Parenting Teens in a [insert Social Media Platform] World Notes

Chap Clark is a Student Ministry veteran of many, many years and has written a ton of books about teens (Hurt is one of his most recognizable ones). At the Orange Conference he led a session on “Parenting Teens in a [insert Social Media Platform] world”. Here are the notes from this session.

There is very little research into the affects of social media on kids

“Do we know people? Jesus knew people and wanted us to know people” – Chap

40% of teens sent a nude photo to other teens and 67% of them received one of those texts.

Parents are blind to their own use of technology – happy to take it away from kids but don’t recognize the affect it is having on them.

The Role of Parenting is to create the environment where our kids may thrive as people and impact the world as agents of the kingdom of God.

“God doesn’t design us to be strong Christians and then a mess as a person”

God is calling us to participate in the kingdom

In the digital age, every day brings changes. Share principles that are deep.

When it comes to technology…

  1. Knowing what it does to kids:
  • They think in bursts (it denies the ability to reflect)
  • They are bored (the rule of boredom is to stimulate the imagination)
  • They have a hard time reflecting (connecting the dots)
  • They avoid relational risks
  • They resist process (they want to be successful without going through the process)
  • They can’t hear or see each other (they lack empathy)

“Social media is not about the other, it’s about the self”

  1. What can we do: Technology is a tool
  • It must be understood so we must provide training
    • Must be maintained properly so we must provide accountability
    • Must be utilized properly so we must provide modeling and structure to use as agents
  1. Parenting Strategy:
  • Create “sacred spaces” where you don’t allow technology in certain sacred spaces (i.e. kitchen)
  • Create “sacred season” (1 day a week, 1 hour a day or something like that where you take a break)
  • Control the wireless environment
  • Tech becomes “all family property”
  • Weekly sharing of experiences (best/worst part of what you saw on social)
  • Create “family contract” (don’t start with this, but get to this point as a family)

“Family Contract”

We as a family agree (with flexibility and trust)…

  • “My phone” is everybody’s phone
  • (with one exception: essential parent business)
  • No devices during “family meals”
  • No devices during homework
  • No devices during conversations
  • No devices at kitchen table
  • No devices after __pm or before __am (weekdays)
  • No private web use without agreement from at
  • least one family member

What do you think of the research on social media and the family? Share them and your experiences below or on social media use my twitter handle @tapounder when you share. 

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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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