the Social Sidekick: “A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Social Media” Review

Unknown-3In 2012, Youth Ministry gurus Adam McLane and Mark Oestreicher wrote a book called, “A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Social Media: Helping Your Teenager Navigate Life Online“.  As the title says the book is a social media guide for parents so that they can understand this whole new world in hopes that they can help their teen navigate it.

The reason why I read the book was because 1. I am both a parent of tweens who own social media accounts and 2. I am a Youth Pastor so I can help the parents I minister to.  Plus, I know that Adam is very involved in social media so he knows what he is talking about from experience work with teens and in the digital world.  As we live in a very evolving tech world, a world in which students communicate so much on their cell phones, we need to understand how to best minister to and love them.

A few things that really stuck out to me were…

  • The more parents can understand social media instead of building walls of protection against it, the more they  can help their teenager move towards adulthood successfully.
  • What I found really interesting is that they said research shows the more parents try to restrict the process of individualization of teens, the more it drives teens to deviance, secrecy and a lack of communication.  This is really important to understand this for parents so that there can be open discussions about what they are involved in rather than secrets.
  • This being said, in a world where everything is documented, every success and failure, they encourage parents to be checking up on their teens through social media and seeing what they are doing on their personal accounts.

Without going into all the details of the book, simply put, I loved this book.  It was very helpful in giving the basics of social media and how we, as parents, can understand it better so we can help navigate our children through it.  If you know very little about social media, you will learn a lot.  Whether it is their insights from a teen perspective, legal perspective or parental perspective (they are both dads), it was fascinating to read.

Even though I have been involved with social media for some time through my work as a youth minister, I was honestly very surprised how much I didn’t know!  It lead me to have some great discussions with my own children and it is also helping me as a I prepare something for the parents I minster to.

So, I highly recommend this book for you to read.  It is a very quick read and easy to understand so get it now.  Click the link in the 1st paragraph to order yours today.

Tom Pounder

A father of 4, Tom is the Online Campus Pastor as well as Social Media Director at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA. He blogs, vlogs, periscopes and podcasts regularly about student and online ministry stuff. Check out his work at and on iTunes (search YMSidekick).

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