Parents care very much for their kids. This seems like a no-brainer statement but the reality is parents want to make sure their children, no matter what age they are, are safe. This is particularly important when their children are exposed to something that parents are not 100 percent informed about.
Enter social media. Social media has taken the world by storm and is such a HUGE part of peoples’ lives today, especially older children and teens. Whether it is Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube or something new entirely, students live their lives on these social platforms. While parents are involved in these platforms, they still aren’t on them as much as their children. And, they don’t know the ins and outs of social media quite as well as their children.
This is where you, as a student, children or family minister can be a huge resource and help to parents. For years and years I have tried to do Information Nights with parents to share with them the vision and direction of the Student Ministry. And for years and years, hardly any parents showed up. However, what changed things was when the children’s and student ministry teams from my church joined forces and had a Social Media Information Night for parents.
Social media scares parents because they don’t know all that there is to know about it. That is why the church can be a valuable resource for families, not just at your church, but for your community. When we held our first Social Media Information Night we not only had a great turnout from within the church, but also from our community.
So what can you do? How can you get the word out to your community about this event?
Find an expert.
While the church can be a great resource for parents and social media, that doesn’t mean they have to be the expert. In fact, we actually brought in an outside expert to share the pros and cons of social media for parents. When you bring in an expert, this gives additional credibility to the event as more parents would be really interested to hear from someone who is solely focused on this particular area. No minister shared that night other than to welcome the parents and wrap up the event.
Make sure you have a plan.
Carefully walk through what you want to cover with the expert so what is presented is what parents want/need to hear. Maybe even poll a few parents in your church about issues they would like to hear about. Pick a few key items to cover. They could be the basics of each social platform students are on, or the dangers of social media including human trafficking and cyber bullying.
Promote to the community.
One of the best ways to promote to your community is to use Facebook. For starters, you could create a Facebook event page and then share it in a community page. Most communities in your area have a “Community page” where people discuss issues in the community. Get on your community page and share about the event there. You can also create Facebook ads for at least a $1/day that you can use to promote to your physical area before the event.
Social media is still a big enigma for parents. While they are involved with Facebook and maybe another social platform, there are still many questions they have about what their children are involved with. That is why you, as the church can be vital resource for parents here. Organize a social media awareness night and parents WILL come out to it.