Social Networks and Children
Posted by joelnewton
When I look at my daughters right now, I see them as teenagers. I can’t help it. Because of my ongoing experiences in youth ministry, I know that what happens with my daughters now will affect how they are as teenagers. Now my daughters like being around daddy but in a few short years they won’t want to be around daddy as much. I need to take advantage of this time now.
One of the big things that shapes children and especially teenagers are the social networks they take part in. A child’s friends have a big impact on the behavior and experiences a child has. Now that Anna is in school Hillary and I are very mindful of the friends that Anna has at school. Hillary volunteers in Anna’s classroom to help the teachers but also to learn about the children that Anna spends time with.
A few months ago I watched a TED presentation by Nicholas Christakis in which he talks about social networks and the impact that our friends on our behavior. It is so interesting and has ramifications for parenting and youth ministry. You can read a Wired interview with Christakis here or watch the TED presentation below. This is why I strongly encourage parents to involve their children in the children’s ministry or youth ministry at their church. Children and teenagers need friends that share the same values and beliefs as they do.