If you have a teen or tween, cell phone use and social media has most likely been a concerning conversation. I have had countless conversations with other parents frustrated by their kids’ constant phone use and worried about what they are exposed to.
I too am concerned and have seen first-hand the effects on my own daughter. But you wouldn’t know it from the outside because these are inward struggles and sin she and other teens are wading through in the confines of their own head and heart. That is why my greater concern is that as parents we either miss the real problem or we see it but don’t know what to do about it. Either way opportunities for deeper sheperding of our kids’ hearts are often missed.
We know social media is not going away but the solution is not taking away their phones, prohibiting all online interaction and keeping them completely sheltered. Although tempting, “law” does nothing for their hearts. How much better if we helped them evaluate the real issues – the underneath the surface issues – these external forces are pointing to.
As my husband says if you detect a crack in the ceiling of your home, the crack is not the real problem. The crack is pointing to something more foundational – somthing behind the scenes.
Same is true of social media and cell phones. They are not the root problem. Just as the real problem with bad behavior isn’t because of the temptation or something outside of us, but what is going on inside us.
So how do we uncover what is hidden in our kids’ hearts? Do we even see what is hidden in our hearts?
If we don’t help them see, believe and rest in Christ as their identity, righteousness and worth, we will never adequately address social media stress.
To this end, I have created a couple of online anonymous surveys, which some of you may have already taken or seen. One is for teens, the other for parents of teens. Some I have already received back with many of my own conclusions confirmed and to be shared in future posts.
In shedding light on ‘Selfie Society’ issues, my hope is to help us see how to practically apply The Light of the gospel on to the lies eating aways at lives. Perhaps in some small way by sparking conversation, initiating public parent forums, small group gatherings and/or potentially a future book:), together we will be instruments of true change impacting our kids far beyond their teen years.
But I need your help. I need hundreds of surveys submitted back. I would appreciate greatly if you woud share the links below with teens, parents of teens and also youth pastors and leaders, Young Life or other ministry staff members, coaches, teachers – really, anyone who works with teens or parents of teens who would help circulate this around. Would you please?
Here are the links:
For future survey results, be sure to subscribe to this blog. In the meantime, Joy in the journey.