Why teens use social media for validation and how parents can counteract it

selfie2Alright parents, let’s talk selfies and a teens need for validation.  For those of you that may not know quite what a “selfie” is, here is a hint…it’s not a version of Elf on the Shelf.  Haha! I totally have a new theme for Benjamin, the Zig family Elf on the Shelf…shelfies.  Selfies of our Elf doing things and posting them online.  What was I writing about?  Oh, yeah…social media, our teens, and their need for validation.  Here is a quick definition of a selfie:

“A picture taken of yourself that is planned to be uploaded to Facebook, Instagram or any other sort of social networking website. You can usually see the person’s arm holding out the camera in which case you can clearly tell that this person does not have any friends to take pictures of them.  OK, probably not true.  What is true is that a selfie is usually accompanied by a kissy face (aka Duck Face) or the individual looking in a direction that is not towards the camera.”

See parents, I’ve got you covered.  Truth is, I’ve taken some Duck Face free selfies myselfie.  I’d dare say we’ve all gone back and checked to see if whatever we’ve posted on Facebook has been “Liked” or commented on, or if that Instagram photo has any likes or not.  I was actually preaching about this subject and what the Bible says about it, but then the church almost burned down while I was preaching and we had an emergency evacuation. Leave the Youth Pastor in charge…anyway it’s a true story, but that’s for another post.

So, TODAY has posted an article by Carolyn Savage on the subject.  The article is well worth a read and can be found via this link http://www.today.com/moms/selfie-syndrome-why-teens-use-social-media-validation-how-parents-8C11391281

Carolyn hits on three great points.  Here is the Clif Notes version of the “How Parents Can Counteract” part:

I’ve asked my kids to ask themselves three questions before they share via social media.

1.  Am I posting something I’d be embarrassed for my family to see? If yes, stop. Remember, you are creating a permanent cyber footprint. Once you put it out there, it’s out there forever.

2.  Am I posting because I’m hoping someone will make me feel better about my choices? If yes, stop. Remember whose opinion truly matters to you than ask one of them what they think.

3.  Am I posting to hurt someone else? If yes, stop. Cyber-bullying is never OK and there are often serious consequences for hurting someone via social media.

Here is a statement you can use to help with your discussion.

Jesus didn’t seek glory or popularity, and he didn’t seek others’ approval. Jesus simply did what was right—a stance that sometimes brought him favorable attention. (John 8:29, 30) At the same time, Jesus realized that any approval he won from the often-fickle public would be temporary. He acknowledged that in time people would put him to death!—Luke 9:22.

As always, we are from the Alien Youth Department and we’re here to help.   Until next time.  I’m out of here to go check my old Myspace account.  Surely after 8 years of not checking it, I’ve probably got thousands of comments on all my photos!