Reorienting Our Teens to the Truth Social Media Distorts (Rooted 2017 Workshop Preview)

Walk into a room full of teenagers and quite possibly every one of them will be on their phone, more engaged online than with each other. Believe me, I know. I’ve seen it happening in my own house, and in the backseat of my car when driving carpool.

With three teenagers myself – one in college, one in high school, and one in middle school – I’ve seen how rapidly social media has changed a culture of kids. When Instagram was first launched, my oldest was an eighth grader; now my youngest is in the eighth grade. In those six short years, mental health issues (particularly among teenagers) have skyrocketed, and there is no denying the connection to social media.

Our children are growing up in a comparison-driven world, with enormous pressure to be perfect. But with so much happening behind the screens, parents often aren’t aware of how their kids are struggling. And even if we are aware, we feel ill-equipped when it comes to what we can say and do to help.

In this workshop, we will talk about how to enter in and help teenagers process what they see on social media. But our primary focus won’t actually be on social media. I know this may seem strange for a “social media workshop,” and in many cases we just want practical advice about fixing the problem. But the bigger problem – the real problem – is not social media.

Instead, we are going to put on our gospel glasses to see beyond the images on our screens, to what’s going on in our hearts (and the hearts of our teens) – the false gods, the false identities, the false worship. Apart from identifying the root sins beneath the surface, we would simply be putting band-aids on symptoms when what kids need is for their hearts to be exposed. Seeing their true condition is a good thing, because it is what will drive them to the One who is perfect! Who Jesus is for our students is the anchoring truth they need in order to be reoriented away from the lies of social media and our selfie-culture.

This workshop will be presented at Rooted 2017 in Dallas, Texas on October 26-28. To register for the conference, click here.

Kristen Hatton holds a master’s in counseling and works primarily with teen girls, parents and families. She is the author of Parenting AheadThe Gospel-Centered Life in Exodus for StudentsFace Time: Your Identity in a Selfie World, and Get Your Story Straight. Kristen and her pastor husband reside in Dallas, Texas and are the parents of three young adults and a son-in-law. Learn more by visiting her website at

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