Social Media

Any good parent has taught their child to play nice and to not hit others, but how do we teach this in the new landscape of social media? Bullying is just a click away, the embarrassing photo, the insulting comment, texting about a person as they are standing in front of you.  Our mothers taught us not to throw sand in the sandbox, but who is teaching our teens how to use social media appropriately?  Most parents seem to be unaware that the bully can now be in the bedroom texting in the middle of the night.

As youth leaders, are we lovingly confronting our teens when they cross the line? Or, are we ignoring these issues and allowing them to fester in our youth ministries? Clearly social media is here to stay; I know I can barely go a few hours without checking Facebook or updating my status.  As Facebook positions itself to take on Google, the web is only going to become more and more social.  For some reason these messages of not hitting or throwing sand don’t seem to readily apply themselves to the anonymous nature of the internet. Maybe it is because teenagers and children can’t see the harm they are causing or maybe it reveals the true nature of our hearts.

I believe we need to teach our students and our families a better way. You teach “don’t hit” not only because it is wrong, but because it destroys community and dehumanizes others. This online teasing and bickering destroys and erodes our community and our humanity. We need to teach our children and our students the way of love.

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