Social Networking: what’s a Christian Family to do? (part 1)

Ever since the Garden of Eden raising a family to honor God and live for Him has been challenging. In fairness to parents who are rearing children in our technology saturated culture, the learning curve has dramatically increased. Consider this: when 9/11 occurred there was no such thing as MySpace, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. The past five years has seen a virtual cultural explosion of what is called social networking.

  • MySpace – 2003 (2nd largest social networking site following Facebook)
  • Facebook – 2004 (400 million active users world-wide)
  • YouTube – 2005 (receives 2 billion hits per day)
  • Twitter – 2006, but it really took off in early 2009 (75 million users in the US)

By the way there is a new social networking site in development for 6-10 year olds called Togetherville and so the cultural maze just became a little more challenging for families.

There seems to be three responses to the social networking phenomena from Christian families.

  1. Refuse to participate or be involved with social networking.
  2. Monitored exposure to specific social networking sites
  3. Unmonitored exposure to various social networking site.

I’m sure there are well-thought out reasons for each of the various responses. This blog post is written to help parents of children who are or will be navigating these waters soon. Parents need to lead and equip their children not just for their teen years, but for the many entertainment oriented decisions their children will need to make in the years to come.

The best analogies I can give to help those who may not be involved in these networking sites is to describe it in the following ways. With each stage of the growing up years there has always been a social environment in which children have interacted (including the adult years).

  • elementary years – playground
  • high school years – locker room
  • adult years – neighborhood block party

No doubt, there are many others analogies that could be used, but in our technology driven culture there is an entire world of virtual gathering places for children, pre-teens, teens and adults to interact via the internet.

Some of have been dismissive of the phenomena altogether because of the perception of wasting time, the inherent dangers or the worldly influences. One pastor-author observes,

Preaching against technologies of culture, in my opinion, is sort of like preaching against the architectural style of someone’s house. It’s just where they live. And so, the modern technologies of culture are just where people live.

It is understandable why some families have refused participation altogether. It is not understandable why some families allow their children unmonitored access to these sites without accountability. It seems as if there must be a happy medium founded upon biblical principles. While our job as parents is to lead our children through the most impressionable years of their life, yet at the same time we are to equip them with biblical principles for the years to come.

One Response

  1. […] can be as easy or difficult as an elephant standing one-legged on a beach ball. In the first post I mentioned that it was possible to reach a “happy medium” about social networking. […]

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