TECHNOLOGY AND BCC|YOUTH
As a volunteer here with bcc|youth you will inevitably find yourself in the position of trying to help both kids and parents navigate the world of technology that teenagers are immersed in. It comes with the territory of loving the students God has placed in our care.
Research conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics shares some great insight on teenage technology use. This research gives us a chance to step back and evaluate the role of technology in our kids’ lives:
1 in 5 teens logs onto a social media site more than 10 times a day.
1 in 2 teens logs on more than once a day.
3 of 4 teens own a cell phone, and 25% use them for social media.
1 of 3 6th-graders owns a smart phone.
1 in 5 teens have texted or posted nude or seminude photos or videos of themselves.
Facebook itself is remarkable. In the first quarter of 2009, every week, five million people joined Facebook. Its membership doubled from one hundred million to two hundred million from August 2008 to March 2009. Perhaps most incredible, the vast majority of its members—140 million, in fact—have only been on the rolls since February 2007. That’s 140 million users in just over two years.
“Facebook depression,” or the feeling that one doesn’t measure up in the face of their peer’s Facebook profiles, is a rising trend among social media-using teens. Adults are not immune.
1 in 10 teens are awakened almost every night by a phone call, text, or email, leading to sleep deprivation. Sleep loss is also connected with higher drug use.
Given these facts, here are some ways we can leverage technology to help us reach the next generation as well as some things to be aware of as you utilize these tools.
Cell phones, e-mail and communication technologies make it easy and cost-effective to talk and connect with students instantly. Students prefer communication technologies and are way more open to talk when they are hiding behind their computer/smart phone keyboard than they are in small group. Start on the keyboard and move to face to face time.
Through social networking programs such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter, we can now connect, interact and know the details of each other’s lives like never before. The goal is to cultivate both our online and offline relationships with our students.
TEXT MESSAGING IS THE WAY!
Students won’t call you back, but they will text you back. According to Mashable, teenagers send and receive 3,339 text messages a month. With that said, it may be wise to get an unlimited text-messaging plan when working with students.
Utilize social media to help push student ministry activities. Create a Facebook page that is worth visiting. Be intentional by always updating what is happening in your student ministry. Pictures and videos speak volumes, so upload media regularly.
Boundary Setting For Technology Use In Student Ministry:
Always be asking the question: How is the use of technological tools helping us move towards our ministry objectives?
Monitor and filter social media profile pictures and status updates. Since we live in the digital age, we need to remember that online social networks are considered public space (facebook, instagram, spotify, vine, snapchat, etc.) Therefore, all conversations, pictures, groups, etc. must be appropriate and “wholesome.” Keep these networks under control and delete unwanted content immediately.
Since we live in the digital age, we need to remember that online social networks are considered public space (facebook, instagram, spotify, vine, snapchat, etc.) Therefore, all conversations, pictures, groups, etc. must be appropriate and “wholesome.” Keep these networks under control and delete unwanted content immediately.
No late night conversations via text messages or any social media platform. As a general rule, don't have conversations with students after 9:00 pm.
Don’t use communication technologies with students during the school day.
Unplug. Make sure to find times during the day and during the week to NOT be on social media sites.
ALWAYS be mindful. Remember that parents read what is on the phones and social network platforms. Only say what you want parents to know.
The use of technology should be used to enhance what you are already doing and to potentially change the way you are doing it, but only if it furthers the Kingdom and the mission of bcc|youth. Just being connected for the sake of being connected will waste the resource that technology can be. As a leader with bcc|youth, please help us continue to identify WHY our student ministry should be a part of social media and HOW we can better leverage social media to help our students better connect.