Are Sadness and Insecurity Linked to Social Media?
Written by Christi Given | April 14, 2014
Every week, I go through the “Girl Talk” section of Project Inspired and look for those seeking advice and counsel. I want to help answer some questions you may have about living out your Christian life and walk of faith! We want PI to be a safe place where you can ask questions.
A PI Girl asked for prayer regarding feeling sad and depressed. She said that she just gets this feeling once in a while during the week about small things and doesn’t know why. This led me to the topic of social media, which studies have indicated could possibly be linked to bouts of sadness or feelings of despair.
Read more Girl Talk posts here.
In our culture today, almost everyone is on social media and it is highly addictive and distracting, and can also be time-consuming. Not that all social media is bad, because there are positive feeds and encouraging words we can all use in our lives. Outside of the positive posts, many young people are comparing themselves to others because they feel their lives are not as significant, fun or perfect as some of the pictures or posts they see.
Part of the danger of constant picture feeds or status updates is that not only are they constantly in our faces, but they’re also typically a person’s “best foot forward” in life, so they’re not always a true picture of their reality. For example, people don’t post a poor photo of themselves; rather, they post their best “selfie.” In addition, people want to put up positive photos of vacations, friends and so forth, which is not bad in itself, but can tend to make some people feel that their life is not as exciting or fulfilling.
According to sources from a 2014 article in The Christian Post entitled “Facebook Depression Affecting Teens, Report Says”:
For Rhett Smith, a therapist and part-time pastor to youth and families, the latest AAP [American Academy of Pediatrics] report confirms what he and many others have been feeling:
“One of the glaring paradoxes in my use of technology/social media is that it has both the ability to make me feel connected and intimate with others, while at the same time feeling isolated, alienated and lonely…”
There are some valid points in this observation, especially seen by those who have one-on-one experiences with youth and counseling. There is some truth to the isolation factor regarding social media, as we are more connected than ever, yet there is less personal physical human connection. The loss of personal connection is causing many people to feel lonely. According to the article above:
Gwenn O’Keeffe, MD…co-author of the clinical report, says social media, rather than face-to-face interaction, is the primary way some teens and tweens interact socially.
“A large part of this generation’s social and emotional development is occurring while on the Internet and on cell phones,” she stated in the report.
“Facebook is where all the teens are hanging out now. It’s their corner store”…according to The Associated Press.
Let us remember to guard our hearts and minds while on social media and to really make sure we’re aware of what we’re reading and whom we’re following (making sure it’s positive, uplifting and encouraging in our life and hopefully in the Lord as well). In addition, let us remember God’s Word, and know our identity is in Christ as royal daughters of the King (1 Peter 2:9).
Your worth, girls, is NOT determined by how many “likes” or followers you have. You remember Jesus is interceding for you, and the great cloud of witnesses is cheering us on as we run the race of faith (Hebrews 11). Let us NOT grow weary in doing good (Galatians 6), posting POSITIVE scriptures and helping encourage one another, whether in person or online. I want you to remember HOW MUCH GOD LOVES YOU! Don’t let social networking distract you or deter you from knowing WHO you are in Christ. You are God’s child and are so unique and special.
When we live our lives with the right MIND-set and the right THINKING (renewing our mind with the Word of God), then we can begin to live a fruitful life that God intended for us, amen? I know that online we are bombarded with the pressure to look beautiful, fit in and constantly keep posting new updates, but don’t let social media dictate your life.
Stop. Pause. Pray and remember that a lot of times, if it’s not used for the better, then it’s time-consuming and usually wasting our precious minutes here on earth. Really ask yourself about it. Evaluate the time you spend on social media and also what you’re looking at. Pray and ask God to protect you from things that may make you feel insecure, unloved or even may be discouraging to your heart. Remember, God wants to give us the anointing oil of joy, not a spirit of despair, sadness or loneliness! God is always with us—remember this!
PI Girls, do you know any scriptures about guarding your thoughts, heart and mind? Comment below and/or write a prayer request! I love you, PI Girls!