Social Media Responsibility

Active College StudentsI remember as a teenager having to program the VCR* for my parents. It was new and tricky for them, but came naturally for me.

Today, as a parent, I’m now on the other side with social media. It seems every day there is a new app for yet another way to keep in touch. I find it overwhelming, but for the teens, and even much younger kids, downloading and setting up profiles comes naturally.

Like it or not, life has changed, and to keep up and protect our kids, we need to be aware of what they are doing online.

I’m not saying all social media is bad. In fact, when used wisely, it can be good. It helps us keep in touch with family and friends. It’s a way to keep up with the news, find new and interesting articles, and explore new hobbies. Best of all, it can be used to share the Good News of Jesus.

However, even when used with the best of intentions, it is easy to get sucked into a vortex of comparing and trying to keep up with others, and we get caught up in finding our identities in what others think, instead of what God thinks.

Whether for adults or the younger generation—it’s a dangerous game.

I remember how hard growing up was…the girl dramas, peer pressure, and the demands of school.

These issues still exist today, only they are now magnified and multiplied through the use of social media.

You’ve probably heard the tragic news stories of what cyber-bullying does. I’m not trying to make a point about that—it exists. We know that.

But before it even gets to that point, there’s the entry into the social media world. And the same problems exist for kids as do for adults—becoming consumed by how many “likes” and “followers” they have…and what they can, and might, do to get more.

It takes hardly any time at all to get in over their heads, unsure of how to get out.

Parents, I am not suggesting our kids have no electronics or access to social media.

But what I am encouraging is for all of us to take the time to know what they are doing online.

Research the apps that are new to you. Know their passwords for occasional checks on their accounts. And be wary of closed doors and hidden screens when you walk by.

The news stories of online sexual predators and cyber-bullying terrify me. Maybe they do you too.

We can’t protect our kids every minute of the day. But where we can protect them, they deserve our full attention.

We love our children and whether they agree or not, they need our guidance and protection.

*(For the younger generation who may not know, VCR stands for videocassette recorder, and yes, it is a thing of the past.)

12 Responses to Social Media Responsibility
  1. Mia
    October 16, 2013 | 7:48 am

    Dear Laura
    This is such a much needed and welcome article, dear friend. Know what your kids are watching and don’t be afraid to do those checks you are talking about. Patents cannot stop their kids from watching wrong things like pornography etc., but we cab earnestly start to pray!
    Blessings XX

    • Laura Rath
      October 16, 2013 | 1:00 pm

      Amen, Mia! There is so much pressure from peers and society surrounding our kids today. And it seems that nothing is competely safe. That’s why awareness and guidance are a must.
      Thanks for your comment!

  2. Deb
    October 16, 2013 | 11:53 am

    So important Laura! Helping our children make wise choices in every area of life . . . not only for their protection but for helping them know how to deal with people in general. Thanks!

    • Laura Rath
      October 16, 2013 | 1:02 pm

      So true Deb! We don’t want our kids to grow up suspicious of everything and everyone, and yet, there are some very dishonest people out there, and we, as well as our children, need to be aware and know how to deal with it.

  3. Dawn Paoletta
    October 16, 2013 | 2:31 pm

    Living this now and it’s not fun…hidden screen and closed doors, doesn’t BEGIN to cover the lies and deception regarding this topic. Internet addiction, as well as the impact of reliance on screen activity for identity. There is good and bad with every freedom.

    • Laura Rath
      October 16, 2013 | 7:05 pm

      Agreed, Dawn! There is good and bad with every freedom. Self-discipline isn’t easy at any age, especially for kids trying to grow up.

  4. Melanie Wilson
    October 16, 2013 | 5:39 pm

    Agreed, Laura. We have to take these issues seriously. Kids are going to make immature mistakes. We have to be there to help them learn from these before a tragedy occurs.

    • Laura Rath
      October 16, 2013 | 7:07 pm

      Absolutely, Melanie. And as we discipline, what a great opportunity to also demonstrate God’s love and grace when they do make these mistakes.

  5. Kari Scare
    October 17, 2013 | 7:46 am

    Definitely an important topic to discuss. It’s one I think I want to cover at some point on my blog too. We are very involved with our oldest son and his social media, and he knows we either have free access or he doesn’t have any access. We talk often about what’s happening in that realm, and we even make a point to text, email, Facebook, etc. him regularly. So far, so good. Our youngest, even at almost 13, hasn’t shown a lot of interest in social media. That’s a good thing considering his more social personality as well as tendency to get in trouble a bit more. Anyway, good job covering this topic. It can’t be said enough!

    • Laura Rath
      October 17, 2013 | 1:19 pm

      Thanks Kari. What amazes me is how many different apps there are to keep in touch, so many more than the usual we hear of all the time, like FB and Twitter. There are many good ones, but there are also some not-so-good ones, with little to no security on who can contact whom. It’s frightening.

  6. Barbie
    October 24, 2013 | 1:51 am

    I’ve struggled through this with my own children. I have to stay on top of it. I can’t say I am always perfect as to how I deal with it, but with God, I can help my children make the wiser choice.

    • Laura Rath
      October 25, 2013 | 12:38 pm

      Agreed, Barbie. If we can teach them now, hopefully they’ll take it into adulthood.