Often, in trying to solve a problem, if we just ask the right questions the solution becomes obvious. Think about the young man who asked, “If I don’t watch pornography, how will I know how to have sex?” The obvious solution is for someone — his parents, the church — to talk with him about sexuality, from an early age.
With this in mind, look again at the questions in the previous post.
Q 1: If social media, without my being aware of it, uses psychology to manipulate me into keeping me online because it’s good business for them, regardless of what it does to me … I need to be aware of this and consciously resist.
Qs 2-4: If most of what I do on social media doesn’t really make my life or my relationships with others better, or draw me closer to Jesus or make me more like him … I need to really think about my goals and about who and what is first in my life — who and what I really care about and if what I say on social media reflects that.
Q 5: If most of the time I spend on social media doesn’t help me to achieve my goals and build good relationships with others and with Jesus … then I need to figure out how to limit my time on social media.
Discussing these five questions with your teens should make them aware of why they are so drawn to social media and why it is so difficult for them to limit themselves, even if they want to. To a great extent, as we know, it is not their fault. As Sherry Turkle, Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says, “If we feel addicted to our phones, it is not a personal weakness. We are exhibiting a predictable response to a perfectly executed design” (Reclaiming Conversation, 126).
The next step is for teens to take control of their use of social media. They can, they need to, and a majority want to.
How can you, as a parent or teacher or youth leader, help them to do this?
To be continued …