How Should I Handle Social Media With My Tweens?

A few weeks ago I got a text from a dear friend.  Her husband had posted a survey question on Facebook.

Survey:  who has preteens on Facebook?  I’m not quick to give my son access, but I am curious as to others’ experiences.

The minute it was posted, responses began coming in from parents who were at the same stage of life.  All with differing opinions and letting him know how they were choosing to handle the preteen Facebook dilemma.

Let’s face it, we’ve seen the social media quagmire of false pretenses, stalking, language, and advertisements not to mention the endless selfies spouting where someone has been and who they’re connected to.  Even as adults many are seeing how they easily get sucked into the time sink that often leads to what we lovingly call “chasing squirrels”.

Yes, as parents we have the right to say no or delay the inevitable as long as possible.  

But should we?

We worry about our kids being old enough – or mature enough to handle it.  But I’m not sure any of us are truly mature enough for it until we’ve experienced the downfall of it for ourselves.

Here’s a better question.  Are you willing to be a mentor to your kids in this area of their lives?

Kids need parents who are willing to teach them the pits they might fall into and how to steer clear.  They need someone who will walk beside them as they learn to navigate the unknown world they live in.  

If your preteen is asking about Facebook or Instagram or any other social media, it means their friends are most likely on there.  Like it or not it is how this generation socializes.  So why not walk beside them in the process?

And yes, that means we need to learn how to use it if we don’t already.

Most parents decide that their kid is old enough or mature enough at a certain age and hope for the best–turning them loose to sink or swim.  By then it is too late.  Chances are these kids will already know more about social media than their parents and may not be willing to allow their parents walk beside them. 

If we teach our kids to use social media when they are still at an age when they are open to their parent’s suggestions, they’ll be better prepared to handle potential consequences.

So how can you set it up to be a good experience?

Step 1Ask questions as to why they want social media access.  Let them know you are considering it.

Step 2 Say “yes” if you can devote some time to it.  But be ready with the boundaries:  time bound it (use a timer), put stipulations around when,  and make sure you are available to at least sit in the same room during access time.  Maybe even right beside them for their initial few times.

Step 3Share concerns about their maturity and also some of the situations they may be faced with.  Let them know that you will be reviewing their history and postings and make sure that you have access to passwords.

Step 4Let them know that if you become concerned about what they are saying on social media that you might be compelled to take it away for a period of time. i.e. if they behave maturely they have nothing to worry about. 

Step 5Make sure your kids know they can come to you if they run across things that upset or concern them and you’ll help walk them through it.

Step 6Don’t forget to monitor.

Step 7When they do or say something inappropriate – use it as an opportunity to teach.  

I’ll admit, I’ve had my own pit experience on Facebook where I had to learn humility. I was upset with a sales rep who had made a mistake on my order.  I didn’t catch the mistake until almost a month later.  When she refused to swap it out for my original purchase, I was visibly frustrated.  And wouldn’t you know it, she posted cruise pictures on-line thanking everyone for helping her make her sales goals.  In one of those anger-filled moments of seeing her smiling in front of the cruise ship, I responded to the post with an unkind word.

I tried to delete it, but it had already been posted to the world.  And she saw it.

And instantly I realized that I couldn’t take back what I had written and that I had said something in writing that I would not have said to her face — a rash decision in anger.

And I learned the power of my words – spoken or written.

And I ate humble pie and apologized.

And it was a pivotal humbling experience for me.

And that’s how our kids will grow in maturity–by making mistakes.

If we give them opportunity to make mistakes under our watch, we have opportunity to influence their values in the world they live in.

Dare you to not say no to your kids requests out of fear but to boldly walk through new things with them respecting the fact that they are growing up in today’s culture whether we like it or not.

“Let go…and let God”,














5 Things to Instill in Our Kids as They Play Pokemon Go

Attractive woman wearing sunglasses relaxing in a deckchair in the sun sending an sms on her mobile phone

Pokemon took the world by storm in the late 90’s with kids everywhere getting sucked into the vortex.  I remember well the debate in Christian circles of whether or not we should allow our kids to participate.   It was a time when mainstream churches tended to be black and white.  It was either good or evil.  Those furry creatures could quickly corrupt our kids and pull them into those evil video games (or so we thought).

But the world isn’t so black and white any more.  And I will admit that I was one of those dreaded moms in Christian circles, especially Christian homeschool groups, who allowed my children to play Pokemon.  It took me a while to actually give in to my boys, but after having my seven year old sit down and explain the logic in the card game, we caved.  Besides, those furry creatures were kinda cute.

My boys have fond memories of sitting upstairs in the attic over our garage that we made into their “club house”.  Friends would squirrel away with our kids for Pokemon battles that took place on our makeshift card table with the kerosene heater blazing in winter and the coolness of the fan in summer–that is until our youngest chased the cat and accidentally stepped on the ceiling sending the drywall onto the top of the raised garage door (but that’s a whole different story). 🙂

Who knew that almost two decades later society would once again have an outbreak of the Pokemon craze?  Now on our smartphones no less, with 24/7 opportunities because we “Gotta Catch ‘Em All”.  While we have laws in place against texting a driving, now we’re having car crashes over Pokemon Go and people are litterally falling off cliffs.  Cemetery, museum, and property owners are crying out urging people to stop the madness and show some respect.

I’ll admit, one of my twenty-somethings, who excited about the new game, just came back from a cemetery a few hours ago.  What he witnessed was unbelievably sad.  “Mom, there were well over 100 cars in the place driving around the circles.  Parents were pulling off into the grass and in the chaos driving over graves.  It took security to usher traffic out of the way when a funeral procession pulled in.  Even the groundskeepers were hacked off at the litter they were finding on what is typically pristine grounds.  I saw kids screaming in delight over the lure they acquired while loved ones were their to mourn their deceased loved ones.”


How do we as a society, especially as parents, teach our kids responsibility and respect when surrounded by adults that seem to have neither?

And how do we instill those values in the midst of a world that is glued to their phone like a zombie apocalypse?

It’s easy for our teens and tweens to get wrapped up in the popularity of the game where it becomes all they want to do.  How do we use it to teach values that we want to instill without becoming “one of those parents” always yelling to get their attention?

  1. Get excited with your kids.  Interact and have your kids teach you the strategy.  Take walks together; go explore new neighborhoods.  Become part of their world. You have a unique opportunity here to become engaged.  It’s part of your kids’ culture.
  2. Talk about the problem.  Fun needs to have limits and talking about what is happening in the news with Pokemon helps our kids see the potential dangers of a good thing.  Talk about the car accident, the cliff incident, and respect.
  3. Talk about Pokemon in light of your faith.  Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Or maybe Romans 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. Perhaps you can use these to help your kids put perspective on the amount of time they should be spending focused on the game.
  4. Let the kids help you set boundaries for their game.  Let them know that even though it’s a great game, it can’t be all they do.  Use the game of Pokemon to teach life balance.
  5. Teach your kids to handle disappointment.  When the servers to down help your kids recognize their disappointment.  Talk about it.  Help them understand what they are feeling and move on emotionally.

As Christian parents we need to help our kids navigate the culture in a way that helps guide them away from the pitfalls–not necessarily exclude them from the game. It’s easy for any of us to get lured into the excitement of the electronic gaming world.

But we do need to live in the world.

It’s the how we navigate it that will make an eternal difference.

“Let go…and let God”,


In 15 days, you too can start having a more fulfilling relationship with your teens and tweens.  Click here to find out more.



Got Phone Issues?

Portrait of angry woman screaming on the phone isolated on a white background

“What were we thinking?  They’re bonded to their phones!

 “Relationships?  You’ve got to be kidding!” Read more