Using Social Media to Teach and Lead our Youth: Pinterest
I remember when my husband wanted to get me my first smartphone. “I don’t need one”, I told him. But he pushed and pushed – I think it may have been a little because he wanted one and didn’t want to get himself one while his wife had an old flip phone. As I was weighing the pros and cons with getting one I realized that in this world where technology changes so fast, it would be wise of me to try and stay in the loop as much as possible since my children will be.
I have learned that smart phones = social media networks. Love it or hate it, social media networks have taken on a whole new life because they are in everyone’s pockets all of the time. And I am pretty sure that if I were a teenager I would love having my network of friends and would likely be involved in a few different networks.
Do you even know what “social media” means?
Social Media = the ability to communicate and share information in virtual communities and networks. So things like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest are among some of the popular ones.
To be honest, I don’t know a lot about most networks. I know about Facebook and Pinterest and that is about it. I plan on diving in and learning more and sharing what I learn with you as I go.
But today I want to talk about Pinterest.
I love Pinterest. Many gluten-free dishes have come into our kitchen via Pinterest. And I like to see what my friends are interested in – from everything from craft projects, to ideas for toddlers. I always find things that interest me.
So here is a really basic description of Pinterest:
– You have your own virtual pinboards and you can label them whatever you want. So you may have a “dinner recipes” board, a “Christmas ideas”, board or a “FHE” board. So if you see a fun idea for Thanksgiving, you can just make a board called “Thanksgiving Ideas” and come back and easily find that idea in the future.
– “Pins” are actual links to websites. So your pin may show a picture of chocolate chip cookies and when you click on it you are taken to the source of the picture, which is the website that picture came from.
– You can follow your own friends, favorite bloggers, etc. and see what they are pinning. Each time you log in to PInterest your home page shows the latest things the people you are following are pinning and if you like it you can “repin” some of their pins to your own boards.
– You can also search through other’s boards to see if there are pins you would also like.
– You can also search on PInterest – so you could search “Family Home Evening Lesson on Faith” and see what pins pop up.
– You can add a “pin it” button to your address bar on your computer and if you find an article or something you want in your pin board you can push “pin it” which allows you to add that article into the Pinterest world.
– You can opt to have private boards that no one can see.
How to use Pinterest to teach and lead our youth:
If your youth are on Pinterest it is hard to know what is showing up on their home pages. A lot of young women use it for fashion and quotes, and so do their friends. But they may be following some people who occasionally post something that is inappropriate or offensive. It would be good to talk with them about monitoring their own sites and what they are allowing themselves to be exposed to.
On the other hand, YOU can do a lot to expose them to amazing things. You could pin things that aren’t even meant for you – but rather something you want them to see or read.
Here are a few ideas you could use:
– Pin amazing quotes
– Pin cute and modest outfits
– Pin things about their lessons in church or seminary, or good scripture study ideas
– Pin interesting, uplifting articles – and they could be specifically about things that interest specific youth you hope sees it. Like how to write a resume, or how to choose a college.
– Pin fun and wholesome recreational ideas
On the flip side, here are some other things to consider:
– Be careful to pin things about body image. I get TONS of things coming on my homepage that my friends have pinned about getting the perfect abs, or some other body part with lots of skin showing in the pictures. These probably aren’t messages that we should be sending to our youth coming from women that they look up to.
– Watch the language in the descriptions. I think a lot of us re-pin things without reading the description attached to it, and sometimes the descriptions aren’t exactly what you want representing you.
– Check the links first. Before you re-pin anything, check to make sure that is a valid pin. Sometimes it will take you to a random site that doesn’t connect you to the original source.
You could also challenge your youth to create and fill certain boards. For example, you could ask the young women to make a “fun mutual activities” board, a “modest outfits” board, or a board for each of the YW values. Then give them a week to fill up those boards and then come back and share what they found. The awesome bonus to this is that all of their ideas will also be pinned to their friend’s boards and positively influence them.
If you have any ideas to add, please share!