After reading a blog titled FYI (if you're a teenage girl), I was challenged and inspired as a mom of a fifteen year old boy. Blogger, Kim Hall, shares openly and respectfully her thoughts on her three teenage sons (and younger daughter) social media use, and adds that as a family, they stay connected and involved in all of their children's social media. I encourage you to read her blog (click here).
I am not as diligent as Mrs. Hall, however, I am involved. I often look through all of my sons social media outlets (and yes, we do have all his passwords). Her focus was on teen girls who post provocative or inappropriate (according to her family standards) pictures of themselves. When I come across someone that my son follows on any of his social media outlets, I make a point not to base my opinion on one comment or picture. I will scroll through, and if in my opinion, there seems to be a pattern of acceptance of something my husband and I deem inappropriate for our son to see or read, I will have my son unfollow that person.
I have my son unfollow those who appear to have pictures or quotes that promote drugs, marijuana usage, sexual or provocative content, F-bombs, or anything else I consider questionable or inappropriate. Just because I consider something to be questionable or inappropriate, that is not judgement, that is simply me exercising a personal boundary within my comfort zone and beliefs.
I know I don’t catch everything, and honestly that is not my goal, because I ultimately want my son to learn to self-regulate and make good choices. If I have my son unfollow someone it’s not that I am being judgmental or that I think that person is wrong. I am simply trying to be the one who influences my child more than you (the world). After all, he is my child and it’s up to me to raise him and impart the values and morals that my husband and I feel are important. It is impossible now days to filter everything because as a society, I feel we have continued to become more and more desensitized to sex, drug usage, marijuana usage, vulgar language, and nudity (even porn). None of this is new and I know parents have been fighting this battle forever.
There was also another blog I recently read that in my opinion, gave a little more balance to Mrs. Hall's blog. Nate Pyle writes as a father to his son about taking personal inventory and being a man of integrity more than placing the responsibility on "the world" or women, as far as what his eyes see and linger on, in his blog Seeing a Woman: A conversation between a father and son.
Self-control is a challenging fruit of the spirit to continually master, one that I pray my son will strive to maintain. While I agree and applaud Mr. Pyle, I also concur that Mrs. Hall has valid points as well.
Ultimately it’s up to each family (parents) to decide what is appropriate for the children and teens and what isn't. I have taught my son that it is important to be aware of what you post, say, like, or comment on, because whether you like it or not there are parents like Mrs. Hall or myself (and several of my friends) who are watching and while I am not deeming you guilty (because I have a past and I am a believer in second chances, grace, and mercy),I am staying involved, because as I said earlier, this is about my son and I want to be the one who influences him the most. When he is an adult he will get the chance to decide what he chooses to embrace or not, of the values and morals my husband and I believe in, until then, as I tell my son, he is stuck with me and I love him more than he can imagine.
If you're still with me and I hope you are, I would like to give you one last thing to consider...the song Slow Fade by Casting Crowns
There is always HOPE!
*Disclaimer: I am not saying my son has never posted or liked something that he later realized was not along the lines of our family values... and I will continue to be involved in how he presents himself in the world of social media, as well as those whom he follows.