It’s rare to find a teenager today who isn’t involved in social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, chat rooms…this is the teenager’s world, and it’s not going away. Though it’s a fun and fast way to interact with friends, most teens don’t realize that what they release is out for all to see…forever!
As a parent of a teenager, you can either put your head in the sand and avoid the whole social media issue, or you can embrace it, understanding your teenager has to navigate the social media world every day. How you as a parent respond to the many intricacies of social media is extremely important.
Restricting your teen from engaging with social media until they go to college is certainly not the best response! But neither is letting them do whatever they want. You are still the parent, and you still have God-given control. A good approach to take is somewhere in the middle.
A healthy habit is to sit down with your teen every month and go over entries on their Facebook and Twitter accounts. This will help you become familiar with where your teen is spending their time. You will learn a lot when you see photos, read stories, and ask questions.
Set up some family ground rules, such as “no texting times.” However, if you set these rules for your kids, you need to be prepared to commit to abiding by the same rules. This will ensure social media will not take over your home and family time.
Technology is always changing and moving; there is something new every day! Even though you may be well versed in today’s technology, this won’t be sufficient for tomorrow’s technology. Continue to learn, so you won’t be in the dark about what social media resources your teen is using. It’s important for parents to be current on exactly what each device and app is capable of.
I hope this lesson focused on social media use has been helpful! Please feel free to reply and let me know of any ways I can be praying for you and your family.
Please Check out this week’s online parenting class:
After Watching The Video:
Invasion of privacy for a teen used to mean someone read their diary or a teacher intercepted a note being passed in class. Now, however, everything is out for the whole world to see, and as a parent it’s important to help your teen understand the potential outcomes of this. Your teenager is growing up in a world where privacy is an old-fashioned concept. Almost everything any of us do is recorded, watched or monitored somehow.
People can Google a person and have access to their life story in seconds. Google indexes Facebook feeds and tweets and other things your teen doesn’t even think about five minutes after they are posted. Nothing is private anymore.
Parents, open a conversation with your teen, to help them learn how to self-monitor social media. Some questions you might want to discuss are:
Are there texts, photos, or postings you wish you could delete?
Would you want your grandma to see what you are seeing?
How can “sexting” ruin a person’s reputation?
Have you made it clear to your friends that you don’t want to receive off-color messages and photos?
How would you react to being rejected at the college or university or dream job of your choice because of something you posted or texted in the past? Mom and dad can’t bail you out from something posted that tarnishes your identity, and can’t buy your way back from a bad reputation.
If you are striving to imitate God, as the Bible encourages in Ephesians 5:1, how will this affect how you use social media?
In this conversation, find out what sites your teen is using. Explain to your teen the boundaries you feel must be set in place with their technology and how it is for their safety and their protection. Let them know you will be monitoring their involvement on the Internet and phone—but make sure they understand why. You may face some resistance, but make sure your teen knows the underlying reason for monitoring their Internet use: their protection.
Ultimately, you want to equip your teenager be able to use social media through the filter of Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things”.
Walking with you,