In his former job as a youth pastor, Brian Foreman found himself spending more and more time answering questions from parents about teens and social media.
The Raleigh father of two realized that many parents had many misconceptions about social media and were avoiding it instead of using the tool to strengthen their relationships with their children.
“I realized that there was an information gap between teens and parents, with a whole world of public happenings that parents were not aware of,” said Foreman, 40. “Teenagers are going to be on social media. We can either hide from it or engage in it.”
To help parents, he created the workshop “Talk, Don’t Stalk” and launched a website, www.socialmediaparents.com. Foreman also addresses current social media topics on his blog and posts relevant articles, such as a recent one on preventing underage Facebook use.
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Foreman is now offering his parent education workshops to local churches and schools. Forest Hills Baptist Church in Raleigh invited Foreman to give his “Talk Don’t Stalk” seminar in the fall of 2012.
Carla Smith, mom of three teens and chairwoman of the youth lead team at the church, said that while many of the parents are on Facebook, most are not active on sites such as Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat.
“We found it really helpful that he explained how to use the tools, but more importantly how to use social media to engage with our children,” Smith said.
She said that since the seminar, she has been following her teens more closely not to “stalk,” but to learn their feelings about parts of their lives, such as personal relationships or college applications.
Foreman recommends that parents use the sites to increase communication with their children. For example, if you see that your child has posted on Facebook that he or she doesn’t like sixth period, then you can ask specific questions about that, he said.
“I try help parents negotiate social media ground rules for their family. I try to help them work through a contract where both sides understand each other and the emotions involved,” Foreman said.
North Raleigh Presbyterian yard sale
North Raleigh Presbyterian Church is having its 13th annual yard sale from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 2, at the church, 11905 Strickland Road, Raleigh. Shoppers who donate $5 can begin shopping at 7:45 a.m. In addition to gently used items, frozen casseroles, barbecue plates and baked goods will be for sale. The event will also feature a silent auction. All money raised will help the church’s outreach program, which in the past has assisted Haiti earthquake survivors and bought furniture for the Habitat for Humanity Apostle Build program. For more information, call 919-848-9529 or visit www.northraleighpc.org.
Taizé worship service
Community United Church of Christ is holding a Taizé worship service from 7 to 7:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month starting Feb. 5 at the church, 814 Dixie Trail, Raleigh. The service will include silence punctuated by reading of scripture and chanting meditative songs. There will not be any announcements, sermon or an offering collected. For more information, visit www.communityucc.org.
Caregivers support group
The community is invited to the Caregivers Support Group at 10 a.m. on the first Wednesday of each month beginning Feb. 6 at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 834 Durham Road, Wake Forest. The group is geared for people caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or another dementia disorder and will have trained facilitators to help create a community of care and support for caregivers. Meetings will include refreshments, activities and on-site supervision for the person you are caring for. For more information or to RSVP, call 919-556-3656.
Women’s spiritual retreat
Registration is now open for St. Michael’s Episcopal Church’s two-day women’s spiritual retreat, “The Gathering,” on Friday, Feb. 22, and Saturday, Feb. 23. Keynote speaker Glennon Doyle Melton, author of “Carry On, Warrior” will share her experiences as a recovering alcoholic, bulimic and drug addict. Registrants will participate in morning and afternoon workshops on topics such as prayer, sexuality, spiritual practices and community. The weekend will conclude with a healing Holy Eucharist. Registration is $80, which includes a meal. For more information, visit www.thegathering2013.eventbrite.com.
Do you have some faith news to share? Send it to correspondent Jennifer Gregory at email@example.com. For events, please give us two to three weeks’ notice.