the person with whom you’ll spend the rest of your life with, basically there’s ‘no turning back’.
If we’ve made a ‘bad decision’, then we (unfortunately) will live with …

Marriage : Real Love Works!

1 March 2011 | Posted in: Advertorial, Marriage & Relationships | 8 Comments

Yep, that’s US close to TEN years ago!
It was when we were at the Registry of Marriage in 2001. I was twenty five, and Wilson was twenty six =)
It’s a little hard to believe at …

Marriage : staying together, staying happy

4 September 2008 | Posted in: Marriage & Relationships | 6 Comments
leo_grandma2001

My grandmother got married in mainland China when she was sixteen years old. No it wasn’t pre-arranged by their parents, and yes it was based on love.
That was in 1941.
Then 60 years later, in 2001, …