Your kids and social media

Posted on September 5, 2014 · Posted in Communication, Wisdom

The world of cyberspace offers tempting delusions. Social media holds both great promise and great peril.  It appears to be personal and private, while being impersonal and dangerously public. It offers personal expression which often leads to personal exploitation. This world of virtual communication touts the latest in technological marvels, but it is often driven by millennia old curiosity, lust and gossip. As you are mostly likely reading this post electronically, I obviously believe that social media also has the capacity to do much good.


Electronic social media is bound by the same realities that have always governed human communication. If you commit anything to media, whether paper or electronic, it is never private. Private letters, such as Sigmund Freud’s to his fiancee, written during their four year “secret” engagement, speaking of the virtues of cocaine in love-making, are now quite public. The same is true for the errant email which somehow ends up posted on blogs, Instagram and Facebook. A picture taken privately in “fun” can quickly be found floating on computers and phones virtually anywhere. Whether it is a friend sneaking a look at your smart phone or the NSA monitoring cellular communication, nothing is really private. 


This is the important truth to communicate to your kids about the world of modern social media. Nothing is really private. 


But there is another reality that is even more intrusive. In this reality it is not only what is posted in social media formats that is exposed.  In this reality your thoughts are known to the most powerful being in the universe.


You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.


You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.


You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.


Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely. Psalm 139:1-4


God does not need your permission or a warrant to know your most intimate thoughts and desires. There is nothing hidden from God. You see the safest way to guard against social media concerns is to understand the truth that existed before there was virtual communication. 


Nothing is hidden from God. 


The God who is holy and hates impurity, gossip and half-truths cannot be deceived, nothing is held back from him. The photo or post that appears to be secretive on the phone screen is actually displayed on something much more public than the largest movie theater screen you can imagine.  If you can communicate this truth to your children, and to yourself, you will have blessed them beyond measure. 


The Bible is the most important piece of social media ever written. By the power of the Holy Spirit, it can speak truth and offer 24/7 protection wherever your feet or eyes may go. Help your children plant this truth deeply in their hearts. Nothing else will protect them from the ugly, malevolent viruses of social media and the lies of the enemy of their souls.

Jay Younts
Jay Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is the author of Everyday Talk and other materials on parenting. He has been teaching and speaking on parenting issues for 30 years. Jay and his wife, Ruth, live in Fountain Inn, South Carolina. He serves as a ruling elder at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and Ruth have five adult children.