Social Media Help for Parents

Social Media Help for Parents

I am working my way through a newsletter/seminar type thing for parents about social media and their teens (or actually pre-teens too). I use Facebook and Twitter some, but I am just not a social network guy for anything that restricts my word count. But I have been trying to dig through and pick up some helps for parents.

Let me tell you this whole social media world that teenagers live in is a rabbit hole of epic proportions. I was pretty creative when it came to doing nefarious things with the opposite sex when I was in high school, but 1) the tools that teenagers have now is staggering and 2) their ability to use them creatively to keep from being caught is pretty amazing.

Of course part of the problem from a parent perspective isn’t that their kids are trying to hide things it is the exact opposite teenagers are putting way too much of themselves out there and as such are opening up a whole new level of potential problems.

I keep thinking about me back in middle school. I was a big kid sort of goofy and not popular by any standard at all. In fact I was tormented for a while and generally ignored or lightly bullied for much of my teenage years. BUT I had a good home life and parents who loved me and a decent church (even with only a few students my age) and when I wasn’t at school I wasn’t around people who wanted to bully me. I could leave that world and enter into the world of parents and love and acceptance.

But these days the world that teenagers live in doesn’t have those defined boundaries. They are always sharing their lives and living in a world where everyone they know can “like” what they say, what they wear, and what they look like with just the touch of a button. Is it any wonder that teens are showing more skin online because that is a quick way to make sure that you are at least nominally “followed.”

Anyway, I have been digging through a bunch of stuff and trying to find where I am going with this and I am not quite there yet, but here are some cool things I have found online.

These first 3 are all connected:

http://www.cpyuparentpage.com/

http://www.cpyu.org/Default.aspx

http://www.digitalkidsinitiative.com/

 

Here are a couple of other good articles I found. Be sure to check out the Snapchat parents info. It is something that parents should, but probably didn’t read.

http://dotcomplicated.co/content/2013/02/moms-how-to-keep-snapchats-disappearing-act-from-giving-you-lasting-migraines/

http://adammclane.com/2013/01/23/snapchat/

http://taylorandsarahbrooks.blogspot.com/2013/04/parents-word-about-instagram.html

http://www.snapchat.com/static_files/parents.pdf (this is a PDF)

Automatic Updates

This is what I wrote in our church newsletter this week. I liked it so I will post it here too.

It seems like everyone is on Facebook right now. If you don’t know what Facebook is I would tell you to ask someone younger, but really I have as many Facebook friends who are older than me as I do friends who are younger.

One of the options of Facebook (and of the even more hip Twitter) is that you can tell the world what you are doing at any given moment of your life. Are you about to walk into Walmart? Well you can share that with the world. Are you feeling down because you just ate an entire cheesecake? You can post it and let your friends commiserate. Mostly it is a fun way to share info and see things about other people.

But I wonder how many people would still be on Facebook or Twitter if the updates were automatic. In other words would you still be willing to sign up and show the world if you didn’t get to choose what to share, but everything you were doing was being posted.

“Jim is being mean to a waitress because he is having a bad day.” “Sally knows she got back too much change at the grocery store, but she is staying quiet.” “Bill is talking about someone behind their back.”

We would cringe and run if these things were ever posted, but yet everyday we do these things right out in public. As Christians our lives are not our own. As we act we should be reflecting the light and love of God.

So as you go through your day today imagine if your life was creating a Facebook status update, not about you, but about Jesus. Think about your actions being attributed to the one you are supposed to represent.

It just might change the way you walk through your day.