Years ago my parents would stay up late into the evening, wondering when I was going to get home. Arriving well after my curfew the customary lecture would ensue: “Don’t you know nothing good happens after midnight? I trust you, I don’t trust the people out there. You could have at least called to let us know you are ok.” Only now can I see that I put my parents through unnecessary grief and worry.
The greater danger for many Sydney families is no longer the streets. It is the virtual alleyways and communities that your children are exposed to on the devices under your very own roof. If only our Catholic parents were as concerned about where their sons and daughters are going online as they were about their nights out! Having worked in many schools over the last eight years, through various pastoral placements around Sydney, I have come to realise that nobody is exempt from this danger.
I’m not trying to be alarmist, nor am I encouraging you to become a helicopter parent. But the reality is that our children are drenched in dangerous ideologies detrimental to their upbringing, maturity and development as responsible young adults. If your child has an Instagram or TikTok account, chances are in the month of June they have been exposed to all of the trans ideologies, LGBT articles and videos from the land of the red, white and blue. With constant exposure to all of this, they will quickly become little activists that are in the best case neutral to faith and in the worst, hostile to it altogether.
Worse yet, your adolescent son is more than likely being told he can be a “sigma male”—a lone wolf preoccupied with hustling, womanising, violence and disrespect for teachers, parents and social norms. All this is an abuse of the great gift of his masculinity. “Sigma males” are portrayed as successful, but are in reality cold, antisocial and selfish. All traits contrary to our Christian faith.
Your adolescent daughter is more than likely being told she is a “boss babe” who doesn’t need anyone or anything to get by in this world. She is being told she can do everything a man can do, often by sacrificing the precious experiences and capacities only women can enjoy. She is told to use and abuse men, expecting them to pay for her lifestyle without the obligation to reciprocate in love. To be maternal, to care, nurture and love are all traits the internet is telling your daughter are poisonous.
Parents who see nothing wrong with this picture have some self-examination to do, because it’s parents who are the answer to all of this, and who have a duty to show their children a better way to life. Turn to Christ, pray for a conversion of heart, an openness to the love and tenderness that God offers, that this world so desperately needs. As parents, you have the ability to love like Jesus loves, to sacrifice the way Jesus sacrifices, to show mercy the way Jesus shows mercy.
If you can give this example to your children, and yes, moderate what they are exposed to under your own roof, you will singlehandedly be responsible for raising pure teens, responsible teens, healthy and balanced teens. Start early so the grip of the evil one doesn’t have them too far gone. More than anything, love them like Jesus. Parenting is not easy, cost of living is through the roof, but spending time with your children, playing with them, exercising with them, going out with them costs you nothing. It is good for your soul and will always remind your children that the examples they must follow are to be found in the real world, among people who love them, and not on a device.
To reclaim your family, let’s turn our kids away from being “sigmas” to the only Greek letters that matter: the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.