Teens, Technology, & Adults

by Rebekah Bled

Dear Adults,

On behalf of students in Tulsa (and dare I say the world), allow me to say simply this: we need you.

As we learn to navigate our way through the collapsing contexts of social media – where everyone sees everyone and nothing is sacred – we need you to model maturity in online interactions.

As we attempt to define ourselves in ever-changing contexts with unstable alliances, we need real life adults to walk with us and care about who we become, both on and off screen.

As we turn to Google, Wikipedia and ask.fm with big questions about money, friendship, meaning, and sex, we need adults with skin on of whom we can ask questions, and who will ask us questions.

As we create and share content, discovering what it means to “be in public” (Boyd, p. 212), trying to discern whether or not we matter, we need adults to look us in the eye and say sincerely, “Yes, you do.”

As we deal with the consequences of our online experimentation, we need adults to be kind and to take us seriously.

As we boldly adapt to technologies that may seem risky to adults, we need those same adults to remember that there is no such thing as a *digital native, and to refuse to withdraw.

As we try to grow up in this world, we need adults who have made it through adolescence to extend grace to us who are still there.

We need you, adults, to stick with us for the long-haul.  We need you to not give up on us.  We need you to have our backs as we try to become adults ourselves.  Adults, what we need is you.

A former teen
and current youth minister

Reference: It’s Complicated: The social lives of networked teens by Danah Boyd

*Someone who automatically knows how to use social media appropriately

Rebekah got her start in youth ministry at Christ Church in Montevideo, Uruguay and is now the Minister of Youth Discipleship at First United Methodist Church in Tulsa, OK. Rebekah is married to her soulmate, Philippe.  Together they like to drink mate, play soccer with their dogs, and dream of traveling the world. Rebekah has read Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy six times.

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