Talking about prosperity and money in the social network

Monday, July 13th, 2015
Photo: Money! by Tracy O via Flickr

Photo: Money! by Tracy O via Flickr

Cyber Safety for Families with Joanna and Jodie on The Fish Family Morning Show 103.9FM

Social media platforms are increasingly consumer-oriented as the industry matures to form around an advertising model aimed at youth like a fire hose. In a tap and click world, the pressure to purchase goods is intensified as advertisers gain more sophisticated access to your preferences and experiences with purchase decisions that are easily shared. It has the potential to become “keeping up with the Jones’” on steroids. So the line between commercial and personal interests in increasingly blurred in our cyber social realms.

Related reading: Resist the feed

Marie Hall is a mom of two grown children, an educator, and entrepreneur who recognized the need to help youth experience financial literacy and employment. Five years ago she and her husband Don founded BeMoneySmartUSA, which now operates Farmers’ Markets that employee teens. She observed that our cyber-powered lifestyles condition kids to experience money as a “scroll, tap and send experience.”  She is concerned that youth understand the difference between prosperity and money. “Money is involved in prospering,” she said. “But it is not just about money. It is about making choices about how you go about earning, spending and saving money that influence your quality of life – or your ability to prosper.”

Marie Hall, Executive Director of BeMoneySmartUSA and Farmer's Markets in Carmichael, California.

Marie Hall, Executive Director of BeMoneySmartUSA and Farmer’s Markets in Carmichael, California.

The concern here is to train teens and young adults to resist undue pressure to become a consumer at the expense of their personal goals involving savings for future endeavors (like college or travel) and other priorities for spending for daily living. “We want our youth to learn how to govern their money, rather than have money issues governing them,” Hall said.


According to a recent Market Realist Report, a Piper Jaffray survey of 7,500 teenagers last year indicated Instagram, Twitter and Facebook were the three most popular social networks among teenagers, and Facecbook, who owns Instagram is rolling out a number of advertising programs which will get very personal. This report also revealed that Instagram has reached 300 million users worldwide and a majority of them are high-income teens. The ad programs Facebook plans to roll out will take into account specifically the users’ interests, age and gender and will present them with options to make a purchase decision with one click.

A conversation yesterday with some 12 and 13-year old girls suggested that they are very aware of how the advertisements are working their way into their news feeds and for now they can ignore them. At some point this will be more challenging to do as the advertising becomes more robust and sophisticated to influence users to make purchases. Our children need to understand that nothing is for free. There will always be a cost and the most precious resource is your attention and time which increasingly means dealing with targeted ads that reflect things you may have said or shared in your social network.

But the question for me remains: will purchase decisions be purpose-driven or will retailer and peer influence reign? Cyber-powered peer communities can easily convince us and our children of things that are not true and focus on things that don’t matter. And so when it comes to subjects involving consumer power (i.e., how much money you have to spend to show others what you now possess) it is very important to have good conversations about the role of money in living an abundant life.

Talking points about prosperity and money

  • Consider that the definition of prosperity pertains to well being, in mind, body and soul. So the idea of prospering involves good health, relationships and personal finances.
  • There is no finite pool of money. It is the by-product of economies wherein trade is involved locally and globally, and its value is dynamic and subject to inflation and deflation.
  • There is a spiritual quality to the nature of money that involves love and fear. People give money out of a spirit of hope, compassion and generosity. Philanthropic endeavors, tithing and donations to worthy causes are also a part of our communities and economies. And conversely, fear-based thinking leads to predictable economic instability (cycles), which George Akerlof and Robert Shiller call “Animal Spirits” in their book on How Human Psychology Drives the Economy and Why it Matters for Global Capitalism (2009) – it essentially boils down to fear and greed fueling speculative boom and bust cycles that game the system and impact job creation and incomes.
  • Money is a resource, or a tool (if you will) to meet basic needs and pursue your purpose. It is an essential part of living an abundant life. In the world, we earn and use money in order to live as a member of society contributing good works.

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. Luke 6:38

Fear-based thinking associated with money that impacts prosperity

  • While we all have stewardship responsibility for managing money matters, money can inspire strong emotion of greed, envy, fear, guilt, shame. Be mindful about your own relationship with money. Are you governing the money in your life, or is it governing you? This is an important question to be prepared to address the consumer pressure of the social network.
  • Couples who do not have a unified financial plan (budget/savings) wind up working at cross purposes creating financial unrest.
  • Unresolved feelings of fear and insecurity can inspire people to hoard or go into debt.
  • Purchasing goods and services for children can take the place of personal time and attention

My faith informs me that it is by the grace of one benevolent Deity, one God who grants us intelligent life and free will, that we already have power to prosper. The challenge is to limit the amount of power we surrender to the powers and principalities of the world; money and people and institutions with money being a big one. (Romans 12:2)

To learn more about enrolling your child into a financial literacy workshop, go to: BeMoneySmartUSA


Banana Moments Foundation is dedicated to strengthening the parent-child bond in a hyper-connected world. To make a donation, please go go: Donations. Your generous support is greatly appreciated.

Jodie Stevens, Hostess of The Fish Family Morning Show on 103.9FM, with her cyber mom, Joanna Jullien. They talk cyber safety on Tuesday mornings.

Jodie Stevens, Hostess of The Fish Family Morning Show on 103.9FM, with her cyber mom, Joanna Jullien. They talk cyber safety on Tuesday mornings.

Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She is a mother of two grown sons, the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM. Her new book, A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media is now available for PC and all eReader formats including Kindle, Nook, iPad.

Jodie Stevens, hostess of The Fish Family Morning Show on 103.9FM The Fish offers insights and lessons learned about faith and recovery from addiction. Check out her blog, Genuine Life with Jodie Stevens, weekday mornings on the Family Morning Show.

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About Joanna Jullien

Joanna Jullien

Joanna ( and her husband have raised two sons in Roseville, CA. She has a degree from U.C. Berkeley in Social Anthropology (corporate culture). Her honors thesis was awarded the Kroeber Prize and funding from National Science Foundation grant. Joanna writes to help parents with the modern-day leadership challenges of raising children. She is a contributing writer for The Granite Bay View, the Press Tribune, the Sacramento Examiner, and editor of Banana Moments.