I’m done with it.

How did we all get conned into it? That’s right, how did we all willingly become so lame?

I’m talking about likes on Facebook and all derivatives of the same lame-fest in social media. Hearts. Flutters…whatever you want to call it. Let’s just sum them up: ‘lame’ button.

‘Get over it!’ I hear you say, ‘I like FB and social is here to stay’.

Ask kids at school as I did today and they’ll say they’ve all got social and they’ve had it for years. Is there anything we can say or do that would help our kids be less lame?

We need to breed a better ‘user’ because we are going to look back on this era and all agree that it sucked; we sucked and wonder how on earth we became so sucked into being SO lame.

In case you don’t agree, here’s some research I did on the ‘like’ thing. It goes to show I’m not the only one who despises the ‘like’.

- Researching the ‘how do I disable the like button on FB’ I found this guy who posted to his friends asking who would want to go to the movies tonight and he got 40 likes. Cool, right? Only, one person came along. So how lame are those likes looking now? Why not just have a tick next to your post to show it as ‘read by so and so’. It illustrates well the crude ‘bluntness’ of this social media thing. Like is a useless gauge.

-This girl liked her friends posts not because she cared or liked it but because she didn’t want to be hassled the next day at school for not liking her friend’s post. Meaningless, meaningless. Meaningless.

But your kids already have social or are gonna have it soon if they don’t so what can you do?

Here's 7 Tips to Help Guide Your Kids Through Social Media:

1. Encourage yourself and your kids to post without seeking validation

Like Tom Hanks’ character in ‘’Bridge of Spies” says to the publicly maligned U2 pilot who was shot down over Russia and failed to kill himself before capture but apparently successfully restrained himself from divulging any secrets, ‘Forget about what others think! You know what you did…you know what you did’. What does this say? Walk tall with integrity. You won’t always earn everyone’s respect or likes but you know what you did and most importantly, so does the Lord. Audience of one.

2. Show your kids how to establish their self-worth apart from social media

We want our kids to source their self-esteem not from their friends’ validation of who they are but because of their inherent worth. They should receive this value-validation from their parents, true friends and of course God, who made them in his image and redeemed them by His Son. Encourage your kids to see that friends who don’t accept you for who you are, are not worth having as friends.

3. Be authentic, it’s much less exhausting.

We all know the criticism that social can be a place to build a virtual ‘face’ and ‘life’. Some point out that we have been doing this for ages…not presenting our real self but a more palatable, cooler version of ourselves than we really are. We hide the truth and give out facts about ourselves that spin a nicer version of our marriages, our kids and our mental health. Now that we have social media and the internet, some say, we’re just expressing that version of our life in more documented, photogenic and immediate ways. (Sydney Morning Herald, Good Weekend, Reflected Glory, July 15, 2017, pp19-21)

So how about we get real here and encourage our kids to not package up their lives into some uber desirable lifestyle.

Envy isn’t that what this about? Or if we spin it…’aspirational’. Envy.

‘I saw that everything mad does comes from ENVY’ (Ecclesiastes 4:4).

Marketers use it all the time…’look what you could be…if only you had my adorable pets, kids, kind hubby, home, dramas, cooking, holidays, birthdays, kid’s trophies’…get a life. The Bible does not encourage envy. Envy is the root of much evil. It caused the fall of mankind.

The antidote. Contentment.

Try finding that on social!

Maybe we should just use social to communicate like text or email. Many do. I’m not sure how you post ‘contentment’ without feeding into envy. Ironic.

4. Seek the right kind of validation

Beauty, looks, what you eat, drink wear? Is that the kind of validation we should model to our kids? Hell no. Look at the scriptures…’instead your beauty should be that of inner beauty, godly life, and good deeds that hang off you like jewels’. (1 Peter 3:3-4)

If we are seeking validation, we should be seeking it in the right place…’well done good and faithful servant’ is what we want to hear from the Lord. I’m not saying we should post our good deeds and inner beauty on line, but it does raise questions about how we might use social to further our inner beauty, and not just by how we treat others online and offline. It does raise questions about how we might further good causes and deeds through social.

5. Female emancipation or slavery?

One of the arguments lately affirming the goodness of Instagram and other social media platforms is that it gives women a voice to express self-love and be positive about their bodies.

Some argue that social media has empowered women to control their image and build their self-esteem. Go girl power! Others say that it’s a new way to be enslaved by old paradigms. Yep us guys can now perve at your butt same as always only thanks to the image you uploaded…we don’t have a limit on how long we can stare...but hey, go girl power!

I do empathize though. Women have been bombarded with attacks and information that says they don’t and will never measure up. Always behind. Always less than what they should be. Now sadly, it’s the men’s turn too. So, isn’t this a good thing, fighting back against the tyranny of unrealistic expectations and making it real. Validating what you do have, not what you don’t?

I think it’s not all bad: Accepting yourself and working with who you are in positive ways. But still…why project it? I guess its vindication…if you get the likes. But then as we established above, likes are meaningless. I mean how hard is it to click that stupid lame button? And if you don’t get many likes…then your new-found acceptance…is that in the toilet too? If you get no validation, does that mean you were wrong and you really should put your clothes back on?

Girls. Let me tell you a fact. Women are much sexier when they aren’t so needy and seeking lame likes. My 2c worth is don’t be lame and get on with your life. You’re one of a kind. Just because it’s not on the net doesn’t mean its less valuable. There’s a verse that says, ‘whatever you do, do as for the LORD’. Audience of one. We should encourage our kids to seek the pleasure of the LORD who sees what we do, when others don’t and who values us properly without looking at how many likes we got.

6. Show your kids how social media fuels ignorance and makes life less interesting

Just today I was taking a class of senior students, one of whom presented a short paper on the pros and cons of Facebook. We discussed the health implications for establishing and building one’s self esteem from waiting on likes. The student identified the narrowness of FB and other social media feeds, that only reinforce you’re already formed opinions. Instead of enriching life, FB and other platforms clone what you’ve got already.

Case in point is the same sex marriage issue in Australia at present. It’s likely that your FB friends all agree with you. Consequently, you only hear one side of the story and reinforce your prejudice. When it comes to improving tolerance and removing ignorance, social media is currently a bit of a dead end.

7. Disable the like button

One student held up a glorious suggestion…that it might be possible to disable the FB 'like' button. I looked into it but hit a brick wall. Apparently it's possible, but maybe only related to photo posts.

I’m not against using social or sharing good stuff on it. I don’t mind comments. If they’re a true engagement.

But the little thumb up?

If I can find it, I’m disabling it.

If you know how to do it, let me know.

I know what I did and whose opinion matters to me.

Audience of 1.

Likes are lame.

 

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