We are on all social media sites, and so are your teens. Parenting and social media expert Dr. Kathy Koch shares how these social sites are a tool that can have a positive and negative impact.
“It is about the way that it is used.
If it’s a substitute for a real relationship – it’s bad. There are people who believe that it’s their job to perform well for others so that they can be popular on social media. They’re depending upon everybody else to tell them how they’re doing.”
If we’re striving for perfection – that desire is not from God. Our identity cannot be at the mercy of all the world’s likes.
“We begin to doubt ourselves and we’re letting people we don’t even know tell us who we are.”
Parents can not leave it up to social media to help teenagers understand who they are and whose they are.
“Kids who are raised with optimism, raised to know what they are good at, raised to know that their belonging is solid, know who they are because their parents didn’t give up speaking truth into their lives. Then when they get to this broken world, when they see it all over the World Wide Web – they think ‘Wow I bet I could do something about that.’ That’s a very positive use of technology.
Technology without a worldview focused on Christ can leave teens with a sense of grim reality and despair.
“Kids who are raised with despair, without Christ, are going to die under the weight of that and begin to believe ‘well there’s nothing I can do about that as the world’s a mess.’”
Teens can fall victim to the brokenness and despaired portrayed online. Teenagers need external support from family and church to find there competencies and build their character. Character is a huge part of our competence.
“We’ve got a group of kids today are learning that everything should be easy, convenient and about them. We’ve got kids who believe the lie that they never should have to work hard. They believe that effort, diligence, perseverance, and teach ability not issues – and that’s so not true.”
Social media and technology is a tool. With the right external support this tool can help young people find their purpose and bring about positive change. As parents it is essential that we provide a gospel centered voice to help teens navigate and balance the messages they receive almost constantly at their fingertips.