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If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?

Impact of Social Media on Christian teens

I wrote an article for a friend recently. And it got published in a local magazine- a church magazine. Here is the article below:

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‘Christianity according to me, is basically two simple concepts. One, that Jesus’ death on the cross was sufficient to completely pay the sin debt owed by all men and this is what restores the broken relation between God and man. This is explained in 1 Corinthians 15: 3, 4 and Romans 6 : 23. Secondly, Christianity is all about love. It’s about God’s endless love; it’s about love between you and me; me and every creation on this earth. In Mark 12 : 30, 31, Jesus explains the greatest commandments- about loving God and loving your neighbor.

But we, being our disobedient selves, live to our own ways- we rebel, we prefer to follow our desires without God and this is what the Bible terms ‘sin’. And while we sin, we make a mess of our own lives, the society and of the world. The result is misery and suffering. And it is from this suffering that God has promised us eternal salvation, through CHRIST. Now this isn’t as easy as picking up a pin from the ground. It requires effort; it requires time, and most of all- our open hearts,  willing to see, hear and witness God in our lives.

This is where we teenagers face issues. We are stepping into adulthood, hastily trying to leave back our innocence and of course, overwhelmed with all the realities of life. We can’t get our minds off the new selfie on Facebook and the notifications that would be pouring in. We can last without reading the Bible, but we can’t last without checking our tweets or Whatsapp notifications. The TV, the Internet,  our cellphones – all of the so-termed ‘social media‘ have a massive impact on our lives. It is a virtual world where we try to fit in. It affects how we see ourselves and others and how we base our decisions on them. This definitely isn’t the Christian way of living.

Our Christian activities get limited to Fridays. Our Easter and Christmas is spent re-tweeting or clicking away snaps to make the best profile picture. We forget the fellowship, we forget to spend time with our near ones and we forget the spirit of it all.

Most of us turn to the social media to escape from loneliness, whereas in reality, it makes us all the more lonely. Our social and emotional development happens while we are hooked to the Internet and cellphones. The potential harms of social media are widely known- cyber crimes, invasion of privacy, social anxiety, isolation and depression etc. All this just takes away what could’ve been effectively used in God’s work. We hesitate to step outside, to care for our poor and sick, to spend time with our grandparents,  to even think about our parents sometimes. Where then is this love that Christ has asked us to spread? How responsibly do we carry out our Christian duties? Do we realize our blessings? Are we thankful for it? Do we repent on our wrongs?

But this is just one side of the coin. There are a whole set of positives to social media use by teens. According to a survey done by World Vision, the International Christian Relief Organization,  on a total of 535 teens, between 13 and 17 years of age, 55% felt that social media sites brought more awareness about the needs of the others. It enables a wider reach and provides a platform for local volunteering. Just like we see blood donation requests, prayer requests etc. In fact, churches are embracing this postmodernism to convey ancient teachings of the Church, to break down barriers, to engage teens in the spaces they live- digital or otherwise.

It is almost impossible to live in a world devoid of social media; even the email is getting outdated!! So the philosophy here is simple-God is everywhere, even in Twitter verses. And this is just a means for us to connect and learn with our people in our faith. There are a whole range of evangelical websites, blogs and mentors who can keep us alive in our faith on an everyday basis.

To conclude, social media is definitely a boon to communication in these modern times. But striking the balance is the key. A significant centralizing relationship with Christ and a well-developed Christian worldview are the solutions to one’s personal growth in the Christian way. We need to pray; we need to read the Bible. Just like Simon Peter mentions in John 6 : 68 – there are ‘words of eternal life’ in it. These will nurture us spiritually and prepare us for leading a blessed Christian life.

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This entry was posted on February 28, 2015 by in 2015 and tagged , .

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