Friday, February 17, 2012

A Mixed Bag

Image: imagerymajestic /
I guess the following post caught my eye because it always amazes me how much negative stuff is posted about teens. "Why do we assume the worst about teens?" challenges us to examine our instinctive perceptions of and reactions to teenagers and be mature and responsible in our interactions with them.

Why do we assume the worst about teens? |
Before we even have a teen living in our house, we hear the parenting tales from older friends or the horror stories on the news. We begin to assume that teens are wreaking havoc on society — drinking, driving, and texting ...

The other aspect of it, is that adults often set poor examples for teens as well as seek to exploit teens. Below is a prime example of this. It also reminds us of why we need to continually remind teens (and adults) to use caution in the online world.

Porn Site Caught Using Teens' Facebook Photos | WebProNews
Porn Site Caught Using Teens' Facebook Photos. Seventeen girls, some as young as fourteen involved. By Josh Wolford · 19 hours ago · 2 Comments. Girls at a Boston area Vocational High School are a little more than upset ...

Although some things are beyond anyone's control, exercising caution and oversight still matters. Adults, in being mature and responsible, will help teens to be aware of the potential pitfalls in online, including social media usage. They will also help teens to avoid linear uses of the internet and social media that may be harmful in other ways. The next post reminds us that different teens have different needs, interact with media differently and need different types of nudges and guidance.

Teens with Autism Choose Television,Video Games over Social ...
A recent study has shown that teens with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are far more likely to spend their screen time in a non-interactive way. Socially interactive media, such as email and chat clients will often be ...

However, at the end of the day, we need to remember the tremendous potential of the internet and social media for learning and for good. We see this here:

Social Media Makes Teens Aware Of Others' Needs, Study Says
Here's something worth liking: Social media usage makes teens more aware of others' needs. About 55 percent of teens ages 13 to 17 said Facebook and Twitter have opened their eyes to what others are experiencing, ...

It is a mixed bag, I confess. The questions for us are:
  • How would we assess our attitudes toward and expectations of youth? This influences how we interact with them.
  • What type of guidance do we give to our students with respect to internet use and social media? 
  • Is our guidance one size fits all or do we recognize different types and needs? Which is linked to, how well do we know the students with whom God has entrusted us?
  • In our ministries, how are we harnessing the tremendous potential of the internet and social media for learning and for good?
Loving God, Loving Neighbor
Developing Faithful Leaders for a Diverse Church and World Now and in the Future

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