Who taught you to drive a car?
I don’t know about you, but I will always remember each night once I turned 16 driving up and down my road with my stepdad learning how to drive with a clutch. It took hours of him teaching me, and hours of me driving in all different kinds of conditions. Driving in town, on dirt roads, in the snow, and on the highway. It takes time to learn how to do something so critical as driving a car. It’s an essential part of growing up, and for a lot of teenagers, it’s a passage of rites. It allows them to have freedom. To be on their own. It changes their world.
Along came a digital device called a phone. Everyone today has one. The real question is, Are we teaching our kids how to use them? I don’t think we are. Actually, the more I talk to parents and teachers, it feels like we are losing the battle against a digital tidal wave. There has to be a way to teach teenagers about how to use digital devices, and social media in the world today. It’s not just giving a kid a phone and letting them do whatever they think is “ok”.
Recently, I stumbled across a blogger (Scary Mommy) and her social media plan for her daughter. I love this idea. We need to think more strategically about how we are raising our kids to use digital devices and social media. We need a strategy. We need to start a conversation with our kids.
I have been working on a social media contract that I will included in my free printable youth pastor resource. My big question is what would you add? If you were to give this to parents in your church, or in your home, what would you add? What would you take out? Is there enough grace? Please let me know by leaving a comment below.
Social Media Contract For Students.
- I agree to keep my settings at “private” at all times.
- I agree not to post any pictures of body parts. I will only post pictures of myself or friends. I understand this is not because there is anything wrong or shameful with any parts of my body, but that it is not healthy to sexualize myself.
- I agree not to post sexualized images. This includes kissing of any kind, grabbing body parts or making sexual gestures of any kind. The internet is not a safe place for a young person to be silly in a sexual way.
- I agree to be respectful of myself and others in the words and images I use. This includes agreeing not to use social media to mock, tease, embarrass, gossip, or reveal secrets.
- I agree for safety not to reveal the specific place I am when I am there. For example, I will not post a picture saying “I am at the pool with a friend and then we are walking home.”
- I agree to immediately tell an adult family member if I ever receive any threatening or sexual messages on social media.
- I agree not to view pornography. I understand that sex is a wonderful and healthy part of a health marriage, but that pornography is different than sex, and not healthy for a young person. I agree that if I accidentally stumble across pornography or a friend shows it to me, I will stop watching it.
- I agree to acknowledge that everything I put online is permanently available, even if it can be immediately deleted or hidden. I understand that when I am older, and an adult, someone can look up my name and find every single thing that I have put online. This includes bosses, boyfriends/girlfriends, and future family and friends.
- I agree that when I am having family time, I will put my devices away. This goes for the adults as well.
- I agree to be done with all tech including my phone by _________ nightly unless I have asked for and received an exception.
- I agree to keep my phone at night in a common area other than my bed room.
- If I do not follow these agreements. I understand that I will lose my social media privileges for as long as my parents feel it is necessary .
Name: ________________ Signed: _____________________