What Young People Want Their Parents to Know About Social Media

Loving GranddaugherOlder people have embraced social media to connect with family and friends and reconnect with old friends and acquaintances. Children and parents (and grandparents) are sharing this communications medium which creates potential areas of conflict and difficulties in the relationships.

I asked young people what guidelines they would like me to share with their parents and grandparents. Here were the replies: 

  • Don’t friend your child’s friends.  Most felt that it was acceptable if their friend initiated the request with the parent. Young people often feel awkward refusing an adult’s request.
  • Don’t complain about your child’s teacher or school officials online.  They have to live with the consequences of your rants, complaints, or “suggestions for improvement.”
  • Don’t complain about child discipline problems in public forums. Social media is not the place for “I’m so frustrated that my child just…” Do not reprimand them or correct them publicly. This also includes “How do you deal with a child who has …. problem?” posts.
  • Don’t brag too much about them—they feel embarrassed.
  • Don’t embarrass them.
  • Don’t post about potty training or the bowel movements of kids (just…don’t)
  • Don’t post embarrassing pictures or video (like kids on anesthesia) without asking permission. Even then, ask yourself what you hope to accomplish by posting a potentially humiliating picture or video of your child for all to see.
  • Don’t assume they can take a joke. Sensitivity changes quickly in young people.
  • Don’t comment on all of your child’s posts and pictures. Ask grandparents and excessively “interested” adults to refrain as well.
  • Don’t tag your child in EVERYTHING that you post.
  • Don’t get involved in your kids drama. They can handle it, we did. If they feel they need help they will talkwith you.
  • The really heavy stuff that makes you panic is probably a song lyric or movie quote.

Download this as a PDF Handout:

Parents Social Media Guide Pic

 Parents Social Media Guide

A GREAT Bible Study Launch Pad

Reprinted from Ferrell Jenkins Blog with his permission.

NOTE: Ferrell Jenkins has an insightful blog providing photos, descriptions, and insight into the people, places and cultural practices of the Bible at http://ferrelljenkins.wordpress.com/. Before that he maintained the Biblical Studies Info Page that has extensive links to scholarly resources and other material worthy of study for one’s spiritual growth. This recent article from his blog expounds on the value of the site much better than I could. Visit and bookmark the site today!

Biblical Studies Information Page. For the past ten years I have maintained the Biblical Studies Info Page here. The site was established under another name about four years earlier, then transferred to my own domain. While there are some articles posted there, the site is mostly a series of links to material that I consider worthwhile, especially for the person who has a limited number of sources available in his/her own library. I have fewer hits now than I did several years ago. I think one major reason is that people use search engines such as Google and Yahoo.

Let me suggest that there is still a value to using the Biblical Studies Info Page. The material is divided into several categories which are noted on the left side of the home page. The Links page is of primary interest to readers associated with churches of Christ. The Bible Places category can be very helpful if one is looking for information on biblical sites. (Incidentally, to my knowledge this page was online a few months prior to the highly popular Bibleplaces.com.)

Biblical Studies Info Page

Front page of the Biblical Studies Info Page.

Probably the most important category is marked Scholarly. This page is not scholarly in the sense of doctoral dissertation’s are scholarly (or should be!). I envisioned it as a page of material that a “lay” person could read and be able to have some confidence in. Sometimes there are two links to differing views on a subject. I intend for people to think, examine, and draw their own conclusions. The categories within the page are important: Apologetics, Culture; Archaeology & the Bible; Bible Study Software & Tools; Bibles Available Online; Biblical Backgrounds; Biblical Criticism: Manuscripts & Translations; Blogs and News Pertaining to Biblical Studies; Books; Church History; Documenting Your Online Research; Evangelism; Greek Studies; Judaism; Maps of Bible Lands; Museums and Traveling Exhibits; New Testament Background; Old Testament Materials; Patristics; Periodicals: Scholarly Journals; Photos and Art; Resource Indices; Restoration Movement (history); Study Materials: Online; Theology.

A Video Surprise

By surprise one day I received an Email from Tony Eldridge, a young author and book marketing expert. Tony writes a blog filled with good tips for people who have books to promote. Begin with his home page here, and move on to the blog.

What surprised me was that Tony had prepared a short video explaining the value of the Biblical Studies Info Page for members of the church where he is a member. You might enjoy his introductory video here. He also reviews other web sites that he considers helpful to Bible students.

Our thanks to Tony.

Battling Pornography

There is an excellent set of articles on the challenges pornography presents to Christians striving to live “soberly, righteously and godly in this present age.” The articles provide a broader definition of pornography that more appropriately describes the lustful images, stories, music and words that surround us. The site is at http://www.cvillechurch.com/TheChristiansBattaleAgainstPorn.htm

Spend time investigating the rest of the site for great articles on a variety of subjects. I would also recommend signing up for their newsletter. It always features a variety of interesting articles.

OMG: Does Not Mean “O Majestic God”

Guest Post from Edwin Crozier (www.edwincrozier.com – great site to visit)

I need to share a concern with my fellow Christian Facebookers, MySpacers, Pleonasters, Twitterers, texters and other social media types. “OMG!” doesn’t mean “O Majestic God” or “O Magnificent God.” It is not a means by which God is honored. It doesn’t even mean “oh my goodness.” When people read that, they see and hear in their minds the phrase, “Oh my God.”

Please recall that under the Old Covenant one of God’s 10 laws was, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain” (Exodus 20:7). God’s name was to be held in honor or God would curse His people (Malachi 2:2).

The New Covenant demonstrates the same principle of honor for God. I Timothy 1:17 says, “To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 4:11 says, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” In Revelation 7:12, the angels, elders and living creatures cried out, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

I’m seeing a trend that concerns me among Christians online. More frequently I see Christians use texting shorthand for taking God’s name in vain—“OMG.” I just want to ask you to think before you type that shorthand on your computer. If you typed the longhand phrase, “Oh my God,” would it be appropriate? Would you think this use of God’s name was intended to honor Him, to give Him glory and praise?

Certainly there are times when saying “Oh my God” is appropriate. We have songs that use that phrase. As we pray, we may praise God by calling out to Him, “Oh my God.” We are recognizing that He is our God; we are not. We are recognizing that He is our God; money is not. We are recognizing that He is our God; idols are not.

However, when someone has said something surprising or said something that really resonates with us and we want to accentuate it simply by typing, “OMG! That’s amazing,” are we really calling on God, honoring Him? Were we even addressing Him? Or were we just taking His name in vain because it was so easy and every one else does it?

God’s name is not meant to register our surprise, our shock, our amazement. God’s name is meant to be held in honor, to bring glory to Him, to address Him.

Please think about this before you type your next update. Let’s honor God in our speech and our online posts. He deserves it.

Does Your Facebook Activity Betray You?

Guest post by Aaron Beard

 It was a highly pressurized situation.  Jesus had been arrested on the way out of the Garden of Gethsemane and was in the process of going through one of a series “kangaroo court” hearings.  He had been mocked, spit upon, and struck with a staff on his head while wearing a crown of thorns.  During the last of these illegal hearings held by the Jewish leaders, Peter was standing outside in the courtyard.  He was there warming himself at the fire andwas surrounded by a group of people who were hostile to Jesus.  At that moment, people started asking Peter questions about whether or not he was one of Jesus’ disciples.   He likely assumed if he was identified as afollower of Jesus that he too would be arrested, beaten, or even killed.  At first Peter politely denies his association.  Then Peter gets even more adamant in his denial of his relationship with Jesus. At this point Matthew records these words:   “After a little while the bystanders came upand said to Peter, ‘Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you'” (Matthew 26:73).   Sadly, Peter begins to curse and swear saying that he did not know Jesus.  Perhaps Peter began to curse and swear because he was angry and afraid.  Perhaps it was an added effort to cover up the fact that he really was one of the disciples ofJesus.  Peter did tried to cover up who he was, but he could not hide the truth forever.  Eventually it was his speech that gave him away.

 Does Peter’s behavior during the trials of Jesus shock you?  Perhaps it should, but considering the behavior of those who profess to follow Christ today, the less surprising his actions are.  When around the world, it is not uncommon for Christians to either hide their faith or to behave in such a way that their actions betray them.   One place where such contradictory behavior and speech is common is the internet networking blog called Facebook.  Facebook can be a usefultool to glorify the Lord and spiritual things. This is very refreshing, especially with the sinful garbage that dominates the internet.  But sadly, the Facebook activity of some who are supposed to be Christians does more to glorify sin and this world.  Some profess to be Christians, while their Facebook activity tells a much different story.  Whether we realize it or not, what we do on Facebook speaks volumes about us.   When you look at a person’s profile, pictures, updates, and comments you learn much about their life – their family, job, hobbies, dislikes, food preferences, daily activities, goals, dreams, relationships, and so much more.  So if a person is trying to please God, would that also not be evident in the things they do on Facebook?   It must be! Paul writes, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4).   If this is true of us, Jesus will permeate all aspects of our life.  This would certainly include what we do on Facebook.

 Consider some ways people who profess to follow Christ can be betrayed by their Facebook activity.   Some will post pictures of themselves and others in clothing that is immodest.  Personally speaking, I have been saddened and even sickened by having to see way too much of some of my friends who are supposed to be Christians.  Our clothing should be consistent with that of a person confessing godliness with good works (1 Timothy 2:10).  Based on some people’s pictures on Facebook, they are certainly professing something but it sure isn’t godliness!   Occasionally you will find posts to links forvideos that are unrighteous in nature. Many times the video is supposed to be funny, but its humor comes from sinful behavior or speech.  Have we forgotten the admonition, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good” (Romans 12:9)?  It is also fairly common to see people using language that is ungodly.  Sometimes it is suggestive words about a person’s picture, sometimes it is a vulgar joke,and sometimes it is the use of profanity or euphemisms.  Perhaps one wouldn’t dare type a curse word or take God’s name in vain, but they will use abbreviations like “omg” and evenworse without a second thought.  Paul writes, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving” (Ephesians 5:4).  There are some who would not do any of these things, but they show their approval of those who do.  On Facebook you can leave comments under people’s posts and pictures as well as clicking that you “like” something posted.   Perhaps what we really need is a “dislike” option!  Remember how Peter’s speech betrayed him, making it impossible to hide that he was really one of Jesus’ disciples?   Christians need to carefully consider if their Facebook activity betrays their confession of faith and fellowship with Jesus.

 This Facebook problem is a reflection of the problem of conforming to the world. Romans 12:1 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  It is a great struggle to live in the world while still living above the world, but this is our duty and our goal.