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A Parent's Guide to Understanding Social Media: Helping Your Teenager Navigate Life Online Paperback – December 1, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

At one time or another, most parents have wondered, "What is my child posting on Facebook, and should I allow access to social media?" It's a question Mark Oestreicher and Adam McLane navigate in straightforward style with equal parts reality and advice in A Parent's Guide to Understanding Social Media. More than this, the authors offer parents a pithy book (12,000 words) filled with facts, figures and friendly helps that will inform and affirm a parent's right to know.

Moreover, this book will help parents understand how the Internet and computers actually work. Everything from Google search history to Facebook marketing is explored in these pages, but this is not the type of read that should frighten parents away from allowing their children to use social media. Rather, the authors offer the realities of social media (It's here to stay, and your kids are using it in one form or another), yet encourage parents to be more involved in what their children are doing and to set rules and boundaries through family discussions.

Parents looking for a practical and informative guide to social media can't go wrong with this book. It's accessible and real. Also, it has been written from the vantage point of two parents who are engaged in youth ministry and understand youth culture. This book also could be a textbook for parenting conversation or a one-session class designed to provide the basics of Facebook, Twitter and social media in general. --Todd Outcalt, youthworker.com

About the Author

Mark Oestreicher (Marko) is a veteran youth worker and founding partner in The Youth Cartel, providing resources, training, and coaching for church youth workers. The author of dozens of books, including Youth Ministry 3.0, Marko is a sought-after speaker, writer, and consultant.  Marko lives in San Diego with his wife, Jeannie, and teenage children, Liesl and Max.  Marko's blog: whyismarko.com.

Adam McLane is a lifelong student of youth ministry, a veteran youth pastor, and mentor to an ever-expanding web of students and adults.  He is a partner at The Youth Cartel, a full-service consulting firm specializing in helping churches, businesses, and ministries connect with teenagers, young adults, and youth workers.  Adam and his wife, Kristen, live in San Diego, California, with their three children, Megan, Paul, and Jackson. 
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 76 pages
  • Publisher: Simply Youth Ministry (December 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076448463X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764484636
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #628,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As someone in youth ministry who is fairly "connected" with social media, I started the book a bit skeptical of it teaching me anything new but read it to see if it would be good to pass on to the parents of teenagers I know. Not only would I recommend this book to all parents of teenagers, but I found myself learning things I didn't know before and gaining new insights into the world of social media that not only relate to teens but my online activity as well.

A book about technology and what's popular runs the risk of getting outdated quickly but the principles in this book can be applied to whatever is popular online at any time.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a short book offering practical advice to parents regarding their children's use of social media. And when I say short, I mean that it is possible to read it in one sitting. I think it took me about an hour to read.

Although it is short, it does do a lot. The authors have significant experience both in the both working with teenagers and in working online. Additionally, they are both parents themselves and have dealt with these issues at home. They use all of that experience to their advantage. They give some basic background for parents who have little understanding of what social media is and how it works. For adults who are more social media savvy, they give some good reminders about how the way teenagers use social media differs from the way that adults use it.

Finally they launch into practical advice. They are not alarmist, and they recognize that we are past the point of discussing whether or not engaging in social media at all is a good idea. Instead, they focus on ways that parents can engage with their children to help their children to be protected and to learn how to use social media responsibly.

The closest thing I have to a complaint is related to the length of the book. In an effort to keep things brief, I felt like they did not go into as much detail as the topic deserves. For example, a few more specific examples of ways for parents to engage with their kids might be helpful. Even some additional anecdotes from their lives or the lives of others they know could have been helpful to parents.

The book is useful and practical, and I will recommend it to other parents. I just wish there was a little more of it.
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Format: Paperback
Before reading it, I'd questioned the wisdom of this book being published in the first place. The social media scene is changing all the time, so I figured any book published on the subject now could easily be irrelevant within a year or two.

The good thing is, Adam and Marko were clearly aware of this - they even make reference to this very problem in the book. This book therefore isn't a guide to specific types of social media like Facebook and Twitter, although they do cover these two sites more than others, giving various stats about them and how young people are currently using them.

Instead, this book gives overarching ideas and principles for parents to guide them in how they can approach the subject of their child's social media usage. There's no scaremongering involved - the authors don't sensationalize anything or make it seem like every teenager is posting naked pictures of themselves online.

They're also very realistic about the fact that even if parents ban social media accounts, young people can easily find a way around them. It's therefore much better for parents to help guide their children in how they should conduct themselves online (and off), particularly due to consequences that they may not have considered.

In fact, they even suggest that it can be counter-productive to install things like internet blocking software, going so far as to describe it as lazy parenting! Instead, parents should be proactively involved in how their children are using the internet.

Even though it offers suggestions for people on how they should parent, it's not done at all condescendingly. Besides, if a parent's reading this guide, there's a good chance that they're wanting guidance on how to parent when it comes to social media.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I used to be so dumb about the internets and social media. Like what is a MyBook and a FaceSpace? I remember the good old days when we used to talk to each other with our mouth boxes but times have changed and so must I. If you need to know about the world wide web and what alta vista is and how it all relates to a teenage person then you need this book. Please buy it and read it, you will be most happy like a squirrel with a large amount of honey roasted nuts. Also the book itself is very cute and nice to hold in the hand. It feels like it was made by magical pandas in a far a land but really it was made in the USA by a large machine.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a great book for parents - even if you don't have teenagers yet. There are practical, realistic approaches for parents to guide them through the virtual world that we now live in. Another bonus is that this is a brief, quick read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The last chapter is the best and worth the price of the book for concerned parents. Though the first sections of the book seem a bit heavy handed (yes prospective employers might look at your FB profile, no they probably won't check an internet archive for your posts five years ago), there is good guidance here. The authors speak from experience as youth pastors and parents of teens. Good spirit, quick read, good information. Recommended for all concerned parents.
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