Husband. Dad to 5. Student Ministry Pastor. Follower of Jesus. Yatta yatta.


yhst-95977426524948_2234_300947I don’t think I’ve ever done a book review on this blog, though I have told a couple of friends I would love to.  This is predominantly because for the last 8 years, just about all I’ve read has been seminary books.  So the ones I said I’d blog about are still not read. But recently I’ve felt prompted to break this trend in my life and get some books off my shelf and into the real world.  So, as I’m nearing the end of seminary, I’m trying to open up my non-seminary mandated book reading again and begin to blog some responses to them.

So I decided to start small and read a mini-book that I was confident I could read in one sitting from the five part Parent’s Guide series published by Simply.  I took 45 minutes of my SD to Indianapolis plane flight and read one that two friends of mine, Adam McLane and Mark Oestreicher, wrote entitled, “A parents guide to social media.”

I tried to be as objective as possible, so here goes my thoughts:

ONE SENTENCE REVIEW…  This short book should be mandatory reading for all parents of minor age children today.

IF THE TITLE SAID IT ALL, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN TITLED…  Before you give your kid access to the internet, buy them a cell phone, or let them have a facebook page, read this!


“Don’t forget the end game: As parents of teenagers, we are trying to raise adults. We’re more interested in wisdom than compliance, more interested in responsibility than high walls or protection, and more interested in healthy parent/teen communication than maintaining a veneer of good appearance.”

THE MISSING CHAPTER: I loved this book. That said, if I could have added a chapter, it would have been titled. ““Practice What You Preach”. This book is chocked full of great principles and wisdom for internet and social media use. But as I read it, I kept asking myself as a parent: how well do I do that? This book can’t just be advice for parents. These pages have to become values as a family if they’re going to actually make a difference. Marko and Adam say it in sentences here and there in this book, but I would love it in a dedicated chapter really calling parents to personally set the bar high. So as a parent, when you pick this book up, I’d encourage you to read it twice. First for you. Then for your parenting.


  • Internet Privacy is an oxymoron. They write, “There is no such thing as internet privacy; there is only perceived privacy… everything you post or send online creates a digital record that may one day become public.” Everywhere you go, everything you search, all that you post, every advertisement you ever click on is tracked, recorded and held onto somewhere. Simply put, we need to treat everything we do online like something we’re doing in the front yard and not something I’m doing in the bedroom. As a general rule, secrecy breeds sin: for parents and kids and everyone else.
  • NOTHING replaces honest, open, regular connection with my kid. In a chapter entitled, “Stuff Teenagers Need to Understand” they write, “Maybe you should just read this section of the book to or with your teenager.” I couldn’t agree more. It’s like it should be required whenever a child is given permission to have a facebook, a cell phone, or a laptop. The truth is, if I don’t want my kids to be one person with me and another person online, then the absolute best thing I can do is have constant, open, and investigative conversations into who they are as I do life WITH them.. including their digital life and mobile life.
  • Start Early: Those who will have the hardest problem implementing these ideas are the ones who have been virtually absent from their kid’s lives up ‘til now, allowing them to live under the same roof but essentially exist in autonomous lives like ships passing in the night. If you don’t want a terrible online teen, then invest deeply in the life of your kid today and never stop. Be a present parent.

So seriously, if you’re a parent in the 21st century, then the world is never gonna go back to a pre-digital age. Don’t stick your head in the sand and complain about it: just go get this book. It’s short. It’s cheap (ie: probably less than what you will spend on lunch). It’s worth your time. It just might save you headaches and a lot of money in counseling fees in the long run too.

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