Thursday, January 19, 2012

Social Media and the Church Part 4

4. Proper Use of Social Media (safety)

We all have a personal identity (social security number, credit identity, etc) and social identity (facebook, twitter, etc).  Those who have kids are very aware of their children and teens social identities because they have heard from the media how easily a hacker or predator can swoop in and convince good kids to do unsafe things.

Being safe online, whether it be making sure your credit is frozen so no one can steal your identity, or making sure you rotate passwords with email, Facebook, Twitter,  Itunes, Amazon, Xbox Gamertags, Blogs or any other "accounts" you have out there is something that many of us forget to do.

Did you know that if you are playing Xbox live you can talk to millions of people all over the world because you might be playing a similar game online.  I learned this from my nephews recently.  As we played some games over Christmas I was stunned to hear language from others that was less than kind (you can mute them).  I was also stunned at the realization that children and teens could have online, live discussions through headsets or even with the Xbox Connect (live video chat) with zero parental knowledge.

Social media and the way we connect will continue to evolve over time.  There will always be new things coming and the way we as parents monitor the influences in the lives of children will need to change as well.  There is no need to unplug your kids Xbox or other game system as of yet.
We will always need to renew our desire and passion for teaching kids and adults smart and healthy was of using social media.

You never really know who is at the other end of the line because anonymity is foundational to the online life for some.

Where does the church fit into this conversation?

We need to remain that light in the darkness and help people who have been scammed or hacked to walk with them through the process of healing and dealing with these issues.
The church must continue to provide a standard of leadership by which we do not judge others, but help identity healthy ways for us to use social media to share the gospel, help people connect and make a difference in this world.

Safety for many things in our lives is a big concern.  With vigilance, a willingness to learn and lead in this area, we can better protect our kids, teens and ourselves from the dangers of the online life.  Just like your regular life, there are similar people who push our buttons and attempt to drag us in the wrong direction.

Please keep your life whole.  Do not fracture your life into many different worlds of work, church, online, personal, social, etc.  Be yourself and be honest with others.

Go in peace and go with God.

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