Your teens and social media: Why the problem is more than just a phone

It isn’t a stretch to say that most parents of teens have likely experienced at least a little anxiety when it comes to their child and social media. When is the best age to give them a phone? What kind of world will they now have at their fingertips? Am I opening them up to hurt, sin, and pain?

In a new piece for the Gospel Coalition, author Kristen Hatton explains why the concerns with social media extend beyond the phone.

“While outside influences are sources of temptation, our own fallen nature leads us to think and act sinfully. The negative behaviors we fear, then, are byproducts of what’s going on in our idolatrous hearts,” she writes. “The heart is the problem for our teenagers, and also for us.”

“[I]f we only address what’s on the surface—the easily seen sin—and don’t help our teens dig down to the ruling idols of their hearts, we will never facilitate real changes,” she adds.

That idol is is the idol of comparison. That’s what social media makes so easy to feed: the need for likes, the desire for a “perfect selfie,” and the “at least I’m better than them” attitude.

Hatton concludes:

Turning to false gods and looking to secure “life” in things that weren’t meant to define us will always leave us empty. To be filled, we must peel our eyes away from self and look full into the face of the One who’s work in our place was perfect. Our soul will feel its worth only when we see Jesus for who he is—and who he is for us.

That’s what needs to be a bigger concern than simply putting guidelines on social media (although guidelines are important). Read the entire article over at The Gospel Coalition.

Now read: Read the contract a Christian illusionist made his teen daughter sign to get a phone


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