social networking and middle schoolers

my most recent middle school ministry column in youthworker journal is online. here’s a tease:

Social Networking and Middle Schoolers: Not Necessarily a Good Fit

I’m sure this issue of YouthWorker Journal will be filled with amazing ideas and reflections on the use of social media in youth ministry. As a youth ministry trainer, I’ve often talked about the amazing ministry tools of Facebook and text messaging, the power of social networking and other rah-rah techno-encouragements.

I’ve also cautioned that online contact can supplement effectively, but not fully replace face-to-face contact. Like most of you, I’ve leveraged Facebook and other social networking tools in order to reconnect with scores of former students, lengthening the years of ministry and input I’m able to have in the lives of teenagers and young adults.

However, when it comes to the day-to-day ministry work I do with middle schoolers, I have to face up to something about this hoopla: Most of the techno-wonder pertains to ministry with high school ministry.

read the rest of the column on the youthworker journal site.

5 thoughts on “social networking and middle schoolers”

  1. Thanks for bringing this up! I have a policy that I won’t “friend” anyone on facebook under 13 because they aren’t supposed to be there. I have a couple who have been annoyed by it… one young woman is turning 13 on Sunday and is super excited that her “present” will be me friending her! haha.

    However, it drives me crazy because I can tell that all the other adults I know from our church have become their friends… I can’t decide if it’s worth a mention sometime of, “By the way, do you realize that they have to lie to join?” or if that will seem too over the top.

    It frustrates me at times that most of the middle school students I work with don’t text, because it makes it hard to connect with them on my end – but, I support their parents keeping them out of the texting realm for a bit longer, and I know I should be happy to make the extra effort to call their home phone or send a note by mail!

  2. To be honest, this is not something I have thought much about. But I think the idea of not friending students under 13 (thanks Kelly!) is a good one. This is an issue I am going to have to give some more thought to!

  3. Whoa I must confess that I hadn’t seen the social networking issue from this angle. That’s on me, I really need to re-evaluate. Thanks for the article, it was well written and well thought out and clearly birthed out of experience. Definitely good food for though.

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