So many of us are gathered here in Atlanta for Orange Conference 2014. Preconference has begun, which means we’re privileged to sit in breakouts led by great ministry leaders. Jon Acuff, best-selling author of four books, including “Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work That Matters,” and social media expert, led a hilariously captivating session this morning on “Understanding the Effects of Social Media on Kids and Students.”
Jon’s message was loud and clear that we must talk to our kids and parents about social media. Just like we wouldn’t simply hand keys to our child the day they turn 16 years old without ever talking to them about the rules and showing them the ropes, so we should never assume that our kids are ready for social media if we’ve never talked to them about it. (“Don’t assume they’re web savvy just because they’re tech savvy.”)
And kids aren’t the only ones who need the social media lessons—parents are hungry for help in their own social media lives. Jon suggested that churches could offer an outreach to their community by inviting parents in for a night to talk about social media practices and give them some tools to help them (and help them help their kids) navigate the social media world with wisdom. Jon also encouraged the church not to demonize social media, but to look at both sides of the coin and learn how to leverage social media for the good of the kid, the family and the community.
Jon reminded us that so often, the world starts talking to our kids before we do.  We can change that today.
If you’d like to hear more from Jon, check out his interview on the live stream from #OC14 (starting at 11 a.m. Thursday morning): http://makingoforange.com. Also, for more of Jon’s insights into parenting, check out Orange’s blog Parent Cue (formerly known as Orange Parents).