Your Children And Social Media

girls playing on street

Would you let your child freely interact with strangers? That question is the basis for my thoughts and opinions on children using social media. It is hard to have a simplistic grasp of the explosion of social media. We can share our lives via photo, video, sentences, and a song in an instant. We are interacting in ways that we couldn’t imagine years ago. My 80-year old low-tech dad just followed me on Instagram. Times have changed. Social media has opened avenues of communication that allows the participant to access dozens, hundreds, thousands, and even millions of people. Where do our children fit in the social media picture that is increasingly becoming an integral part of our daily lives?
That brings me back to the first question. Would you let your children freely interact with strangers? The answer for my children is no. In public situations, when strangers approach my children, I make sure I redirect the interaction between me and the stranger. When I’m shopping, I don’t let my children leave my side to interact with people I don’t know. Why would I allow my children to do that on the internet?

Things to think about…
  • Predators are rampant on the internet. They are all over the internet in every social media platform: FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
  • Personal profiles can be easily be created to misrepresent the user. A predator wouldn’t typically identify himself as one on his profile. People are not who they say they are. I just checked into my Instagram account and someone started following me. The profile pic was stock photo of a model. Who knows who the real person is behind the account? I don’t. Neither does your child.
  • Peer pressure to post things for shock value. We are a “like-hungry” society. We crave more likes and reposts on the photos, videos, and words we post on social media. People pay money to buy followers on social media platforms. “Likes,” “Favorites,” “Repins,” and “Reposts,” are the fuel that make social media go. That pressure is on our children to fit in their digital world as well as their physical world. We all know that the easy way to get attention to internet activity is to promote sex and vulgarity. The pressure is on our children to promote the same things!
So when can my kid join in?
I’m going back to my theme. The permissions I allow my children to be in the physical world is similar to the interaction I would allow my children to have on the internet. If I allow my son to work at the local movie theater, where the bulk of his interaction is with people he doesn’t know, then yes, I would allow that in his digital world as well. With boundaries? Yes, and I will set them. Freedom without responsibilities and accountability is not freedom. The process is all about trust, and trust is earned, not given.

What is your involvement?
Parenting is active. Anytime, you don’t interact with your children or you do not actively supervise your children’s activities, it is very likely that your children will go beyond the boundaries. Street signs remind me about the rules while I drive to keep me and others around me safe. Those road signs are not consistent on the internet. The parent must be guiding his/her children, and that includes setting limits on time, content, and interaction. I can and will tell my child, who can and cannot be his internet friends.

The key rule in my house is that all devices stay in the living room. All interaction on all devices happens here. My pre-teens in the house and friends that wanted to video chat today. It had to happen in the living room. I did not have to be in the chat with them, but at least I was within view and earshot of their conversation.

Our children need boundaries the same way a river needs banks. When there are banks, the river is a source of life. When the banks are gone the river becomes a flood. I believe in saying no with purpose. I believe that setting boundaries for your children will help them create boundaries for their own lives.

What are the boundaries in your house for your children? Is it clear? Are you actively involved? Do you have any ideas and tips to share? Comment below.

Flashback Friday: The Days of Pre-Internet Radio

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Just the other day I thought of a song from my high school days and picked up my phone, did a search, and started playing the song not even a minute after I finished my thought. As we are moving toward listening content on demand more and more, I rewinded the clock 30 plus years.

Who remembers what tech was like a just a few decades ago? Were you the one who would wait by the radio anticipating when your favorite song was going to play on your favorite radio station? Was it a stereo, alarm clock radio, or portable radio with the antenna fully extended and turn a certain angle to get the best reception?

Being from the cassette tape generation, I was tried my best to be within arm’s length to my portable stereo (or was it a cassette deck sitting next to a radio) to press the play and record buttons to record the song off the radio. Because the DJ was talking to intro the songs, most songs weren’t recorded until a few seconds into the song.

I used to wait around in my room on Sunday nights to listen to “The Dr. Demento Show” on KROQ. I sing along with the “Fish Heads” song and anything Weird Al. Another thing I did was read along with a storytelling of “Star Wars: A New Hope” on a radio program. I don’t know how I found out about it, but I borrowed a book from the library to follow along as the story was read over the radio.

Those were unique experiences. The explosion of technological advances today are exciting, and creative people are continue to make unique experiences. Still, I think not having access to media back in the day created an anticipation and enthusiasm that could be put the “Good Times” drawer of my memory bank for future nostalgic moments like the one I am having right now.

What are your memories from the past that cannot be duplicated today because of technology? I think the more important question is how do you create unique experiences for yourself? for your family? for your business team? for your church community? for your friends?

Comment below and of course I am open to your suggestions for my 80’s playlist too!

Saving Memories on Video

I remember capturing a video of my son riding his skateboard about 10 years ago. I used my Sony video camera to capture about ten seconds of footage of my son riding his skateboard towards me. Afterwards, I plugged my video camera into my laptop and uploaded the video from the camera to the computer. From there, I was able to edit the video on my computer then burn the finished video on DVD. The video wasn’t just about my son riding his skateboard, but I remember that segment took about 15 minutes from upload to editing.

It is amazing how much technology is advancing at a blazingly fast pace. I took this video of my daughters launching their rockets at a science camp last week. I used my iPhone, and yes, I realize I could also use an Android or Windows phone as well, but I own an iPhone. The video clips never left my phone. I assembled about 4 clips and added transitions and music. I finished the video in less than 10 minutes. I was ready to share my video with my family and friends via email, text, YouTube, FaceBook, and all the other social-media-video-sharing apps available.

When I finished I asked myself, “Did I really just make a home movie on my phone?” Yes, I did. I think I made my first video on my phone years ago, but it is just getting easier each year. No more looking for cables and discs. I believe it is important to record the moments for yourself and your loved ones. Technology is making it easier.

Before iRadio

20130618-130521.jpg
As we are moving toward listening content on demand more and more, it’s time to go back in time to see what tech was like a couple of decades ago. I am old enough to have interacted with radio programming in the pre-internet days. Eventhough I’m predominantly visual, I still listened to radio. Here’s a few things I did outside of just listening to music.

  • I listened to The Dr. Demento show on Sunday nights.
  • I read along with a storytelling of “Star Wars: A New Hope” on a radio program.
  • I used the cassette tape player to record music playing from the radio station.

Those were unique experiences. The explosion of technological advances today are exciting, and creative people are continue to make unique experiences. Still, I think not having access to media back in the day created an anticipation and enthusiasm that lead to nostalgic moments like the one I’m having right now. What are your memories from the past that cannot be duplicated today because of technology?

we simplify, we perfect, we start over


This was the opening video for Apple’s WWDC this past week. It’s simple and powerful. We simplify. We perfect. We start over. Apple’s take on design. It’s more than just a look. Where else does this approach apply?