The use of social media continues to grow almost exponentially, and our kids are caught in the middle.
Would it surprise you to learn there are literally hundreds of social media platforms throughout the world? For our purpose, let's take a look at the most popular. According to Pew Research Center, the most popular social media platforms are Youtube, Instagram, and Snapchat.
Parentally, your approach to social media can be of great benefit. Some best practices when combining kids and social media are 1) communicate with your kids regularly regarding social media and ask the right questions, 2) educate yourself in the usage of these mainstream social media offerings, and 3) trust but verify. Usually much easier said than done. How do we do this when we work full time jobs, raise children, support our spouses, take care of our homes, church attendance, worship, etc.? With what's at stake, we have to find the time!
Here are some links to kickstart the conversation about the possibility of social media usage with your younger children. The first is styled as a workshop guide, and the second is a deeper dive into the conversational aspects of social media safety that can be used and adjusted for older students as well.
Educating yourself can be a little more daunting in approach. The best way is much like buying a new car... take a test drive! Here are some resources to get you started if you're new to this. As a primer to social media, let's start the conversation with managing our online reputation or our personal brand as well as the importance of online safety. This link is a great start, and the suggestion is to review the material and check out their blog for a deeper dive. More specifically on the apps themselves:
Finally, looking at the principle of "trust but verify," take a look at this article from last January. The information contained is spot on and something we see at school on a regular basis. I'd call attention to certain aspects, but every piece of information is incredibly accurate! What teens wish their parents knew about social media. It's a tough position to put kids in. We don't mean to, but life gets crazy and one thing leads to the next... When we're not monitoring what’s being said and posted online, kids do what is right in their eyes. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Staying alert to what’s going on in their lives every day is crucial. John 10:10 is clear about the job description of the enemy. As adults, we claim authority over the enemy in all areas of our children's lives - what they're doing online, when they’re at home, at their friends, at school, everywhere!