20-social-media-iconsDid you know ?

Facebook is now 1 Billion strong…If it were a country, it would be the 3rd largest country in the world…It is not allowed in China…And over 50% of its population is under the age of 30.

Each day, 20% of Google searches have never been searched before.

In 10 years over 40% of the Fortune 500 will no longer be here.

Social Media is now the #1 activity on the web…keep in mind these sites are not welcomed in China…

Social Media affects our offline relationships…1 in 5 couples meet on the internet…and 1 in 5 divorces are blamed on Facebook.

Some universities have STOPPED distributing email accounts….today's generations consider email out of date.

Every minute 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube. If Wikipedia were an actual book it would be 2.25 million pages long and would take 7 years to read if you read 600 words per minute for 16 hours a day….except it is continually being added to!

New Yorkers received tweets about an east coast earthquake 30 seconds before they felt it.

Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Katy Perry have more twitter followers than the ENTIRE POPULATIONS of Germany, Turkey, South Africa, Canada, Argentina and Egypt.

Babies in Egypt have recently been named Facebook and Twitter. 

(Socialnomics by Erik Qualman, 2013)

These statistics are staggeringly incredible, and by the time you read this article they will likely be outdated. This world may seem overwhelming to the bulk of our newsletter readers, but the ones who would resonate with these facts will never pick up our newsletter, though some will read the blog version that will post to our church Facebook page or online at our church website. So what does all this mean for the world in which we currently live? It means we now navigate in uncharted territories…and we parent in uncharted territories.

We gathered this past Saturday to learn from Social Media expert, Wendy Manganaro, how to keep our children safe when using social media. During this workshop we learned of 15 different social media sites our children are currently actively using. Many of these sites are not regulated, though most have privacy setting options. Incidentally, 25% of social media users do not bother with privacy settings (refer to the above statistics about Facebook users). Even with the privacy setting options, there are a myriad of ways to negotiate around these settings…and kids are using these methods of skirting privacy to engage in cyber-bullying. Over half of all adolescents have been the victim of cyber-bullying. Ironically, the same number report having participated in it. 

Today, employers and universities use sophisticated social media searches to determine an applicants' eligibility for employment or acceptance. There are now reported incidents where youth simply 'tagged' in a photo that depicts drinking or drug use, whether that teen participated or not, were denied entry into colleges based on the 'guilty by association' notion. In the state of Kentucky it is perfectly legal for an employee or college recruiter to request your Facebook username and password. Your future may depend upon your answer to their request or what they find if you comply.  

Many parents 'friend' their children on social media in an effort to try to keep their children safe. What many fail to realize, is the rate of social media growth and change makes it ultimately impossible to keep up with everything. Snapchat is a new media which allows users to take a snapshot photo, add a caption and send it to a friend…then it disappears within a matter of seconds…or does it? We are already discovering that what happens electronically, forever leaves a trail…Nothing ever really disappears…and a quick search revealed 14 of OUR kids are current Snapchat users (most without their parents' knowledge). You can only imagine the mischief kids can find with this little gem.

What makes all this a matter of our faith? What doesn't? The saying, 'it takes a village to raise a child' is no less true today than it has ever been. Unfortunately today's village numbers in the billions and is ultimately indefinable. Everything about this world in which we live is a question of our faith. You may think we have no guide to help us navigate this strange new world, but that is not true. The Bible reminds us in Matthew 10:16, 'Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.'

I suppose the more things change, the more they stay the same.