Within the last decade, as online social networks began emerging, many mainstream folks wondered if these alternative communities were really here to stay, or if they were simply a trend. Advances in technology, such as cell phones, the personal computer made mobile, have further enhanced what these social networks were originally intending. The future seems clear, that these social communities are here to stay.

#EquipSocialMediaUpon joining some of these social networks, I quickly realized some of the potential distractions, temptations, and dangers one could become entrapped in. Immediately the first thing I thought of was how I need to teach my children to function in society using these tools appropriately and wisely. They are neutral tools, neither good nor bad, but can be used for good or bad. As I realized these social communities were here to stay, I felt a sense of inadequacy in teaching my children how to master them. After all, I am still trying to myself and there aren’t many mentors who have gone before, tried out their methods of teaching a biblical world view of social media and seen good fruit. So here we are, blazing a trail of trying to use social media for God’s glory and desiring to teach our children to do the same. Regardless of how confidant I am in this, one thing is certain, we have been chosen as our children’s parents, which means it is our jurisdiction to prepare them to view social media through a biblical worldview and teach them how to be Ambassadors for Christ through it.

Three Ways We Teach our Children How to Use Social Media

  1. What We Do  – “Walk the Talk”

  2. What We Teach Them – Communication

  3. Monitoring as They Practice


From MandyJHoffman.com #ReformingSocialMedia

Our Children Learn What We Model

This is not an amazing new nugget of parenting wisdom. We all know that our children learn more from what we do than what we say, though what we say is important as well. The scary part for me, is that I am learning how to use and manage social media myself. Not only am I a first generation social media user {we all are}, but I am also a first generation parent with the responsibility to teach my children how to engage in this new social world as well.

That means, that just like in real life, when I make mistakes, am tempted into sin, or sin, and I humbly apologize to my children, or share with them what I learned through my experience, so do I need to be vulnerable with my them about my online temptations, sins, or potential temptations.

One rule of thumb I have always used is this:

If it isn’t ok for my kids to see online, then it shouldn’t be on my computer either. Click2Tweet

Reflective Questions?
Think about what you model for your children, with regard to social media or online usage.

What do you need to work on?
Would you allow your child to spend as much time on social media as you do?

What boundaries do you feel you need to place in your own life so that you can teach them to your children from first hand experience and walk the talk?

What We Teach Them

If you are like me this whole concept of teaching our children proper social media etiquette could seem like a daunting task, right? Where does one start? First of all, what age is appropriate for a son or daughter to begin stewarding a personal profile? If your children are in school, you must be aware that most Jr. High and certainly most High School students are on facebook and other social engines. So this raises some serious questions?

Let me encourage you for a moment. There is NOT a cookie cutter answer for this. I believe just like with most things, when you and your spouse decide to let your child have their own personal profile it should be based on individual maturity and spiritual discernment, which is different for each child. That doesn’t make it any easier does it?

Surely, just as we are called to prepare them with a biblical worldview of the real world,  we should also be preparing them for a biblical worldview of the online world. In fact, they are a part of the same world, though they are so different. We do need to teach our children that authenticity that is found in real life relationships is not to be confused with online communities, while also teaching them to make the most of every opportunity and be authentic for the glory of God!

We need to use resources like Mandy’s #ReformingSocialMedia, which take us directly to scripture, pointing to key passages, themes about God’s character, His plan and mission for us as His Ambassadors.

Enter to Win 1 of 5 copies of #ReformingSocialMedia

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Just after I posted “8 Essential Boundaries for Social Media” last week, where I shared my Personal Mission Statement for Social Media and Why I am on it and offered you a FREE pdf download to create your own personal social media mission statement, I was introduced to Mandy Hoffman. She is passionate about #ReformingSocialMedia for the glory of God. In fact, her first book is launching today and I get to give 5 copies away to you, my lovely readers!

Talk about perfect timing! I love how the Lord works in bringing His messages forth through his body, the church! So, let me tell you a little about Mandy. She is a sweet, and gentle spirited sister in the Lord. I had the pleasure of having a 2 hour google hangout with her the other day to talk about her book and was so blessed by her heart and the work she has done in this resource. She is a pastor’s wife, a mom, and she is passionate about our responsibility as Christians to be ambassadors for Christ on social media! Because social media has only been around for the last decade or so, there hasn’t been very much biblical teaching regarding how to use social media. There is a lot of help available for businesses, bloggers, and so forth taught at conferences, but not much that really examines what the Word of God says and affects how we as Christians use social media. Mandy’s book does just that. She covers topics such as complaining, gossip, selfless vs. selfish usage, how to deal with someone who has sinned against you on social media and even accountability and stewardship of our resources {like time}.

Though this is not meant to be a parenting book on how to teach your children how to use social media, I do feel this is a resource worth going through yourself as you model for your little ones and young adults God glorifying social media engagement. I also think that the scripture teaching throughout Mandy’s book would be helpful in guiding us as parents in making sure we cover some of the hard hitting issues that need to be verbally communicated with our youth before and as they are on social media.


Here are a few of my favorite quotes from Mandy’s book #ReformingSocialMedia:


“While social media is not sinful, sin abounds in social media. However, wherever there is sin, there is also the opportunity for God to display His redemptive power. “ pg. 36


According to 1 Corinthians 13:4–8 love is… are you these things when you are engaging on social media?


“Clearly, we have a problem when we seek community on a medium that is more about us than it is about others.” Kyle Tennant




“There are times when you may post something that is a hot topic –politics, news events, gun control, education, etc. If you post something and you knowingly can think of someone or several friends who without question will be offended by that post, I am not so sure you should post it. But once again, there is no “one size fits all” answer for this situation. There may be times when it does need to be posted. Several things to consider in this situation are:


Why am I posting this? To anger people or call people to truly think through something? Will this post benefit anyone?


Is it necessary?


Will it hinder my testimony with my unbelieving friends?


Am I prepared to graciously handle the negative feedback I get on this post? And most importantly, will it spread God’s fame or hinder it?”


Gossip begins in your mind when you allow yourself to think wrongly about someone or something… We know we should not talk behind someone’s back (Proverbs 20:19), should not say bad things about them (Proverbs 16:28), should not say untrue things about them (Proverbs 12:17), and should not say things that are true, but do not build that person up (Eph. 4:29).. A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends. (Proverbs 16:28).”

As you can see from just a few excerpts from Mandy’s book, it is worth the hour and a half read. Her book is short, which is good for young adults and busy parents, right!

Purchase #ReformingSocialMedia Here!

  Purchase #ReformingSocialMedia Don’t forget to also grab the Social Media Mission Statement Questionnaire and hop over and read last weeks post on 8 Essential Boundaries to Set for Social Media! praytogether  

We come to you Father, asking that you would give us your wisdom in how to train up the next generation to be prepared for whatever technological advances they may see in their generation and far beyond our years here on earth. We pray that you would make us aware of the sins and temptations to sin that we personally struggle with in regard to social media and what we need to make aware to our children. Help us in the task of equipping them for battle, for cultivating, for sowing, and the reaping of the harvest. May they use social media for your glory alone. Lord Jesus, we are amazed by your word. We know it is alive, active, and profitable for teaching on every subject. But we thank you for showing us this tonight with regard to a topic that is definitely for our generation. You never cease to amaze us. Thank you for giving us everything we need to teach, equip, edify, and make disciples regardless of what century we live in. Thank you for your gospel his-tory, which is sufficient in teaching of every subject and correcting every sin. Equip us now as parents to lead the next generation well, to bring you glory as we are engaging others on social media. Amen.


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