Everyone (including me!) has been talking a lot about the holiday season, spending time with loved ones, and the ideas of sharing and gift-giving lately. A much of that “sharing” may have come from your friends via social media this year… with pictures of family dinners, festive family gatherings and, of course, those selfies-with-presents!
Our society has become increasingly “social” and while it opens great lines of communication with some friends or family you might otherwise miss “sharing” the holiday experience with, it can also tend to be a little less personal or even a lot less “friendly.”
When you look at the direction this is all headed, I become concerned about what the generations following us are really learning about the genuine qualities of friendship and what it truly means to be a friend.
Are you preparing your kids mentally and spiritually?
Kids today are growing up fast in a world where they are constantly slammed with different ideas, media, threats and much, much, more through social networks. Have you set them up
to cope with the spiritual side-effects and how to distinguish between the real world and the virtual world?
Did you realize today, as of this very moment, throughout the world, approximately 1 in 7 individuals ON EARTH can be counted among Facebook users?! And this is just one of the growing number of social media outlets available to adults AND children.
According to one author on the subject, “Allowing this degree of unrestricted freedom to kids this age hits squarely in their neurological weak spot since they simply do not have the type of impulse control you find in a fully-developed adult brain.” Not to mention, our children are learning that basic friendly interaction can be easily transmitted by hitting Like on someone else’s photo. The lack of Likes on photos now has its own negative effects, as well. “Nobody likes my post! WHAAAT?!”
However, something else that should be of of even greater importance to parents like you and me, thanks to the spread of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – and the list seems to literally grow daily – about half of all online child sexual exploitation occurs through social media!
In a study recently conducted by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center, an agency of the British government, CEO Peter Davies acknowledged the powerful potential for good, saying the medium is not to blame; human behavior is where the blame should be placed.
Unlike some of the other networks, Facebook requires users to post under their real identities – exposing these youth to easier tracking, identification and possibly a lifelong online “record” of some youthful indiscretions.
This social change is unavoidable, so as parents you have to be sure to prepare the kids in your life for what they’re going to encounter out there in cyberspace. And as a part of this “online preparedness” you’re imparting (along with some good, old-fashioned common sense) you also need to share the REAL meaning of friendship!
Just because someone “friends” you on some cyber-timeline does NOT mean this person is really your friend! Hearing someone boasting, “I’ve got 20,00 ‘friends’!” most probably means they actually have no idea of the meaning of friendship. Be sure your kids know this and share stories about what your true friends have done with and for you throughout the entire life of that friendship. Seeing and hearing tangible examples of the values you want to pass on to the kids in your life will carry so much more weight than a few online “Like” clicks!
Let me know how you’re preparing your kids for the growing social world we live in. Leave me your comments below and remember to Like and Share today’s E-motivation with, hopefully, your true friends.
What are you doing this afternoon? Why don’t you join us on The Dani Johnson Show at 12 pm ET/11 am CT. You can tune into the show on either your TV or radio and please remember you can always stream today’s show right on our website.
In great faith,
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