What are the social media rules for parents social media? Not a lot of people talk about it because we are often so focused on our teens. As a parent, do you even realize that there is social media etiquette? Parents can be just as guilty as the tweens and teens in breaking social media etiquette and it’s often worse for parents because you technically should know better.
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. However, when looking at parents social media, I have noticed many of them aren’t any better than the teens they complain about. 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?
Social Media Rules: 16 Questions for Parents 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 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 and so are their friends.
If you are awful to people online, that seeps out into everyday life and will be exposed in conversation. Teenagers copy what they see. They will also be awful to people both offline and online including 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? We cannot think because we are adults that it’s any different. Oftentimes, we don’t have people holding us accountable so we get away with a lot more.“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
Remember, not only is your teen watching but so is The Lord. How are we treating His people?
2. Am I acting pure?
One thing I learned while teaching purity is that purity has no age limit. I’ve seen Mommy act promiscuous 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?”
We don’t want to open ourselves up, especially online, in impure ways. Granted, many of us have not learned how to be pure or even know 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 which means doing our homework to know what purity means. 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 posting 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. Also, we want to share those feelings with Godly, safe, and healthy people. We don’t know who is reading and how they can use that against you. Spiritual warfare is real and the enemy along with his minions are watching. We don’t need to give information to those who wish us harm.
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.
Parents social media can reveal a lot. Be careful what you are revealing.
4. Is this sexually explicit?
This may be redundant to the question, “Am I acting pure?” but this is when sin has given full birth in impurity. Sending nude pictures or videos are not actions Christian need to take part in. Even if it’s your spouse, you never know who will get their hands on these things. It’s best to keep intimate behavior in the bedroom.
There is a special covenant design for sex and for good reason. There is protection in His boundaries and when we take it out of context, we open ourselves up to many different kinds of consequences. 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. Above all, we are at stake. When we start engaging in explicit behavior it pulls us away from our relationship with Jesus Christ and that is one of the most detrimental consequences that could possibly happen. Everything flows out of our relationship with Him, or lack of.
The Internet has a funny way of resurfacing things that we want to be long buried. We are part of God’s working kingdom and He has a place for you. You never know what kind of position you may want to hold in the future. Whether it’s in church leadership or in a political realm, your voice may be threatened by the mistakes of your past. We can be forgiven but that may not relieve us of all the consequences of those mistakes. For instance, in my past I got an STD from being promiscuous and even though I was forgiven when I repented, I still have my STD. Please take heed of this warning and stay pure both within and outside of marriage.
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, give inappropriate details, and open up conversation that is not always honoring to them.
It’s one thing to ask advice (leave details for private conversations with Godly, safe, and healthy people), but it’s another thing to oust them on social media. The world already can’t stand teenagers, let’s not give them more reasons to. Plus, we want to honor our children and speak about them as if they are listening. Many times people’s postings have come to the attention of their teenagers and it has not been a pretty discussion.
Also, it opens the doorway for ungodly advice and people with wrong motives to get intel about your teenager possibly using it to their advantage. Parents social media must be safe for all including their teenagers. This safety measure protects everyone and helps steer your teen in the direction of growth instead of rebellion. Keep challenges in the hands and ears of those who are trustworthy and Godly in their approach to life’s challenges.
6. Will this affect my future?
Piggy backing off the, “Is this sexually explicit?” question, this doesn’t only 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. Differing opinions is never a justification. We should be very aware of what we say and like the photos and videos, they can hold a shelf life on the Internet forever.
If our teen sees it, they will think it gives them the green light to go ahead and do the same. Our actions always affects others not only us.
7. Is this safe?
One of my relatives got cat-fished (a word that describes a person who 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 especially when connecting to strangers.
When sharing your personal life and personal information, don’t do it online. Remember, you’re not only opening up your life but also the life of your family and friends.
I had to confront this relative and let them know that if they weren’t going to be careful in who they were opening up their life to, then they 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 have a “gut” feeling, that’s the Holy Spirit, then something is off. It’s better to not go forward until you find truth and with a company of people.
8. Will my teen approve?
Yes, I know you are the parent and they are the child, 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 were little or even in the present time. However, if they are even slightly embarrassing, ask your teen for permission to post. It’s even better to ask them permission for anything you post. I know we like to see pictures before they are posted. Let’s give the same consideration to our teenagers.
It may seem so little to you but huge to them. Remember, 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. This way they can prepare themselves or not be caught off guard when someone approaches them with 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. Sometimes parents social media can look like a “Dear Diary..” session. I will be your friend to say, its awkward. 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.
Again, be careful with the information you share. The wrong people will take note of your daily comings and goings and can use it to their advantage. Physical and spiritual attacks are a threat and can happen more regularly if we are so loose with our information.
10. Does this help my testimony or ruin it?
People often don’t think about how their post is a reflection of who they are in Jesus Christ. They may be sharing 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.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20)
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.
Our testimony should always be at the top of our minds. Am I bringing people closer to God through my testimony or farther away from Him? Our testimony isn’t only how we became saved or what the Lord has brought us through. It also entails how we are walking out our life.
11. Should I be sharing someone else’s business?
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 while they were at the hospital. Always ask for permission.
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 are not conscious to give permission, still don’t share any pictures. You can ask for prayer without doing it on social media or using photographic evidence. If you still feel like you have to, you may want to ask yourself, “Am I really wanting prayer or do I just want attention?”
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 2nd trimester 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.
Let us be people who are trustworthy with information. Close friendships have been separated because people were selfish and shared information without permission. Is it really worth losing a friendship over? Rejoice with them in silence and then celebrate when its revealed
13. Is this post controversial?
There are some topics of conversation that are better left to talk about in person. These days in social media there are a lot of controversial topics being brought up. The Internet has a way of dehumanizing people especially when it comes to these topics. It’s easy to tell someone off who isn’t in front of your face. Our fingers get ahead of us and we forget that we oftentimes have relationships with these people.
There isn’t enough time and space on the Internet to fully convey, share, and write everything you feel about topics that are controversial. Tone is difficult to read when something is communicated online to begin with. If you add a controversial topic that already has tension built into it, the results are rarely ever positive.
I am speaking from experience and if I happen to get caught up in something I should’ve walked away from or was 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. There have been times where it ended with both parties apologizing, and that’s always nice.
It’s important to know social media etiquette especially with parents social media because you could be ruining not only your friendships but friendships for your teens too. Many parents are witness to what happens online and if they see you acting a certain way, they may not want you associating with their child. 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 is seem similar to, “Am I being a bully?” You’re questioning yourself and answering honestly. Oftentimes, people would not respond the same way as they did on social media. When people are face to face, more consideration is taking into responding correctly. This does not end when it comes to social media.
I recently shared a memory that was significant to me with a group of brothers and sisters online only to have someone make a disrespectful remark. I answered her to not only hold her accountable to her words but to show her how indeed it was disrespectful. She didn’t expect to be confronted and even suggested I ignore it. To me, it’s 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
Be careful with what is said. If you need to picture the person in the room with you, do it. It helps to remind you of your relationship with them and may stop you from commenting in a way you wouldn’t have if they were right in front of you.
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 whose sole purpose was 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 turn around acting like the victim. Ask yourself if this is how you’re functioning? Do you really want a conversation or do you want to act offended so you can attack? Ask the Lord to search your heart and see if there’s any malice in your actions. This leads to my next question.
16. What is my heart motivation?
Before you send, post, comment, or however you are thinking of responding, ask the question above and sit with the Lord. Holy Spirit will save you a lot of heartache! I have personally experienced this. When I have listened, I have seen the blessing and He showed me why it was better to respond His way. Then there were times when I didn’t and I reaped the consequences from it.
Do you know His voice? Are you asking Him to check your heart and your fingers before they type? Are you obeying when He speaks or shutting Him down and doing what you want to do anyway?
Communication can be easily misconstrued online. Take a look at your words, pray about it, walk away from the computer, and take a break. At the end of the day, we are a representation of Christ and our family. What we do affects our teens and they want to be able to trust you and your character. There is nothing worse than a teenager who is embarrassed by their parents because of how they act. Many of us have experienced this not only when we were teenagers, but some of us have dealt with it into adulthood.
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.
People are watching but one of the most important people are your teenagers. Give them something to be proud of.
I pray these 16 Questions gave you something to really pray and think about. The way a parents social media is handled can have so many affects. Use it for the glory of God and for the protection of your family.Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8) Click To Tweet
Sometimes we are so focused on teens and the younger generation, we aren’t aware of our own heart. Let this be the day where that changes. Be the example of what you want to see in your teenager’s life.
Baskets of Blessings,