How do we Keep our Teens Safe in this Social Media Age?

It was 6:00 a.m. in the morning. My husband had just left for work when the doorbell rang. I was getting dressed and then going to make the kids breakfast before school.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I turned the corner of the hallway and there sitting in my living room was a very intoxicated man, whom we had met only once before. The man was going to be our insurance agent, but we opted to go another direction.

So many things were going through my mind. First was confusion, quickly followed by fear. As minutes passed, I learned that my children let him into our home! All the kids were now standing beside me because, this was indeed an odd situation.

I felt panic but remained calm and kept thinking,how am I going to get him out of our home? Between the thoughts of fear and panic were feelings of disappointment and anger that my children would open the door in the first place to someone they didn’t really know. But they had not only opened the door, they let the man into our home!  

I had discussed not opening the door to a stranger. I had discussed never letting anyone into our home. What were they thinking and why would they do this?

I wanted to call the police but the phone was in the other room. So after about thirty minutes of talking and silently praying — I convinced the man to leave so I could take the kids to school and he did.  

That incident happened years ago and I had forgotten about it until yesterday —  when I saw a social experiment on television which made me remember what had happened to us.

A young man lured teenagers and pre-teens out of their homes, with their parents full cooperation through social media. The catch however, was that none of the teens knew it was a set up. It was all done to alert parents to the dangers of social media. I applaud the effort taken to bring awareness to social media danger and to stranger danger. However, I am not sure this was handled in a way that won’t leave permanent scars.

With that said, I started thinking back to my own children who were old enough to know better than to open the door  to a man and let him into our home. So why did they do it?


They felt they did know him. They had met him once. He wasn’t really a stranger in their minds.  And so many times teens think they know the person on the other side of the social media connection. But they don’t!

Is just talking to our children enough? I don’t think so. The parents in the video aforementioned had all talked to their children. And yet everyone of them opened the door, went to meet the stranger and one even got into a van.  

So what can you do? First, we have to pray.  Psalm 91:11-12 (NIV) says, For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Pray for God’s protection over your children. Ask him to send his angels to watch over them.

Second, talk to your kids. Talk, talk and then talk some more. Explain to them that just because they met someone or have talked to them online does not mean they are to be trusted.Trust is earned. It isn’t given blindly.

And last of all, monitor your children’s computers and phones. Ask them who they are talking too. Use all measures of security possible on their devices.

For more information on statistics and how you can protect your teen visithttp://www.covenanteyes.com/2008/08/07/stranger-danger-how-many-teens-are-talking-to-strangers-online/:

Sherry Shepherd is an experienced, adaptable professional specialized in writing for faith-based organizations. She has worked as an editor and writer for newspaper, movie guides, publishing houses, churches and several non-profits. Her scope of work includes corporate and fundraising materials, advertising, web, brochures, booklets, books, blogs and biblical training materials. However, her heart is drawn to any type of creative writing, where she can motivate while conveying a biblical message and telling a story. Sherry is the mother of three grown children, who have been the source of some of her greatest joy, laughter and material!