How can social media help teens grow in their faith?
I love social media! It’s the news of the young person’s generation. Most teens find out everything they know about what is going on in the world from Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and other social media sites.
There are so many cool things to explore on social media, but you can also find hate and evil lurking on every corner in the form of racism, pornography, bullying, and mistruth.
SOCIAL MEDIA IS A VEHICLE
The greatest problem with social media is that most young people don’t know how to use it properly. I want you to think of social media like a vehicle. Before young people are allowed to drive the vehicle by themselves they must first get a permit and learn to drive with a parent.
Social media should be this way as well. We shouldn’t give them the keys to the internet and say good luck navigating. It is far too dangerous, just like giving them a car and no lessons. They will likely crash, and sometimes through no fault of their own.
So, it’s important that we check in with them about how they are using social media and set up boundaries. Those boundaries are the key to helping your teen grow in faith through social media.
Social media is filled with many wonderful resources about the faith. Every keystroke on the computer can be a gift in regards to the faith because there is so much access to what we can learn about what Christ calls us to.
SHARE THE FAITH INTENTIONALLY
Social media is a great driving force for the amount of information that young people access, so why not help the situation by feeding some wholesome Christ filled pieces as well? We need to be intentional about the faith and how we share it with our young people. Social media is a great way to model the faith by what you choose to post or what you share with your teen.
Christ’s message is disseminated all over the internet, so let’s take a look at some resources for you and your teen.
Share quotes about faith. If you have spent any time on Facebook or Twitter you have surely witnessed the countless pictures and quotes about faith. Share those with your young person. Just make sure you don’t bombard their feed with tons of posts.
Find good faith blogs. Find a good blog about faith, print off a post and sit down with them and discuss it or leave it on their bed for them to explore on their own.
Share positive videos. YouTube is full of great videos, find one and send your teen a message that says, “Hey, check out this video — see how much God loves you!” (YouTube is also full of trash, so help your kids navigate safely. A great alternative is GodTube.)
Several websites offer Christian inspiration videos on a variety of topics, including:
Social media with all of its tweets, posts, walls, and videos is a great faith vehicle for your teen. With the right lessons and modeling from parents it can be a sensational way to evangelize youth and lead them on a path to discipleship. Just don’t forget the lessons before handing over the keys!
(Terry Clark, Youth and Young Adult Ministry Coordinator, Ss. John & Paul Parish)