Social Networking: Attaining Balance (part 3)

Attaining that ever elusive word, BALANCE, 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. Balance is not a once and for all destination that when we arrive we stay. To be balanced you must regularly be on guard, correcting and then analyzing your level of involvement.

May I remind us as parents that are primary responsibility isn’t to get our children out of the home without “spiritual bruises or broken bones,” but rather to equip them with biblical principles for the next stage to come. Here are some suggested guidelines that may help your family as you navigate through the murky waters of social networking…

  1. Trust is earned not given.
    Facebook or internet use, in general, is not a right but a privilege. Just because one thirteen year old has a Facebook account does not mean that another thirteen year old is ready. In fact, many, if not, most are not ready. Whether it’s driving, going to a friend’s house or the internet, trust must be earned.

    While trust is earned, there should always be an unhealthy trust of our own flesh. We tend toward sinfulness and deceit. Some families share the password to the internet, for instance, mom has one half and dad the other, the same could be true of your child’s networking sites you keep half of their password and they keep the other half.

  2. Agree on the guidelines and boundaries.
    • Determine ahead of time with your spouse what the boundaries will be.
    • Set up a family meeting and begin to lay down the guidelines. (how much time is allowable, what sites, etc)
    • Agree on the consequences on violating the agreed upon guidelines. (no internet for a determined amount of time)
  3. Place your computer in a prominent place.
    Anybody at anytime should be able to see the computer screen as an added means of accountability. Make it known that anyone who shuts the computer or turns off the computer screen when someone enters the room will face consequences and loss of privileges.
  4. Consider an internet safety course.
    Teens have to take a hunter safety course, why not an internet safety course? I can’t afford that. You can’t afford not to. Every parent ought to consider it their solemn God-given responsibility to know how to operate their computer. You be the teacher. You be the instructor to your children. You figure out how to control the settings, change the passwords, check the history, etc. No doubt, eventually they will probably know more than you, but you work hard at keeping ahead of them. You don’t want any surprises down the road. Note of caution: Some sites, like YouTube demand greater oversight and carefulness because of the ease of the wickedness.
  5. Mom and Dad, you set up the Facebook account.
    Set up in such a way that your email is connected to the site so that any time there is activity on the site you are receiving emails about what is being said.
  6. Schedule an internet fast.
    From time to time, consider an internet fast. It’s a good thing to “unplug” from the online world. Spend time together as a family, etc.
  7. Walk through their social, online world.
    Parents would never not go into their child’s room, so why do we not visit their online room. You have just as much right to have them remove a picture, saying or friend from their online room as you do their physical room.
  8. Plan talking points.
    As you spend time in their “world” take mental notes. Observe who their friends are. Ask why so and so is a friend and not their youth pastor, etc.

The easy thing would be to say no to these types of sites and I respect those who have chosen to do so. But I do believe there is a great ability to teach and shepherd during these crucial years. My fear is that if they do not learn these biblical principles while in the home under careful, loving supervision they could easily be ravaged in future years.

My prayer for you as parents is Psalms 91:7, ” A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.”

2 Responses

  1. Thanks, Pastor Mosier. Great articles! Very practical for our families here at Bethel!

  2. Thanks for the solid advice, Joel =)

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