Living Through the Lens
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I can remember, long ago, dropping off rolls of film at the store, waiting a week for the pictures to be developed, and then paying for the photos—whether they were good or not. We’ve come a long way with today’s digital cameras and the camera function on our phones and other devices. Most of us carry a camera wherever we go!
Moderation and Technology
Pictures are a beautiful way to stay connected, especially when we don’t live close to those we love. I enjoy posting personal and ministry pictures on social media and sharing them with friends and family. I’m glad when they share pictures with me. Pictures often communicate more vibrantly than words. But just because it’s easy to take good pictures and post them on social media doesn’t mean we always should. Just as with all technology, moderation is appropriate. Let’s explore four questions that can guide you to model balance for your kids in social-media photo sharing:
Am I Fully Present with My Children?
Often our camera and the photos we want can seem to be a higher priority than our children. To them, it can appear like they’re acting in a play, and we’re the audience. If we want to connect with them, we can’t afford to be observers looking for the perfect photo op. By not really being present with them in the moment, we miss out on joy and opportunities to personally love and influence them.
Should I Share This Moment?
Just because we photograph something doesn’t mean we should share it on social media. Some things should remain private and intimate. Children can question whether what we say we just enjoyed was about them or about us sharing them.
Is This Picture Good Enough?
Digital photography allows us to easily take numerous photos, trying to get better shots each time. When we don’t, we can correct them. We can change lighting, crop out what we don’t want, eliminate red-eye, and much more. In her book No More Perfect Moms, Jill Savage suggests that this attempt to make things more perfect might be buying into “the perfection infection.” Sometimes, in an effort to break the “perfection infection,” we should decide the pictures we take are good enough without editing.
Am I Contributing to the Narcissism I Complain About?
It’s normal for teens to be somewhat self-centered. It’s part of their journey to independence. But it’s good to evaluate whether your teen is more interested in his or her own appearance, importance, and abilities than you think is healthy and normal. The narcissistic tendencies of this younger generation are definitely on the list of complaints I hear about when I talk with people about today’s youth.
But how did today’s young people get so focused on themselves? How much of the blame for that belongs to our generation? Could it be that we are unwittingly contributing to the “all-about-me” attitudes so prevalent in this generation? Are you posting a lot of photos from their concerts, sporting events, and parties? Do your social-media platforms appear to be more about them than about you? Sometimes our good intentions have unexpected consequences. One friend posted on Facebook about a dance her daughter was going to attend. She commented about the great deal they got on her dress and shoes. How did she end her post? Not with, “I hope she has a great time.” No, it ended with, “I can’t wait to post pictures!” I’m not sure it crossed her mind what message that might be sending!
Preteens and teenagers are looking to technology to meet their felt needs. Many feel secure with their tech tools—take them away and they don’t know who they are. Of course, technology is essential in today’s educational, vocational, and social cultures, but a good thing can be easily abused, and preteens and teenagers are highly susceptible to this abuse.
Parents report their children are often angry, complain regularly, don’t know how to handle downtime, and are selfish. Screens and Teens: Connecting With Our Kids in a Wireless World will inform and educate parents on how these and other character issues, attitudes, and beliefs are rooted in technology. Understanding the surprising connections will prepare them to discuss the dangers and traps of technology with their adolescents and implement strategies to connect with them.
For more information and free helpful downloads, visit www.screensandteens.com/freevideo
Adapted from Screens and Teens by Kathy Koch, PhD. ©2015 Moody Publishers. All Rights Reserved