Parents struggle to deal with their kids’ use of social media. Early next year, we will offer a live program for parents and other interested adults about this ever-changing and challenging topic.
Many of us may wish that social media would go away. It will not. It will be here. It will continue to shape the lives of youth and adults. It will change rapidly and constantly. Like most technologies, there are clear benefits and substantial hazards.
Nowadays, we are giving younger and younger children more and more sophisticated personal devices, without thinking through the implications. Then we become bewildered because we believe we cannot keep up with what our kids are doing with their devices.
I want to share with you a resource which I find quite useful. It is a website called www.smartsocial.com. It is run by a young man I know named Josh Ochs. I should say that it is a commercial site, meaning that Josh has some services and products he sells. But much is offered for free and I find myself referring to these free materials often.
At this web address—https://smartsocial.com/app-guide-parents-teachers/ —Josh keeps a list of about 50 of the popular apps used by youth. He divides these into a Green zone, meaning that they are relatively safe for teenagers and adolescents; a Grey zone, in which he puts apps that could be okay if parents monitor their use; and a Red zone for apps which are just a bad idea, period.
For almost all these apps, if one clicks on the name of the app, one will find a 5- to 10-minute video in which Josh provides an explanation of what the app is, what benefits it may have, and what dangers it may bring.
If I hear about a new app being used by youth, I have found that Josh will typically have a video up about it by the time I check his website.
Have a look and keep a note to refer to this website if you want to learn more about this topic. www.smartsocial.com.
Lord, even as you entrust your children to our care,
we struggle every day.
We ask for your guidance.
When should we give our children
the freedom to explore the world,
to make choices—good and bad—
and when we should hold them back
from encountering the sinfulness
in this world?
Guide our hearts and minds as we struggle.
Help us to know how to help our children
understand both the pull and false glamour of sin
and the love and kindness present in your people.