Social Media Rules for Parents: How My Posts May Affect My Children

I love social media!  If you follow me across any of the various platforms you will quickly see that I am an active poster.  Isn’t it a fantastic medium to share information, thoughts, memories, pictures and so much more.  I really enjoy being able to go back and see what my family and I were doing a 1, 2,5 years ago.  The internet and companies like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook have shrunk our world like never before.  I have a connectivity to friends and relatives from all over the world that I never would have otherwise.  My friends list encircles the world, and my life is enriched by seeing how they live, what they eat, their celebrations, and the way they view events in our world.

This past week I had a conversation with a young teen.  This person was relatively new to social media and as is wise and prudent, this persons parent followed and friended the account to monitor their activity.  And this is when the problem started.  As this young person began to explore the content, and this person’s friends also logged in and went looking around, they found some things that brought a bit of relational hardship with the parental units.  Pictures and posts that were cute as all get out, funny enough to evoke a snorting laugh and a tear to the eye to anyone who viewed it, but not the young teen.  This already emotional individual, working through the hormones of growing up and being overly self-conscious, as all kids their age are, was mortified.  This embarrassment turned to anger directed at mom and dad like a Tomahawk missile.  Let’s just say, if looks could kill, I’d be doing a double funeral.  This snapshot in time had been posted for the entire world to see, including this young person’s friends.  Yeah, the post was completely innocent, but it was a moment this young individual didn’t want to share with friends!  

Here are the questions that emerged from that conversation.  How many parents think about the fact everything they post about their kids will potentially be on the internet for all to see?  How will it affect them if and when they and their friends are old enough to be on social? What sort of damage could be done to my child if this post or picture circulated to unintended people?  All the things we parents think are cute and want our friends to see, could possibly end up being humiliating or fodder for their friends to use against them.  As a father to five boys, and an active participant on social, I decided to create a few rules for myself.  I simply share here to be a help to you.
Here’s 4 Social Media Rules for Parents

  1. You must assume anything posted online is outside of your control.
  2. You must assume that anything you post online can and will circulate further than you ever thought possible.
  3. When you post, think about the future.  How would my child be affected by this post?  Personally?  With friends?  Future spouse?  Even professionally?
  4. If the post is in question, don’t!
Pastor Chris Williams
Pastor Chris is the Senior Pastor of Fellowship Church.




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