Tuesday, July 29, 2014

On the subject of social media...

  I've never seen a teen blog about social media in this sort of way. I don't see many teens blog, period. Actually, this is a pretty popular topic amongst parents. 

   You've probably seen blog posts about this many times before, but I am hoping, since I'm a teen myself, that hearing it from me could spark a different response.  If anything I say is misunderstood or offensive, I'm sincerely sorry. I am only telling you this because, Moms and Dads, as a teen, I care about my peers.We are the same generation. They are my closest friends, my acquaintances, and my enemies. I was with them 5 days a week, for months at a time, every year for 8-9 years of my life. I'm homeschooled now, but I still see your child everywhere. At Target, at church, and most of all, online.

  I can see who they follow. I see what they're tweeting, sharing, posting and liking. Fantasizing about boyfriends, offensive retweets regarding race. I even see some teens I know following pages containing porn. And not every teen is like this. Let me repeat: not every teen is like this. But still, people are surprising me. And even the ones like me who try to stay away from that stuff are accidentally being exposed to it; whether it be through friends they're following, or innocently clicking a popular link. It makes me wonder if parents really know about their child's account.  Or maybe they do know, but they don't have access to it or interest in seeing it. I feel that if more parents knew what their teen is able to find on social media and how easy it is to find it, then they would be more cautious.  Here are some things I think would help.  

Your child should not have a better phone than you. 
  If you own a flip phone while your teen is sporting the newest iPhone, then I suggest you trade phones. You should know how to use your child's phone, and know what's on it.

Be informed about the social media apps and websites your child is on.
  If your child has an account on anything, you should know about it, or maybe even get one yourself so you can check in on your child. Know who they are following and who's following them, and who they're friends with. I'm not saying you should stalk them. Be engaged in and knowledgable about our generation, even if you're not a part of it. You and your spouse are like the king and queen. You live in the castle, but you also need to know what's going on down in the village where your people are. It's how you keep your kingdom strong, happy and safe, because you care for them and love them. Unless, of course, you're evil. Grin.  

Set rules. 
  If you don't feel comfortable with your child on a specific social media, cut it off and have them wait. Set a time limit. You choose. You are the one in charge. Your teen does not need social media, no matter how imperative it seems in our society. Even if we don't like the rules y'all give us, we will end up thanking you in the end! I know I feel that way with my parents.

 These are only suggestions. Go with whatever you want! I am not the parent. 

  I am telling you all of this with the best intentions. I love you and your teen, no matter what you believe and choose to do, or how you parent and use social media. 
  May the Lord give you wisdom to do what is best for your family. 

  So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. (Ephesians 5:15-17 NLT)

  Let all that you do be done in love. (1 Corinthians 16:14 ESV)

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