The Orange Conference is this month. I’ll be Atlanta and hope to see you there. This year Jon Acuff (@JonAcuff) is one of the speakers. He has remarkable advice for parents on social media use. Here are notes from his recent Orange session.
Technology is changing quickly right now. For 50 million people to get access to radio it took 30 years. For 50 million people to get access to TV it took 13 years. For 50 million people to get access to Instagram it took 18 months.
In our kids’ world, everything goes viral.
We need to redefine what social media means: Social media is any technology that lets you share something with someone else. This includes texting, comments on YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.
Kids are growing up in technology. You don’t have to be as tech savvy as their kids. What should we tell parents about social media if we could only tell them a few things?
#1. TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA BEFORE THEY USE IT. Sometimes we give the world a 15 year head start before we start to have the conversations. We have conversations earlier than We expect to have them.
Give them teachable moments along the way. Invite them into the conversation you’re having. One of the great things about Facebook is you can share photos with
Grandpa. Show them that what you share gets shared. When you post a photo online, it can never be deleted. It’s like getting a social tatoo; once you get it, it cannot be removed. It is public, it gets passed around. You need to be careful about it.
Even as an adult, there are restrictions. There are sites you cannot access at work or even home. Talk to them about Google. Google should be a family site. Never search for American Girl or Girl Doll.
The best time to talk to kids about social media is today. Start today, start appropriately. Adjust your conversation to their age. Don’t think that because they are tech
savvy, they are life savvy.
#2. BE CURIOUS. You don’t have to be an expert, but you need to be curious. Online life and real life are the same thing. Do not separate them! If your child was going to have a sleepover, you would want to meet them first, meet their parents and get to know them before you invite them into your house. You need to do the same thing with social media, get to know someone before you invite them into your digital house.
Build a real life filter by asking your child questions such as:
> What social sites are you using? (Snapchat and texting count too)
> What do your devices do? (Google what their devices do) It’s okay to let your kid be the expert in the conversation.
> What do your profiles do? (Can you write emails?) Don’t assume that everyone on a child site is a child.
> What devices do your friends have? Just because your child doesn’t have a certain device, doesn’t mean their friend won’t. You need to have that conversation as a family.
> Are you creating any content and where are you posting it?
> What are your friends posting?
Click here for more on how Jon Acuff asks these questions.
Social media is going to start making a difference in college applications. You can’t just change your name so you can’t be found by a college.
80% of job interviewers Google you before you come in for an interview now. Leave a good digital footprint. It matters for college and it matters for your job. What will we find about our kids in a Google search 15 years from now?
Help kids plug into what the church is doing. Text encouraging things to your small group. Evangelism is possible through social media.
Source for where a kid can practice their passion. (Like LEGO, photography, writing). If you want to connect with someone who does something you love, send them a short email asking one question. It takes longer to say no, than to just answer their question.
Find a Kickstarter campaign from someone in your church and help them out. Have a life that’s not just focused on you.
4. GO DARK AS A FAMILY. Don’t take a week off of Twitter and then get on and write 10 blog posts in a row about what that week was like.
The devices go to bed when we go to bed. No using them at night. No devises during meal times.
Go to a water park or some place they can’t use their phone and have to be present.
Where does it say that relationship is supposed to be efficient? We’re learning how to forget to communicate.
There is anxiety. Loneliness is at stake with our kids. Sometimes the kids that get left out will pretend they got the text too.
Self-esteem is at stake. They have a physical measurement (likes) that they use.
The internet is developing constantly.
A special thank you to @CherylKneeland for her contributions to this post!
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