Social Media: The Modern Day Forbidden Fruit for Teens
As a Grade Seven teacher for ten years, a principal for eight years, and a parent of 3 (almost 4) teenagers, I have seen my share of online behaviour. I can say with confidence that access to social media is one of the greatest sources of anxiety, temptation, and pressure there is for teens. At this age kids are seeking (sometimes desperately) approval, acceptance, and affirmation. They are often unsure of their identity (Who am I? Why do I matter? Where do I belong?) and will look anywhere for it. Social Media sites and apps provide what appears to be the perfect forum to answering these questions.
Just as the apple in the story of Adam and Eve truly gave knowledge of good and evil, social media does indeed give knowledge to our kids. Like Adam and Eve, however, it is not knowledge and access that they are ready for or meant to have. In having it, they get exactly what they want but rather than bringing them fulfillment, confidence, and peace, they are left feeling empty, lost, and often abused.
As well-intentioned and involved as parents are, they are often the last to know about what their kids are really doing online. It is not that trusting your kids is bad, but is just so EASY and so TEMPTING for kids to hide certain aspects of their online lives. In many cases kids have not themselves done anything wrong, but they hide bad things they see because they don’t want their parents to get involved or become more diligent in their observation of their online activity. In other cases kids are too ashamed or embarrassed to tell their parents what they have seen or done online.
This year the teachers and I want to take a much more positive and proactive approach to this problem. In the coming weeks we will be sending home more information and a social media contract you can discuss and sign with your child. Our hope is that, together, we can help our kids build their self-esteem and grow to be the confident, capable, and holy young men and women God wants them to be.
Thanks for your involvement and if you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave a comment below. You can also check out this excellent website for more information https://www.commonsensemedia.org/social-media/age/tweens.
Thanks for reading!