Where to begin on this subject. There is so much talk about the effects that this is having especially on younger generations lately, and I have been thinking a lot about it recently too. Many times before I have done social media hiatuses where I delete all of the apps off my phone and do a cleanse from all things online that are unnecessary. When I do, it doesn’t feel like it should be that hard because I don’t often put things out into the social mediasphere but, its the scrolling, looking at other people that is toxic to my heart.
I don’t know that I personally understand or see the negative effects that social media can have on me until I am off it. When I am constantly consumed by it, I am noticeably more irritable or angry and my relationship with God suffers as well. I find my scrolling time eating into my Jesus time or even when I am having Jesus time, I am thinking about my social media. This is one of the most frustrating things to me, my focus is not where it should be.
As a part of my college courses, I have taken a few classes on the influence of media in our culture. None of these classes are taught with a biblical background or even perspective, however I find it so interesting that even people who are not believers in Jesus, have similar feelings about social media. A lot of what is taught is about sexuality and the way that people communicate online. Media often creates a ripple effect in people’s lives, trends catch fire and suddenly everyone is following what everyone is doing.
Take a silly example such as a dance move or a challenge, like the ALS ice bucket challenge that was going around a few years ago. While this challenge was specifically well meaning, it caused a ripple effect and suddenly everyone was doing it. Creators on YouTube have done things like this as well, like beauty gurus who do specific make up looks or comedic creators doing the bird box challenge.
I think this same idea applies to the indoctrination of ideals or morals through people on platforms like Instagram and YouTube. If you follow a model who posts a whole bunch of selfies, you might start posting a whole bunch of selfies. If you follow people who don’t censor their words, you might start swearing more often. If you follow someone who posts about alcohol a lot, you might start drinking more. You get the idea. Social media can really influence us more than we realize.
I find when I block out all of social media, I come back to the person I know myself to be. I wish that there was something in the bible specifically about social media because I think that would be very helpful in navigating this crazy platform that we have invented. While it wasn’t around at the time that the bible was being put together, I believe that there are many examples of how we can navigate this in the bible.
Now I don’t want to appear as if I know everything, I know I don’t. I have struggled with what to write in this post over the past few days because I don’t know what to say about a lot of it. Social media has been such a taboo subject in my heart that I don’t think I have really come to conclusion on a lot of my feelings.
However, some of the verses that follow, are helping me navigate and figure out where my heart lies on this subject.
“Do not be deceived, “Bad company ruins good morals.”” 1 Corinthians 15:33. I start with this verse because of my personal experience with social media. Like I was saying above, following someone and investing in their lives, makes what they are doing a little bit easier to swallow, or more okay in your own life. That is how social media often works in my life. I find myself following someone because I think they are funny, but their values do not align with my own – bad company, ruins good morals. So then in turn, my heart starts to become more like theirs.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear,” Ephesians 4:29. I don’t think that every avenue or every post on social media is bad or negative. However, often times in my own heart, one negative post, speaks louder than ten positive posts. I think this helps me when I am scrolling through social media. Instead of investing in a post that doesn’t align with my heart, I either pass it or I will unfollow the account that it came from, to eradicated it all together from my heart.
“And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him,” Colossians 3:17. This verse speaks the loudest to me because it is the most all encompassing verse, and most applicable to the most subjects in my life. This seems like such a simple concept but can honestly be hard to do. I have found, that aligning my heart, my mouth, my mind, and even my social media with what aligns with Jesus, makes my relationship with Him easier and deeper.
Again, I don’t pretend to know everything, I contemplate posting often because I am not sure what other people will think. I think a lot of that feeling comes from the feelings I have gained from being on social media. But I want to tell you that I will never stop sharing what is in my heart. I hope you all enjoy my posts, you don’t have to agree or even like them, but I hope that some part of it brings you joy or maybe prompts you to reflect on yourself. Either way, I am glad that you clicked on this post today and I hope that the rest of your week is splendid.