Social Networking: what’s a Christian Family to do? (part 2)

We are in a huge paradigm shift in our culture!

In an ever-changing culture that is always seeking for something new to market, there will always be fads. I would agree there are elements within the “social networking orbit” that are fads, but it does seem as if many of these social networking sites have gone mainstream. Consider that 1 in 3 Americans has a Facebook account or that yesterday YouTube experienced 2 billion views (yes, you read that right – 2 billion) and YouTube is only 5 years old. Twitter recently “hit mainstream” in early 2009. Will we be “tweeting” 10 years from now? It’s hard to tell. Probably not, something else will have come along. But the overwhelming evidence points to social networking sites that, love them or hate them, are here to stay.

As a Bible-believing Christian with four children under the age of 10, how do I help them navigate through the culture that they are about to enter into over the next 4-6 years? They will be on the internet doing research for projects for school. Their friends will talk about a “hilarious clip” they saw on YouTube. As I see it there are three options. I can either…

  1. Refuse to allow them participate or be involved with social networking,
  2. Monitor or guide their exposure to specific social networking sites or
  3. Allow unmonitored exposure to various social networking site.

These just aren’t my options, but yours too. So what does a God-fearing family do?

History can guide us. A few illustrations from our past and “not-so-distant” past. There was a period of time when preachers preached against the evils of television. As TV became virtually omni-present, preachers began to realize that rather than simply preach against a social medium that we better equip people to make wise choices with television. There was a day when pastors/evangelists preached against the “movie house.” Absolutely there were and are dangers with the movies, but now you can access movies many different ways: at the grocery store (Redbox), library, mail (NetFlix), online (iTunes & others), Blockbuster and the movie theater. Once again preachers are needing to equip God-fearing people with Biblical principles that help give God’s people discernment because a “one-size-fits-all-policy” won’t work like it once did. (For the record, movies and TV can be spiritually destructive for Christian people.)

How do I lead my family through an anti-God, anti-biblical values that seems to permeate every aspect of culture including social networking?

The Scriptures can guide us.

  • Matthew 5:13, 16 reminds us that we are “salt and light” to our unsaved world.
  • Matthew 28.19 commands us that we are to go into all the world and preach the Gospel.
  • Matthew 22.37-29 provokes our hearts and minds that loving God demands that we engage our culture/neighbor not run from it.

I believe there is overwhelming evidence found in the New Testament for us as believers to engage our culture with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, including the most modern of social gathering places. Modeling to our children the biblical value of social networking is not a compromising position, but a biblical position. Exhorting and edifying fellow believers online is not wimpy Christianity. It is important to communicate the pitfalls of social networking. Keeping our children accountable via an internet filter is not an overbearing, overprotective parent, but rather one who is taking his job seriously. We must recognize that our children will not be in our homes for the remainder of our lives so we must prepare them now to meet a hostile world.

In the next part I plan on suggesting some guidelines that you could talk through with your spouse to determine how you will teach and guide your children.

2 Responses

  1. It starts at home with Jesus. Teach a child when they are young so they do not depart. As Christians we need to teach children before 7 yrs old, so when tempted they will say no! As parents we can place an hedge around our children. The soil is deepest at a very young age. Thanks for sharing and God bless you. Aloha… Carl and Amy

  2. Good reminders, Carl. It’s absolutely essential we take every opportunity to model and teach Bible truths.

    It’s good to know we have readers in Hawaii!

    Joel Mosier

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