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Why My 15-Year-Old Son Still Has a Flip-Phone

Jonathan is the kind of kid that will surely be a trendsetter. He is cool in demeanor, calm in disposition, and pretty good looking. What can I say…he looks just like his old man. This is not the only characteristic that we share. We also have a similar sense of humor, love the Vegas Golden Knights, share a passion for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and are red-blooded American men.

Taken on one of our recent ManDates

When I was his age it was pretty difficult to get your hands on a pornographic magazine. The local comic book store might have an adult section you could sneak into while the owner wasn’t looking. Or the local 7-11 might have a copy of Maxim or Playboy open and sitting on a rack for easy access. These damaging exposures to porn were few and far between, and the content was mild in comparison to the sewage being pumped through the internet today.

The Bible says in Proverbs 22:3, “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.”

It is almost trite to say that a child has more access to pornography on his tablet than an adult man had in his entire town 30 years ago. This is true for children. This is true for adults. On several occasions I have been accosted by blatant pornography, even in the relative safety of social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

This is why my 15-year-old son still has a flip-phone.

Jonathan with his crazy mom

So, am I choosing to shelter my child? Yes! Am I being overprotective? I don’t think I am. Between the ages of 12-18 I am spending a strategic amount of time with this son I’ve been given – specifically to prepare him for the battle he will face as an adult. Just as I wouldn’t send a 15-year-old boy into a physical battlefield without proper training, so I would not think it wise to send a boy into a sexual battlefield without specific training. This type of training takes time.

A friend of mine who has been blessed with a family of girls recently ribbed me, “You are the cheapest dad I’ve ever known. A flip-phone! What’s your problem Josh? Why can’t you connect your son to the 21st Century?” I can take the ribbing. A friend of Jonathan recently joked, “1996 called, they want their technology back!” He’ll learn to take a joke.

On Mission in Vanuatu with Pastor Gabby

And when he is a bit older – after I’ve had time to train him – after I’ve had time to prep him – after he’s had time to develop a deeper relationship with God – he will then face the temptation along with the rest of mankind. The battle we all face every day.

Until then, who knows? He might actually be so cool that he sets a trend for the rest of us. Guys like Jonathan are true trendsetters. The next thing we might see is a world full of fashion-forward trendsetters who’d rather carry a vintage flip phone than be caught with a smartphone. I mean, he is a pretty cool kid.

What do you think?  Where have I gone wrong?  Would you consider this approach with your children?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below:

If you’re interested in more content like this check out our podcast called The Bible Talks with Josh & Heather!  The most recent episode of The Bible Talks is called Overcoming Habitual Sin.

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  • Reply
    Greg and Rebekah B.
    January 7, 2019 at 7:38 pm

    My kids(17, 15 and 13 and all girls) only have flip phones to use for making calls. My girls are in just as much danger as boys for internet problems… With girls it may not be pornography but the scare of being a internet victim of sexual assault is real. So we as parents choose the same method. Now my kids have tablets they can use in the home for homework assignments and such but it is supervised in the home and not out in public with friends. Yes, my girls are laughed at sometimes but I always remind them.. I am your parent and your friend’s parents were not chosen for you, so as long as you live with me… I make the rules. I also am honest and tell them about bad people who are out to hurt teen girls and kidnap them for “evil”(for the purpose of keeping this family safe to read) purposes and I am only protecting them. Trust me… After explaining the dangers… They accepted my protection and even thanked me for caring. I see your decision as smart and you have my vote!! Great job:)
    Greg & Rebekah B.

    • Reply
      January 7, 2019 at 7:54 pm

      Fantastic Point! This type of oversight is not only necessary for young men. Our young ladies need our help as well. Thanks for commenting.

  • Reply
    Brandon S Walters
    January 7, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    Couldn’t have said it better my self Bro. Josh! My wife and I have said if we have to get a phone for our son it will be one of those jitter bugs, and we would use the contract that carry schmidt had made for his kids and their phones. The bottom line is I fear for my son as he becomes a teenager as to what things he may see in the world and we want to do the best to protect him from the garbage in the world

  • Reply
    Mark and April
    January 7, 2019 at 9:36 pm

    I enjoyed reading what you posted. Mark and I gave Haylee a flip phone and she decided not to use it, because of kids in school. She wants an Iphone like the other kids. We have also explained things to her and help her understand why she will not be getting a smart phone at this time. She has a tablet at home which is blocked from the internet. Now and days the internet is bad not on only with the type of temptations you mentioned but also bullying. We are trying to protect our kids from all that as much as we can. I have adults boys and I see how they have developed cause of the restrictions we had when they were growing up. Now with my husband daughters we do the same thing praying everyday that when they are adults they have the tools necessary to fight those battles as they look up to God for guidance.

  • Reply
    Scott Cook
    January 7, 2019 at 9:59 pm

    I’ve been a youth pastor for almost 5 years and I’ve seen many accounts of teenagers struggling with pornography. It’s becoming a cultural norm for young adults and even kids to be exposed to some of “level” of pornography. I think the mistake we often make is giving too much freedom too soon. Like you said in the article, there is a training process and it takes time. I think it is radical, but necessary step to take in order to protect our children from the “drug” that is pornography. Your teen might struggle with others making fun of him or freedoms that others may have, but he will have a greater chance to retain his purity.

  • Reply
    January 7, 2019 at 10:23 pm

    “He is cool in demeanor, calm in disposition, and pretty good looking. What can I say…he looks just like his old man.”

    The Bible also says…

    Proverbs 27:2 “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.”

  • Reply
    January 7, 2019 at 10:43 pm

    I love JT, he is an awesome kid! Good advice Pastor!

  • Reply
    2 in the boonies
    January 8, 2019 at 2:25 am

    Our son had a “dumb phone” up until about a month before he graduated high school. No social media, either. We explained our position and, while I’m sure there were times he wished it different, he was obedient. We pointed out to him, and he agreed with our observation, all the popular kids in his Christian school with smartphones who were actually “dumb”, not living up to their spiritual and academic potential. There he was, with his dumb phone, about to achieve co-valedictorian status. Fast forward almost four years now, he has completed his Bible college degree in 3.5 years and is about to embark on the ministry journey that was the desire of his heart. He dabbled briefly, and minimally, in one social media platform, but grew weary of it and quit. He is cool, calm, and good looking, as your son is. Stand your ground, it is so worth it!

  • Reply
    Hamish Lamb
    January 8, 2019 at 2:54 am

    Coming from someone who has struggled with pornography in the past, you’re doing a good thing. I myself have contemplated downgrading to a “dumb” phone so that I wouldn’t have the capabilities that I have now with my iPhone. Thankfully though (with the help of the Lord, accountability partners, and Covenent Eyes), I have been able to successfully fight my pornography problem. However, if I had taken precautions early on (like you are with your son), that extra barrier might have prevented me from the sin that has plagued me more than any other.

    If I ever have children, I will definitely be more cautious with what they can see, as well as what kind of technology they have in their pocket. I will probably take the same approach you have taken and give them a phone that is “dumb” so that they won’t have easy access to what I have struggled with. You are showing great love and care for your son by doing what you are doing. Keep it up Pastor Teis!

  • Reply
    January 8, 2019 at 2:06 pm

    Heard they are going to do away with flip phones. However, you can block internet on an iPhone as well. I think you made a wise decision. In addition to protecting them from things they shouldn’t see, too much screen time brings its own set of issues. Thanks for this post!

  • Reply
    AJ Walker
    January 8, 2019 at 4:49 pm

    I wish my parents were as cool as you! (Just Kidding) I got my first non-smart phone when I was 18 and sent off to college. I’m 24 now, married with a boy on the way! Being a young man amidst a world full of sexuality and inmorality I strongly believe this is one of the main things that saved me from many heartaches. Thank you for taking a stand for your children in the middle of peer pressure!

  • Reply
    David & Julie Burchell
    January 11, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    We just installed Disney circle in our home, it allows us to control content to devices connected to our network. We have a 4yr old, 3yr old, and 1 yr old. Might seem extreme but not only does it filter explicit content it also allows us to control what content our children watch and how long.

    We also have a family content feature through Verizon that protects phones. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear these safeguards filter social media allowing some content to still slip through to cellphones through direct message or friend requests.

    Definitely recommend the Disney Circle

    Circle with Disney – Parental Controls and Filters for your Family’s Connected Devices

  • Reply
    January 15, 2019 at 8:49 am

    First I would like to thanks Pastor Josh Baptize for me on the last Thanks Giving of 2018.
    I appreciate you are sharing the story about your son still using the flip phone.
    I am very concern about my children watching youtube channel daily and (pornography) video it just the mater of time.. soon or later… I know there are many apps call “parent control” keep kid away the adult contents. These app are generate to prevent your kids from… however kids don’t like to be control…correct me if I am wrong.
    Instead of video game or youtube video I take them to church every Sunday and after that we heading to Guitar Center (lol) there are plenty of fun activities there. after many visits they start bonding with music equipment. I start with the music keyboard for my daughter and a c Novation mini Launchpad ( ) for my son. they love it… I am so thankful to God has guide me to the right path. Once again thank you Pastor Josh (my brother) who give me baptize on last thanks giving 2018. May God Bless you and your beautiful Family and God bless Southern Hills Baptist Church…

  • Reply
    January 22, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    I struggled with this decision myself. I am glad to see other parents who struggle to decide what direction to go when it comes to smartphones and their kid. My son is 11 years old. He attends school and as he likes to put it “Everyone has one”. I gave him a flip phone just like you did. Thank you for sharing your heart in this matter. BTW, he has heard the same joke about 1996 calling.

  • Reply
    August 18, 2019 at 9:24 pm

    Ha, I have a flip phone and I can watch porn on it if I want to. It can really do the same stuff as a smartphone, just with a physical design I like better. Hell, I’m typing this on it right now. I mean, if you believe in a god or whatever, cool, that’s your choice. I was raised Christian but I’ve been an athiest since I could speak. Flip phones are pretty cool, but they’re not stopping anyone. They’re also pretty useful for when someone’s being homophobic or insulting you. I had a studded case on my old one for that reason. You raise your child how you want, but they’re not always gonna turn out the way you want them to. I was raised sexist, racist, homophobic, and religious (Separate things, not all religious people are homophobic) and I chose my own path and figured out who I was, not who people told me I had to be.

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