How Social Media Can Ruin Your Teens
Satan’s newest weapon aimed at teens: Social Media.
- 81% of teens (ages 12-17) are on social media.
- Only 3% of boys and 17% of teen girls have NEVER seen internet pornography.
Recently at r12 (our high school worship service) we discussed the impact of social media/technology on Christian teens. We talked about the dangers of social media for teens; the problems with selfies, and the drama the “likes” create. The most disturbing part was the amount of sexual activity and pornography that takes place in social media.
I hope to scare you as a parent about some FACTS with social media:
- Your teen DOES NOT need a smart phone or to be on social media. By definition they are NOT an adult and you pay the bills. I’ve said it forever, it is better to have a sober, out of jail, under my roof teen who “hates” me; than to have a sexually active, needle in the arm, porn addict, pot head that is on a different couch each night.
- If adults make poor decisions with social media, and often times do not handle it properly (I have been guilty,) then what kind of fool are we if we give it to a 13 or 14 year old.
- If you allow your daughter to post pictures of herself in a bikini on social media, grown and even married men will look at these pictures as a form of pornography. So will many, many of their teenage friends, both male and female. The truth is, too many of our young ladies are not mature enough yet to make a decision of what they should or should not post on social media yet. Just as bad is the self-worth and value they find in themselves based on what is said on social media about their body. The parent who lets their 15 year old daughter post pictures of their “body” online, will have to answer to the Lord one day for leading their CHILD into sin.
- Social Media will lead your kid to pornography. PERIOD. There is not a tool or app out there that can 100% protect your teen from seeing pornography when they spend a good bit of time on social media. A parent can however help them deal with this and run from this.
- Social Media can lead your teen to find their identity in a number. A number of likes, comments, or shares rather than how God knit them together in their mother’s womb can define them. The parent’s job is to teach them they are more valuable than a like.
- Your teen WILL BELIEVE what they read on social media, true or not. Social media is just as real to teenager as going to school. It is not a virtual world, but part of their world. Therefore Twitter accounts that describe what is romantic (rather than the scriptures) will be believed.
- Your teen will witness, be part of, or be the victim of bullying as a result of them being on social media.
- Social media handicaps a teen’s social skills. Things like looking people in the eyes, shaking hands, holding a conversation without texting. And bigger things like speaking truth or when reconciliation needs to be pursued, these type conversations are much easier and less meaningful and fruitful over social media. Recently a “friend” of my wife made assumptions about my wife based on what she perceived on social media. She then sent her a ridiculous inbox message about the issue, filled with things that she would have never said to my wife’s face. This is what social media has the power to do relationally. Fracture.
- It’s evident that you don’t follow your teen on social media by the language they use… Teens will say things and re-post things on social media that they would never say in front of their parents. Do you know what they are saying? Ask them to show you…
- If your teen is not responsible enough to drive a car, they are not responsible enough to handle social media properly. Currently there is an age “suggestion” on social media, but nothing preventing a 13 year old from getting on Twitter. As parents, we need to help our kids discern when they are ready for different things in life. Dating, staying home alone, getting a job, driving, for example. Social Media needs to be viewed through the same lenses. We must guide them in this process.
God created us as relational beings, in His image to be in relationship with Him. This is a good thing. Social media was created to a relational end but it is much more than that now. I use social media and believe, managed properly it is a great tool, as well as a way to stay connected. I have been greatly encouraged through it as well as humbled at times. Wisdom and discernment are needed though for anyone who chooses to use these devices. And two areas teens really need help in are the areas of wisdom and discernment. Guide them well.
This blog post was written by Joshua Glymph, High School Pastor at Fruit Cove Baptist Church. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.