Tips and resources for parents
SR. CAROLINE CERVENY, SSJ-TOSF
The use of technology is an integral part of today’s youth culture. Digital citizenship is often talked about in schools and online. Simply search online for the phrase digital citizenship and you will locate many resources: Kids & Tech — Tips for Parents in a Digital Age; Parenting in the Age of Digital Technology; and more. Yet how can parents guide children to include their faith as a digital citizen? Many of us in the Church are responding to the call for digital discipleship. All of us are called to be disciples — and that includes the digital world that surrounds us.
Rachel Lemons Aitken, founder of the Digital Discipleship Ministry of the Greater Sydney Conference, describes it this way: “Digital Discipleship is a way to create, inspire, and encourage disciples of Jesus to share his love through their creativity and innovation in a digital space.”
What does this look like in action? Here are some ideas parents and catechists can use in their sharing on social media:
■ Share your personal experiences and testimonies of your own personal faith journey.
■ Pray for the specific needs of your community.
■ Celebrate special occasions such as birthdays and special accomplishments with faith-filled messages.
■ Share inspirational insights with online friends and companions to encourage each other
to live with Christlike characteristics in their everyday lives.
■ Introduce spiritual content into your use of social media.
■ Model being your authentic selves in relationship with Jesus.
What follows next are five projects parents and children can share together as digital disciples: a digital religious birthday wish, a Scripture reflection, a video story, prayer posts, and a prayer graphic.
Religious-themed birthday greetings
A variety of birthday wishes are located at WishesGreeting.com/religious-birthday-wishes/.
Together with your son or daughter, read through the wishes and decide what wish you want to surprise an aunt, uncle, grandparent, cousin, or family friend with. Then create the graphic you will share on their Facebook page for their birthday. (See image above)
As you read a Sunday Scripture, identify a phrase and a question related to the Scripture. Then decide what image fits the phrase. Invite your son or daughter to create a graphic to use on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. This becomes an invitation for your family and friends to respond to the question online.
Video Gospel Stories
Ask your son or daughter to create a Sunday Gospel video with you. Here is a video example for the sycamore tree reading using Animoto (view it at Bit.ly/2RkvSyi). FaceBook’s posting buttons make it easy to share a photo as well as video. Experiment with what works best for your Facebook friend community.
The Sisters of Saint Joseph in Orange, California, invite you to share in the #100DaysofPrayer. Learn more at CATmag.us/2Odku5u. This is an opportunity for your children to create a prayer post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or elsewhere. The sisters’ website offers a week of prayers. As you read through the prayer for each day, invite your son or daughter to choose a prayer from the list. Then, using a tool like Canva.com, he or she can create a graphic that can be downloaded and posted wherever you wish.
Ask your child to create a prayer graphic for you. Post a graphic when inviting your family and friends to remember someone in need of prayer or a special intention. Our children are digital natives; they will surprise you with the various tools they can use to create graphic images. Here are some useful suggestions:
Sr. Caroline Cerveny, SSJ-TOSF, DMin, is founder and president of the Digital Disciple
Network and co-founder of the Digital Discipleship Boot Camp. Find more at DDBCformation.org.
This article was originally published in Catechist magazine, March 2019