What Impact Does Social Networking Have on Teens?
With the surging popularity of social-networking sites, chances
are that your teenagers spend the bulk of their online time
connecting and chatting with friends. (Chances are that you’ve
jumped on the bandwagon, too.)
At Facebook, the most popular social-networking site, users
make and keep in touch with friends, post pictures, and update
their online “profiles.” Other social-networking sites include
MySpace, Friendster, and Xanga. Twitter, another fast-growing
network, combines interconnectivity with “microblogging.” Users
write frequent, short bursts of information (also known as
“tweets”) to keep up-to-the-minute current with one another.
All this online friend-forming is affecting teenagers’ development, according to experts. Researchers say
social-networking sites are shortening attention spans, encouraging instant gratification, and making young
people more self-focused. A British neurologist warns that extended use of the sites actually rewires the
brain, causing teenagers to require constant reassurance that they exist. Other dangers are more subtle.
Kids may no longer spend time completely alone, enjoying the benefits of reflection and solitude. Yet they
may feel isolated because they’re less likely to be communicating with the real humans in their homes,
schools, and churches. Finally, teenagers may focus even more on all the worries that accompany
adolescence. So instead of escaping from their problems, kids dwell on them even more.
Use this issue of “The Parent Link” to start exploring your teenagers’ social-networking habits.
Teenagers longing to be loved and admired
may find comfort in having large numbers
of online “friends.” But they also need
authentic friendships with people who can
help them grow. The small-group
curriculum Guy Talk, Girl Talk (from Simply
Here’s a snapshot of online social activities:
Youth Ministry) offers these insights:
• Teenagers spend an estimated 40 hours online each
It’s important to be known in a personal and
week (or 5.7 hours each day).
meaningful way. The world sends the message
that more is better, but God’s Word says that
• 65% of online teenagers have profiles on social-
“many companions” won’t lead to anything
good. The outcome is much different for the
person who has a friend that is closer than
• 31% of social-networking teenagers have “friends”
family (see Proverbs 18:24). To make friends
on their profiles whom they haven’t personally met.
that last, teenagers should…
• The average number of “friends” in a Facebook
1. Be wise in choosing friends. Friendship
network is 120.
can’t be rushed. Pick a friend you can trust.
2. Be authentic in your friendships. You
can only be as close to your friends as
you’re willing to allow them.
3. Be willing to be held accountable. A
friend can provide helpful perspective. Truth
can hurt, but it can also help us grow.
to Ask Your Kids
Start a conversation with
your teenagers about their
1. God will protect your teenagers when they’re interacting online.
1. How much time are you
2. Your teenagers will be prudent about their online socialization and will
online each week? How many
reflect their faith in everything they do and say.
online friends do you have?
3. Your teenagers will make authentic, meaningful friends who help
2. How many genuine friends
them grow as people and as Christians.
would you say you have? Is
social interaction easier for
4. Your teenagers will stay connected to their families, a church, and
you on-screen than in
other real-life support systems.
person? Why or why not?
3. Do you have friends who
Verse of the Month
keep you accountable, and
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches…. There is no greater
vice versa? How well does
love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my
friends if you do what I command.” (John 15:5, 13-14)
4. How up-to-date is God
Through faith in Jesus, we have the ultimate “connection” and the
about your life? If you talked
ultimate friend. Jesus showed friendship by giving his life for us. We, in
to God more, how might your
turn, obey him out of love and share the good news of salvation with
relationship with him change?
others. The best thing we can do for our friends is tell them about Jesus.
What’s Up With Kids
At SimplyYouthMinistry.com, youth-culture expert Walt Mueller chats up social-networking sites.
Millions of teenagers now expose themselves, their feelings, and
their thoughts in personal blogs (web logs) posted on one of the
many social-networking websites. Public online journals have
replaced hidden, locked private diaries. Today, both teenage girls
and their male peers are openly sharing their "secrets" for anyone in
the world with Internet access to see. Kids use blogs to vent and
share commentary about every aspect of teenage life. They also post
pictures of themselves, artwork, and personality profiles. Self-
expression is encouraged, and the sites are highly interactive. Here
are suggestions for dealing with this phenomenon:
First, know what your kids are doing online. Ask if they have their own blog page and if you can see it.
Otherwise, spending some time online can usually get you to their online home. Register for free at the
homepage of Facebook.com, Xanga.com, or MySpace.com. Then use the site's “search” capability to find
your town or school. You’ll be flying through a Web of local kids’ sites with familiar names and faces.
Eventually, you should find what you're looking for.
Second, read carefully without overreacting. You’ll probably find some things on these sites that are
surprising and alarming. While some of it might be marked by exaggeration and embellishment, most
depicts what’s going on in kids’ lives. Look for clues that will help you discover their problems, challenges,
concerns, and struggles. Remember, you’re looking through a window into their world.
Third, carefully and prayerfully prepare your response. Warn teenagers about Internet predators.
Discuss what you’ve read with your kids. Assure them that your concern is motivated solely by your love
and care for them. Most importantly, bring the light of God’s Word to bear on kids’ issues and struggles.
This page is designed to inform and educate parents and isn’t meant to endorse any music or movie.
Our prayer is that you will make informed decisions on what your kids listen to and watch.
Background: Green Day has been around for
Background: FM Static is a pop-punk side band
almost 20 years. Their sound remains as pop-punky
started by two members of the Christian hardcore
as ever, but the lyrics have deepened—tackling
group Thousand Foot Krutch. Two of the band’s
issues such as war, politics, and organized religion.
YouTube videos have become huge Internet hits,
Green Day has sold 22 million records in the United
garnering millions of views.
States and has won three Grammy Awards.
Albums: Dear Diary (2009), Critically Ashamed
Albums: 21st Century Breakdown (2009), American
(2006), What Are You Waiting For? (2003)
Idiot (2004), Dookie (1994)
What Parents Should Know: Dear Diary is an
What Parents Should Know: Green Day’s angry-
interesting comparison to Green Day’s latest release.
punk attitude sounds tired, now that band
It’s also a concept album about two teenagers who
members are middle-aged multimillionaires. Their
are dealing with big issues. The difference is that on
new album is about a young, disenfranchised
Dear Diary, these questions ultimately lead to God.
couple who feels left behind by the church, the
FM Static is a positive alternative to Green Day,
state, and adults. The band’s pessimistic outlook
while addressing some of the same tough issues.
believes in self, leaving no room for God.
What FM Static Says: Singer Trevor McNevan
What Green Day Says: Singer Billie Joe
discusses the album’s autobiographical roots: “There
Armstrong reflects on the state of pop culture:
are a lot of…things that I remember thinking. Things
“People want blood. They want to see other people
like big life questions, and also things that seem so
thrown to the lions.”
big when you’re in high school and then you look
back at them now and think, ‘That's hilarious, it
Discussion Questions: When have you felt
totally didn’t matter.’ ”
abandoned by someone, and how did it affect you?
Read Deuteronomy 31:6-8. Can God’s love and
Discussion Questions: Read Psalm 37:1-9. Why
presence replace that of a human’s? How might
should we trust God? Is that hard or easy for you,
God’s promise in these verses make it easier to
and why? What “big life questions” do you struggle
deal with abandonment by others? Explain.
with the most right now, and how can God help?
Movie: Star Trek
Rating: PG-13 (for sci-fi action and violence, and brief sexual content)
Synopsis: Director J.J. Abrams is at the helm of this fun, much-needed reboot of the
beloved science-fiction series. Captain Nero, a Romulan madman, blames just about
everyone for his family’s death. He is seeking revenge, and that’s the framework for
introducing us to the young new crew of the USS Enterprise.
Discussion Questions: Kirk has problems with authority in this film. Is it ever okay to push back against
authority? Explain. Read Romans 13:1-5. What do these verses say about the source of authority? What
should a Christian do if people in authority are corrupt or cruel? What if their actions go against biblical
teaching? What does rebellion say about how much we trust God?
This month’s FUSION Series is called “New Friend Request”. Here’s what we’ll be
We all want friends—even if we don’t want to admit it. We all want someone to hang out with,
someone to talk to, someone who knows us. But friendship requires something from us. It’s not
just what we get or what makes us feel comfortable or happy. There’s a smart way to do
friendship, a way with intention, a way that will draw us closer to God’s heart—if we surround
ourselves with the right people. That doesn’t mean our friends have to be clones of us—but it
does mean that they at least help us move in the right direction.
Session One: Accept? (5/31)
Having friends is great. Whether you want one, or you already have one, there’s just something
about having other people in your life who you can count on. For many, friendships just happen.
A new friend is in the right place at the right time. And while friendships may start out randomly,
there is an intentionality about who we allow close to us—and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Because the people who are closest to you have influence on your life. They help shape who you
are. So who are the friends closest to you . . . and how are they influencing you?
Session Two: Respond? (6/7)
Someone to listen to my problems. Someone to do stuff with. Someone to talk to constantly.
Someone to hang out with. When you make a list of what qualities you want in a friend, how
many of the things on your list involve what that person can do for you? Most of us would have to
admit that it’s a lot. But the best friendships are ones that are not just about what the other
person can do for you—the best friendships also involve how you can be there for someone else.
How you can listen, instead of always talking. How you can give someone space when he or she
needs it, or just hang out when your friend needs that too. In other words, the best friendships
are not centered solely on you—and that’s a good thing.
Session Three: Ignore? (6/14)
Relationships=conflict. It’s natural. It’s part of two people relating to one another because at
some point, you’re not going to agree. One person will do something the other person doesn’t
like. One person will let the other person down. One person will say or do something stupid. It
happens. And at some point, it happens to us—either we’re the person making the mess, or the
one who is feeling the effects of the mess. So how do you navigate your way through the drama?
Do you just ignore it and hope it goes away? Do you just drop that friend? Or do you find a way to
work it out? The choice is yours.
The summer Youth Schedule is posted on our website –
www.bethanyyouthministry.blogspot.com! PLEASE check it
out – it’s got a TON of good information and is the #1 way
we’re going to communicate youth related news and
scheduling to parents and students. Check the website, and
scroll over items in the calendar for times, locations, prices,
etc. Let’s look forward to an AWESOME summer!
This Month’s Events
We’ve got a bunch of events scheduled for June. From daytime Ultimate Frisbee, Kickball,
Bible Studies, and lunches to bowling and concerts at night, we’ve got something for everyone!
Please check both the calendar below and the above mentioned website to know what’s
happening. Any questions? Call Judy @ 610.395.3613.
Summer Volunteers Needed!
Are you a parent of a student in our youth ministry? If so, we could sure use your help this
summer! We’re in need of chaperones for all of our events and programs. There’s no experience
necessary; just a willingness to get involved. You’ll get to know a great bunch of adults, and
maybe even some neat students too! Who knows, maybe you’ll like it and will want to know
more about your place in our ministry! Please call Del @ 610.395.3613 or email him @
email@example.com for more information and/or to volunteer. We’ll schedule you
according to your availability. Thanks so much for getting involved in your child’s ministry!
Grocery Card Fundraiser
Want to help the youth ministry reach students for Christ? It’s as easy as buying your
weekly groceries! Consider buying grocery cards to Giant, Weis, or Redner’s from our students in
the MPR. You’ll purchase gift cards at face value from us, and when you use them to buy your
groceries the youth ministry will get 5% of the purchase! All you need to do is eat! The proceeds
will be used to help students and adult leaders attend events, assist other local youth ministries,
support Kingdom Building, and help our youth invite friends to events. If you have any questions
about the Grocery Card Program, call Pauletta @ 610.657.2837. Thanks for your support!
1 - For students attending Emmaus High School – Meet at Emmaus Diner - 1418 Chestnut St. Emmaus, PA 18049
2 - For students attending Parkland High School – Meet at Parkland Restaurant - 2702 Walbert Ave. Allentown, PA
3- Address for Heffner’s – 44 Heffner Ln. Alburtis, PA 18011
4- Drop off and pick up at bowling alley - 1630 South 12th St. Allentown PA 18103. COST: $10
5- @ Bethany Church. Senior High ONLY. COST: $5
6- Drop off and pick up at Rollermotion - 1609 Trexlertown Rd. Macungie, PA 18062. COST: $7, or $10 if renting