Note: Requesting prayers for Jodie and her family with the loss of her brother, Casey, last week. May the divine love and wisdom of Jesus comfort them.
Without spiritual guidance, social media can become a single point of reference for life, focusing on likes and number of friends and what other people think of you. It is a fear-based mentality that seeks validation from the world, rather than from the divinity within. A recent Blade feature discusses the anxiety teens experience using social media with the “fear of missing out” syndrome, otherwise known as FOMO which inspires social media addiction.
One of the trends that fuels anxiety is the “100 club” which is to garner 100 likes and there is a tremendous amount of importance and judgment teens place into this status, according to Dr. Miller in the Blade feature. The anxiety can be disabling, and if your teen is suffering with compromised relationships and inability to attend school, then treatment may be necessary. Dr. Miller encourages skills over pills. While in some cases pills may be necessary, she encourages parents to get their children working with relaxation therapy, yoga, weight lifting, mindfulness, meditation.
So what can a parent do? Offer your teen the wisdom that comes from your parent heart. This is where your spiritual resilience as a parent becomes critical for your child’s personal security, because we too can get caught up in the signals that society sends to make us feel acceptable. Your faith in your child’s ability to use his or her God-given ability to think for him or herself and at times “stand alone” is critical. What matters is that your child says and does things that are in alignment with your values and grounded in beliefs that are rooted in the truth of your spiritual wisdom.
Have a conversation about where your child perceives their validation or worth comes from? What makes another person or even a crowd clicking “like” on your post qualified to evaluate or pass judgment on you? The logic doesn’t hold up when you examine it in the light of your faith.
God’s love versus Hollywood love
Consider that God’s love, also referred to as Divine Love or Divine Wisdom, offers insights, guidance and knowledge that cannot be known without some measure of faith. When we meditate on the fact that God’s love for humanity covers all of the imperfections of mankind, there can be no judgment of other people that supersedes what God knows is in the heart and mind and the potential of any individual. This love is eternal and transcends human understanding; it builds trust. It offers creative intelligence that makes innovation possible, and it is aggressively seeking to engage the intellect and will of people with hope and mercy.
Hollywood love, on the other hand, is all about the fleeting feelings of the superficial mind and the groupthink of the crowd. Think about the tragic celebrity relationships featured in the tabloids and the celebrity lifestyles we are experiencing in ordinary life through social media wherein we are our own paparazzi. There may be knowledge about individuals involved, but not understanding nor respect.
- Encourage your teen to make a list of the qualities of individuals who are trustworthy and encourage them to nurture those relationships off line as well as on line.
- Make a list of the qualities you admire and respect about your teen and share them with him or her. Remind your child of their magnificence that cannot be denied because you will not surrender your faith to whims of the social network.
To learn more about creating a home characterized by open communication and individual resilience, go to: Fresh Start.
Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She is a mother of two grown sons, the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM. Her new book, A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media is now available for PC and all eReader formats including Kindle, Nook, iPad.
- Cyber safety for kids and families on TheFish103.9FM (videos)
- Follow Joanna @CyberParenting
- Like Banana Moments
- Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner
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- Email: Jullien@surewest.net
Jodie Stevens, hostess of The Fish Family Morning Show on 103.9FM The Fish offers insights and lessons learned about faith and recovery from addiction. Check out her blog, Genuine Life with Jodie Stevens, weekday mornings on the Family Morning Show.