How do I protect my children from falling into taboo actions on their devices?
There is a condition that has to be met in order for it to be permissible to own and use a smart device, and that is to be assured that they will not use the device in a forbidden way. Therefor if the parent is unassured that the child will not use the device for unlawful things, then it is not permissible to buy or give them that device.(1)
As for the parents who are assured, there remains a duty to endure their confidence in their child and protect them from getting dragged into wicked traps. Allah (swt) states “O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones…”(2). When asked “how does one protect his family from the fire”, Imam al-Sadiq (A.S) replied “You order them with the same orders Allah ordered you, and forbid them from the same things Allah has forbidden you from. If they follow your orders then you have protected them and if they disobey then you have done your duty.”(3)
Ordering and forbidding could be done by:
Teaching them what are the banned and sinful actions.
Reminding them of the consequences of these wicked actions in this life and the afterlife.
Reminding them of the true purpose of life and our reality, the fact that we are the servants of Allah.
My personal favorite, reminding them of death, how close it can be, and the fact of there is no coming back to good after death. The Prophet (pbuh) said “Increase the remembrance of the demolisher of desires.”, he was asked “what is the demolisher of desires?”, He replied “death,”(4)
Verily these devices have made it easier to fall into the wrath of Allah, yet this does not mean that parents before smartphones did not have the responsibility of protecting their children nor should we ban the devices as long as we are assured of our children, but what it means is that parents of this generation have to work harder while raising their children.
1. Al-Masai’l Al-Muntakhaba according to the verdict of Sayed Sistani (case 647)
2. Al-Tahrim 66:6
3. Tafsir Al-Burhan v5 p424
4. Bihar Al-Anwar v82 p167