As a parent, do you think before you post on social media? You’ll be surprised to find how social media etiquette is not just for teens anymore but for parents too. Parents can be just as guilty as the tweens and teens in breaking social media etiquette. There are some questions you should ask yourself before you post.
How many of us know bullying doesn’t stop once you graduate High School?
How many of us know teens aren’t the only ones taking sexually explicit pictures?
In raising our kids, we may think our own raising is done. Do you think before you post on social media? I have seen numerous friends and parents of friends act worse than the teens in my life.
How do you know if you’re breaking these social media rules?
Are you honoring God before you hit send or post?
16 Questions to Think Before You Post on Social Media
1.Am I being a bully?
I’ve seen plenty of comments, replies, public posts of adults bullying, tagging, calling each other out, and just being awful to each other. As adults, we are called to show the next generation what it’s like to communicate effectively and healthily.
Trust me, your teen is watching.
If you are awful to people online, they will be awful to people both offline and online including to you.
Before you reply or comment on anything, would it be considered bullying if found in the hallways or classrooms of your teen’s school? Think before you post on social media. It could be the very thing that changes your teen’s attitude from a bully to a person of compassion.“Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” (Eph. 5:4) Click To Tweet
2. Am I acting pure?
One thing I learned while teaching purity is that purity has no age limit. I’ve seen Mommy act a certain way only to have the daughter or son follow in those same footsteps. Most of the time, kids are a reflection of ourselves.
If you want your child to be pure, ask yourself “Am I being pure?”
Granted, many of us have not learned how to be pure or even the definition of it. This may be because we either haven’t grown up in church or didn’t have an example for us to fall back on. However, we are all still called to be so. Finding these things out are part of our journey as Christians to seek out His Word and walk this out.
Our teens are watching and even more so, imitating.
3. Am I using this as a therapy session?
Sharing is so easy with social media but not the wisest thing to do especially when we are in a vulnerable emotional state. By stating feelings like “I’m so depressed. I feel like no one gets me…” or “I just want to die”, should be a sign of needing therapy. I’m not saying this to be condescending but actually caring about your emotional state.
These cries for help are tender and not getting the response we desire can leave us feeling emptier than we did before we posted.
Instead, find a few trusted individuals, including a licensed counselor, who can pray and/or bring truth to your situation. When we allow social media to answer, we can open ourselves to ungodly advice. For instance, a post like “My husband doesn’t get me” can lead to a response or private message like “I always get you and always will” from someone who may be trying to open the door to infidelity.
When you think before you post on social media, you are being careful with not just yourself but those around you including your legacy which is your family.
4. Is this sexually explicit?
This may be redundant to the “Am I acting pure?” question but this is when sin has been taken into another level of impurity. Some people have gotten caught up in sending nude pictures or videos to those in the online world. They may or may not be your significant other, but they still hold the same dangers because once it’s in the hands of someone who could care less for you, who knows where those things will end up.
Once something is online, for right now, it is pretty much there forever. Unless something shifts in the way the online system is run, your picture or video is out there for really anyone to see or use.
You don’t want that to happen for a thousand reasons but the number one reason being who we are in Christ.
We are called to keep ourselves pure. This helps protects us from becoming online exposure nightmares. You never know what kind of position you will hold in the future whether its in church leadership or a political realm where your voice can be threatened.
The Internet has a funny way of resurfacing things we want to be long buried.
“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.” (Luke 8:17)”
5. Is this honoring to my teen?
I can’t tell you how many people use social media as a soap box for their latest run-ins with their teen. They expose their teen’s failures, their negative attitude towards them, and open up conversation that is not always honoring to them.
Society already hates teens, don’t give them more reason to.
It’s one thing to ask advice (leave details for private conversations) but it’s another thing to oust them on social media with every little detail. Again, it opens the doorway for ungodly advice.
Keep challenges in the hands and ears of those who are trustworthy and Godly in their approach to life’s challenges. This protects everyone and helps steer your teen in the direction of growth instead of rebellion.
6. Will this affect my future?
Piggy backing off the “Is this sexually explicit?” question, this doesn’t just have to deal with sexually explicit pictures or videos but also our opinions on things. At the time of writing this, two police officers have been fired because of their comments on the idea of taking someone’s life. They may be “joking” but we have to be careful with our words and what kind of life they may bring.
Our words should never be the reason why something awful is carried out on someone else even if your opinion differs with that person. We should be very aware of what we say and just like the photos and videos, they can hold a shelf life of Internet forever.
If our teen sees it, they will think it gives them the green light to go ahead and do the same. This shouldn’t just be about if it affects our future but also if it actually affects someone else’s life or our kid’s future.
7. Is this safe?
One of my relatives got cat-fished (a word that describes when a person pretends to be someone else in hopes of getting their desires fulfilled…whatever that may be) because they were new to social media and weren’t aware of the dangers surrounding it. If you are unsure how to use social media, get schooled on it before using it.
When sharing your personal life and personal information, don’t do it online. Remember, you’re not just opening up your life but also the life of your family and friends.
I had to confront this relative. I let them know if they weren’t going to be careful in who they were opening up their life to, then weren’t allowed to share pictures of my kids on their platforms. Unfortunately, they didn’t just get catfished once but twice. I had to show them how to tell when a social media account was fake.
If you at all have a “gut” feeling (that’s a Holy Spirit nudging) something is off, it’s better to not go forward until you find truth. Again, this shows why it’s important to think before you post on social media.
8. Will my teen approve?
Yes, I know you are the parent but we are still called to be considerate of others and that includes our teens. There are so many cute pictures we have of our kids either when they are little or even in the present time. However, if they are even slightly embarrassing, ask your teen if they want it posted. It may seem so little to you but huge to them. We have all grown up with cruel kids in our life and this has not changed. It allows them the choice and forewarning when old family pictures are put up so they can prepare themselves or not be caught off guard when someone approaches them about it.
Also, be okay with taking something down that was originally allowed. I had a friend who posted a video of her daughter singing an original song. Years later, her classmates found it and started making fun of her. She asked for the video to be taken down because it became a burden on her.
Take it down, save it to your files, or do whatever you all agree on but honor her request because we are not always present when bullying occurs and we don’t want to encourage it for our own selfishness.
9. Am I using this as my personal daily/hourly diary?
I promise you no one wants a play by play of your day. It’s one thing to say, “I went to the gym today!” it’s a whole other thing to say “9am I started my day by eating oatmeal with berries only to find out the berries were rotten so I made myself an egg sandwich…I wore pink leggings and a grey t-shirt only to find cat hair all over them both…my cat has both grey and white hair..I’m wondering if she’s sick…she’s been hacking up some crazy stuff.” I hope you catch my drift.
If you want to be that detailed, start a blog. There may be some people who are interested in that kind of detail. I have relatives like this. I literally scroll right past them as if I’m avoiding a salesman on the street because after a while it becomes way too much.
10. Does this help my testimony or ruin it?
A lot of times, people don’t think about how their post is a reflection of who they are in Jesus Christ. They may be showing pictures of them getting drunk, fighting, or being sexually explicit without any care or concern of how this is reflecting their relationship with Jesus Christ or lack thereof.
We are all on a journey and I understand that. However, if someone makes a comment or confronts you on what you’re putting online, I would take heed. We may not realize how much it could be affecting our testimony especially those who are new to the Christian faith.
What I love about the Holy Spirit is that He often gives you heads up and if you still don’t get it, don’t be surprised when He sends His people.
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Gal. 5:16)
11.Should I be sharing someone else’s misery?
People get hurt, pass away, or end up in the hospital but this doesn’t give you the green light to share pictures of such incidences. I’ve had many friends get upset because people were sharing pictures of them at the hospital.
Not everyone is trying to be malicious. People do share because they want people to pray or they want to update people on their status. However, you must respect the person who it’s happening to. They may not want their picture in such a vulnerable state to be circulated for the world to see.
If they aren’t in a state to ask, do not post. I’ve seen family members and friends become extremely upset because of this. During difficult times, you want to help bring people together not tear them apart.
12. Should I share someone else’s good news?
On the opposite spectrum, if someone shares with you the birth of their baby, the fact that they are pregnant, engagement info, or anything like that, give them the chance to share it FIRST. Of course, we love to be the first person to know and be the first person to share the news. However, it robs the person of the chance to share something really special in the way they want to share it.
Also, we may not know the reasons why they want to wait. For pregnancies, women like to wait until the 2ndtrimester for fear of miscarrying or maybe they want the chance to tell all family members before they tell their friends. For whatever reason, it’s not our choice to decide when it’s best. Be honored they told you at all and be trustworthy in holding that information until they release it.
13. Is this post controversial?
There are some topics of conversation that are better left to talk about in person and these days there is a lot of controversial topics being brought to the surface. The Internet has a way of dehumanizing people especially when it comes to these topics.
There isn’t enough time and space on the Internet to fully convey, share, and write everything you feel about this topic. Tone is difficult to read when something is communicated online to begin with. When either you or someone else are tense, it just adds to any type of miscommunication.
If I happen to get caught up in something I should’ve walked away from or brought into something, I will usually offer to speak with someone outside the context of a social media post. More often than not, they aren’t interested. It tends to be more about being seen than being heard. For those who do take the opportunity, it tends to be a calmer and understanding conversation even if they don’t end up agreeing with me. It can also end with both parties apologizing which is always nice.
Social media etiquette is so necessary because it really does affect your relationships and your integrity in real life. When you think before you post on social media, you give yourself the space to step away from your emotions and take a look at all the consequences before you hit that send button.
14. Would I say this if the person was standing right in front of me?
I treat social media as if it’s real life. If the person was standing right in front of me, is this something that’s kind or is it rude? This may seem similar to “Am I being a bully?” but this is on a smaller scale. They are comments that are snarky and can often fly under the radar.
I’m 95% sure snarky comments aren’t missed. They are like little bombs. It’s dropped and then has the ability to destroy many things.
I recently shared a memory that was significant to me with a group of brothers and sisters online only to have someone make a snarky remark. I answered her to not just hold her accountable to her words but show how indeed it was snarky. She didn’t expect to be confronted and even suggested I ignore it. To me, its just a way of saying, “Let me say what I want and not be held accountable for it.” However, if I didn’t say something, I’m sure she would’ve continued this behavior causing a lot of hurt with those who may not have been as secure as I am in my relationship with Jesus Christ.“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” (Prov. 31:26) Click To Tweet
15. Am I looking for offense?
A lot of times people are just looking to be offended especially in this era. I have often found when people want to pick apart someone’s life, they want to do it with an audience. They want to be seen, they want affirmation because it’s missing somewhere in their life, and they want it at your expense.
This is being a hidden bully. They want to attack your integrity but hide it under the facade that they are being offended. For me, when this has happened, I’ve given the choice to eliminate their audience and take to a private message or have offered to get together for lunch.
No one who has just wanted to attack has taken me up on my offer.
They want an audience and if they don’t have it, they’re not interested in healthy communication. They are often referred to as gas lighters. They cause hurt and then turn around and act like the victim.
16. What is my heart motivation?
Before you send, post, comment, or however you are thinking of responding, ask the question above so you can think before you post on social media. Communication can be easily misconstrued online. Take a look at your words, pray about it, walk away from the computer, and take a break.
Sometimes a breather will help you realize it’s not that serious or it will give you a fresh look when you come back to it.
Our heart motivation needs to be Christ-centered. It should be to bring people closer to Him by reconciling and keeping the peace. Sometimes that can happen with healthy communication. Will everyone agree with you in the end? Probably not. At least you know you tried to discuss it in the best way possible. If your motivation is to be right and be heard, then I would suggest not communicating online until your heart gets centered back on Him again.
Think Before You Post on Social Media
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8) Click To Tweet
I pray this will help you take a step back, evaluate yourself, and think before you post on social media. Sometimes we are so focused on teens and the younger generation, we aren’t aware of our own heart.
Be the example of what you want to see.
Baskets of Blessings,