Social media. What to share, who to share it with, when to share and how. All of these things are questions I ask myself on a regular basis. Obviously, in our family we use social media frequently. I run a business, Little Earthling Photography, that is dependent on social media. We have a YouTube channel (several, actually) to post videos. I am on Facebook. And Twitter. And Instagram. When I started my blog back in 2006 it was for family and friends. I had no idea I would one day be sharing my family with the world.
Chuck and I have strict rules about internet use and social media (though they have loosened a bit as we navigate the waters of parenting teens). Our teens have cell phones but not smart phones. They use Facebook, but the only computer hooked up to the internet is in our main living area. We don’t hover over them as the use the computer, but it is centrally located and nearly impossible to be alone while using the computer. Judah and Tilly both use the computers at school regularly. My kids are very comfortable with social media and the internet. And because of that, we talk about about it’s positive and negative effects.
Social media has allowed our teens to connect with team members before heading off on their adventures to Honduras, Zambia, Guatemala and Malawi and to keep in touch with them after (though, truth be told, Adalia never Skypes or emails BEN! these days). Chuck and I are friends with many of their friends and have connected not only with their team members from Teen Missions, but many of those teens’ parents as well.
Social media has allowed us to share our teens’ mission trips with people across the globe. To have readers from every continent (except for Antarctica) “attend” BEN! and Adalia’s wedding. Later this month a blog-reader-turned-friend is coming all the way from Australia to visit our family.
But there are downsides, as well.
We have all read about cyber bullying and the dangers of the internet. They are out there and they are real. National PTA and LifeLock have joined together to promote positive and safe online interactions with their #ShareAwesome campaign. To me, being involved with your kids and their internet usage is paramount. Know you teens, know their friends. Be open about sharing on social media. Talk about how much is too much to share. Talk about why some things shouldn’t be shared online. Talk about the real life consequences of cyber bullying and sharing the wrong information.
While my kids don’t have their own smart phones and Instagram accounts, Tilly is well-known for snagging my phone and posting her own selfies on my Instagram account.
And if you haven’t watched Tilly’s video from her awesome summer in Malawi here it is:
Snap a photo of an awesome moment in your day and share it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the #ShareAwesome hashtag!
Students who enter the #ShareAwesome contest between September 15 – November 30, 2014 will have a chance to win fantastic prizes, including tablets and a $2,500 scholarship!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.