A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Social Media (review)

So far I am loving the new ‘Simply for Parents’ line of books from Simply Youth Ministry. This particular one, A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Social Media, by Mark Oestreicher and Adam McLane, is one that I have been looking forward to for some time now. It is a much needed primer on social media to help parents guide their children through our changing world.

At only 72 pages, it is SHORT … but this is actually one the book’s strengths. From my experience, many parents are overwhelmed with all of the technologies their children seem to know instinctively, but this book is able to package solid, practical advice in a very non-intimidating¬†package. Based on a seminar McLane has been teaching for some time now, he and Oestreicher walk parents through the basic forms of social media (both online, like Facebook & Twitter, and portable devices, like cell phones). They do a good job of painting the risks and the benefits, as well as great advice on how to communicate with your child in a way that points them towards wise usage.

The authors do a fantastic job of writing in a way that’s approachable both to the parent with no experience whatsoever in social media and the parent who is very immersed in it. Clear, simple explanations are done in such a way that I found myself taking notes to help with my own communication on the topic to parents. I loved the advice on social media usage, interacting with your teen online, how to set safe boundaries, and how to be a part of guiding them into being wise adults in this arena.

All in all, in this day and age this is a MUST for parents. Short, so it’s a quick read. Full of critical information directly impacting their children (whether they realize it or not). And at a great price. Personally, I think it’s great for parents of adolescents, but it’s an even stronger tool for the parents of pre-adolescents. Thinking through this topic BEFORE your child starts asking for a cellphone, Facebook, Instagram, etc., is a far better place to be than scrambling with decisions on the fly. My intent is to order a stack of them to have available for parents to purchase at my church. You can find the book in physical and Kindle format here, or at the Youth Cartel.

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