At some point, every child growing up right now will ask his or her parents about getting on social media. And, at some point when our children enter the teenage years, many of us will say “yes.” As Christian parents, we want to protect our children while also equipping them to live as LIGHTS in this world. It’s not easy, especially in the world of social media.
We get it. That’s why we put together a resource for families: How to Prepare Your Child for Social Media (PDF Download). This printable resource includes 24 days of scriptures and guided questions that parents and children can work through together. It can serve as the beginning of an on-going conversation between you and your child as you prepare your child’s heart and mind for social media and establish guardrails to protect him or her. It also includes a Social Media Contract.
Here are 6 Truths from the Social Media Guide for Christian Families
If you’re on social media, you already know that every single platform has plenty to say about how we “should” look, what we “should” wear, and even where we “should go on vacation or college,” and so much more. These biblical truths will help pre-teens and teenagers ground their perspective in the Lord’s truth, not the world’s lies.
#1 You are wonderfully made.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
— Psalm 139:13-14
Why it matters that teenagers know this before getting on social media. Comparing and contrasting themselves with their peers is part of identity formation. This process helps teenagers and young adults figure out where they stand in terms of beliefs, preferences, and attitudes. Social media can increase the negative impact of comparison for teens, including lowered self-esteem and increased feelings of envy, guilt, regret, and defensiveness. After all, social media is a selection of carefully curated images and videos often with the use of filters or editing apps. It’s not real and can falsely lead your child to believe the lie that they aren’t enough. But God says this about your child: You are wonderfully made.
#2 You are chosen.
“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.”
— Ephesians 1:4
Why it matters that teenagers know this before getting on social media. Thanks to social media we can always see what our friends and peers are doing, where they are going, and who they are hanging out with on any given day. This can fuel the flames of FOMO (the fear of missing out). Why weren’t you invited? Why is she hanging out with her instead of me? FOMO is especially common in teenagers and young adults and can create anxiety and feelings of inferiority. But, God says this about your child: I choose you!
#3 You are a masterpiece.
“For we are God’s masterpiece.”
— Ephesians 2:10
Why it matters that teenagers know this before getting on social media. As children enter the teen and young adult years, being accepted and liked by peers becomes increasingly important. This makes it easy to get caught up in counting “likes” or “followers” on social media. Some teens can feel rejected or unaccepted if a post doesn’t receive a specific amount of attention or go viral. However, God does not measure your child by how many comments, likes, shares, or followers he or she receives on social media. God created your child as a masterpiece from the beginning.
#4 You are gifted and God’s prized possession.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
— James 1:17
#5 You are blessed.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”
— Ephesians 1:3
Why it matters that teenagers know this before getting on social media. Recognizing how God blesses us and expressing our gratitude increases a joyful mindset and limits a comparison mindset. One of the ways He blesses His children is through gifting us with unique talents and spiritual gifts. For teenagers, practicing gratitude improves relationships with family and friends and boosts self-esteem while decreasing depression. Spending time on social media can lead your teenager to forget all the ways God blesses and gifts him or her, but expressing gratitude helps your teen to remember.
#6: You are a light in the world.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
— Matthew 5:14-16
Why it matters that teenagers know this before getting on social media. God created each of His children with and for a purpose. That doesn’t mean that every teenager will know what they want to do in life or know all the answers about their future. (Same goes for adults, too!) It does mean that they can trust that God created them for a purpose and that He provides daily opportunities for His children to be a light in the world. When we shine His light through our words and actions on social media, we can make a difference in the lives of our friends and family, which can lead teenagers to healthy identity development and a sense of purpose in the present.
Learn more about the Social Media Workbook.