5 Ways to Determine if Social Media is Negatively Affecting YouNovember 6, 2014
Rewind your mind back 50 years. Imagine the kind of looks you would get if you made the following statements in that generation:
- Did you get my text message?
- Did you see the latest trending tweets?
- I was tagged in a photo
- My spam folder is full
- Hit me up on Snapchat
Social media has not only redefined our vocabulary, it has revolutionized the way we communicate with one another. Our great-grandparents would think we have adopted an extraterrestrial language if they could hear the verbiage of this generation. It’s inescapable, almost. From the breaking news to the bothersome nagging, we are inundated with the minutiae of friends we have never met. Like all other forms of entertainment and media, social-networking needs moderation. Without certain restraints, social media can take over your life.
Here are five ways to determine whether or not social media is negatively affecting you:
1. When it interrupts Your Devotion with God, it is having a negative effect
If you cannot read your Bible, pray in solitude, or hush your heart without scrolling through someone’s latest pictures on Instragram, odds are, social media has robbed you of quality devotional time with God. Don’t allow such frivolity to become an idol.
2. When it takes away time from family, it is having a negative effect
We are all guilty: we sit together quietly in a room with glowing lights resonating off our faces. If we do not place restrictions and limitations on electronics, we can become isolated and indifferent with the people sitting five feet away.
3. When it damages relationships, it is having a negative effect
I have seen it too many times. Friendships ruined, churches divided, ministries hurt because of things that have been said. Who among us has not scrolled through countless pages of idle chatter? We read the opinions, the fights, and the disagreements. Sadly, a lost and dying world reads the same feeds and is repulsed by that brand of Christianity.
4. When it altars your attitude or changes your mood, it is having a negative effect
The bitterness, jealousy, indifference, gossiping, and backbiting on social media can endlessly bombard our hearts and have a direct effect on our attitude, mood, and even health. According to a 2010 study conducted by Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, “hyper-networking (more than three hours on social networks per day) and hyper texting (more than 120 text messages per day) correlated with unhealthy behaviors in teens, including drinking, smoking and sexual activity. Hyper-networking was also associated with depression, substance abuse, poor sleep patterns, suicide and poor academic performance.”*
5. When it decreases productivity from work, ministry, and household duties, it is having a negative effect.
Let’s suppose you check social networks five minutes per hour on average (I would assume this is a very conservative estimation). Within a twelve-hour period you would waste an entire hour of your God-given day on trivial, meaningless drivel. (5 minutes x 12 hours= 60 minutes, or 1 hour per day). Consider that in the context of a year: 365 hours or 15.2 days per year, half a month is spent on non-productive activity.
Wow. (I’m convicted, anyone else?)
I do not condemn the use of social media; it has become an integral part of our existence. It has advantages, benefits, and even blessings attached to it. We, however, as believers and followers of Christ, must maintain our stewardship. When it begins to negatively affect ministry, family, productivity, health, and relationships, it is time to call it into question.