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Published on November 17th, 2015 | by Discussion Questions

Should I use social media?





EMILY WRITES: It seems like everything these days involves social media. Since I’m not on Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat, it seems like I never know about big events or anything that my friends are doing. I want to use social media to communicate with my friends, but I also want to stay away from the negative influences that social media can have. I also don’t want to spend so much time on Facebook that I don’t have time for God. How should I handle this?


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  • Okie Gal

    I think it’s a good way to grow friendships, and know what’s going on in the world. It can be dangerous, but if you have good limits and take a break when it starts to be a problem you should be fine. I keep track of all the time I spend online and try not to go over 5 hours a week total. You’ll find what works best for you, good luck!

  • Nicholas Kaplan

    It is a good way to make friends and build relationships,and have it as a link to the outside world, just don’t overuse it. Make sure you are controlling it and it’s not controlling you.

    • Gabrielle

      EXACTLY!

  • Gabrielle

    You definitely don’t NEED OR HAVE to join any social media, but I think it depends on your motives, and you should be determined to only spend a little time on there. Hope that helps some!

    • Nicholas Kaplan

      Another good point.

    • Gabrielle

      You could even set days or weeks. Like only once a week. Or every other week. Only Saturdays for up to 30 minutes total, etc….

  • Nicholas Kaplan

    agreed

  • Martial Artist

    I know exactly how you feel! My friends have had social media accounts since I was 12 or 13. I’m 16 now, and I only go an Instagram this past summer, but even now I’m extremely careful. I only connect and follow my friends and a few bands that I like, so it’s a very small crowd. In my opinion, social media is a great way to be able to connect with your friends and the world. However, there’s so much mess on there that if you are easily corrupted, it is not for you. A lot of people use social media for really dumb (and vulgar) things. So unless you and your parents feel that you are able to stay away from the bad stuff and not be tempted, I would say stay away. But if you (and your parents) feel that you are mature enough, then I say go for it with caution.

    Also, you need to choose how much of yourself you want to put on the internet. Facebook is extremely intrusive and you can put a TON of info on there. That opens the door for lots of unwholesome people to…well I’ll just stop. That’s why I don’t have one. Twitter and Instagram are more focused and are not as intrusive. To me, Snapchat is just dumb, so yeah. Anyway, that’s my two cents.

    Hope this helps!

    PS My dad works for a company and he has been involved in its hiring process. He says that a part of their hiring process is to check the potential employee’s social media pages, and sometimes they don’t hire people just because of what they’ve posted! So always remember that whatever you post on social media is there forever and it can come back to haunt you!

    • Gabrielle

      “always remember that whatever you post on social media is there forever and it can come back to haunt you!” YES!! FOR SURE! We should always remember that!!

      • Martial Artist

        Wow! I think that’s the first time I’ve ever been quoted! Thanks Gabrielle!

        • Gabrielle

          HAHA!! That’s funny. It’s my pleasure to quote you! *says with a smile* You’re welcome!!

  • Gabrielle

    How do you guys really feel about posting pictures of yourself on the internet? I have mixed feelings. @BrettHarris:disqus?

    • Martial Artist

      In my opinion, obsessive selfie-taking is really bad. Unless there’s a specific reason for you taking a pic of yourself to post online (like you’re wearing a cool costume or something), then that’s fine. Otherwise, skip it. I know girls are different, so maybe I’m just misunderstanding them. But I do not find it attractive at all. If you’re in a group taking a selfie, that’s much more tolerable to me, since that person isn’t being so narcissistic. My two cents.

      • Gabrielle

        I agree!

      • MimeforJesus

        “I know girls are different, so maybe I’m just misunderstanding them.” Nah, not really…

        • Martial Artist

          What!?!? Two quotes from two different people in one week?!?! Crazy! Thanks MJ!

          • MimeforJesus

            I saw the other quote just after I quoted you! :D. You’re welcome!

    • Are you talking about the privacy issues of posting photos of yourself, or the possible vanity that could cause or stem from that?

      • Gabrielle

        Well, originally the privacy issues of posting photos of yourself, but both really.

        • Okay! Well, as far as privacy goes, I just don’t post normal photos of myself. Normal meaning a photo where it’s totally clear what I look like–that’s why I have the sunglasses in my avatar. Now, I’m not sure how much good that actually does, lol, but I feel like it preserves my privacy while allowing me to have a more personal profile picture.
          As far as vanity…well, I don’t really use social media, so I don’t really have the opportunity to overdo sharing selfies. XD But like the others have said, moderation is the main thing. :)

    • I do post pictures of myself online, though most of them are private. And most are with other people. Selfies are just not my thing, though I don’t have a particular problem with them as long as you aren’t posting TONS of them.

      • Gabrielle

        YEP!! “obsessive selfie-taking” as Martial Artist put it, doesn’t really give God glory, but it really does go back to motives.

    • I post pics of myself on FB sometimes. BUT like @martialartists:disqus said, I agree that obsessive selfie-taking for no real reason isn’t a good thing…Especially posting them all over social media every day like some people I know do. =PI feel like one every now and then is fine…or if it’s for a purpose… Most of the time if I post a pic of myself, it’s of me with other people so I’m not the main focus of the photo, or a cool candid someone snapped of me with some Zambian kids or something like that…and every now and then I’ll post a photo of just myself but there’s usually some ulterior motive besides ‘hey look at me!”. I’m usually holding a cool bug or snake people might like to see; or maybe wearing a costume like was mentioned below or something like that. =) I think ultimately it’s your heart behind the matter that counts!!! Before you post a pic of yourself on the internet, ask yourself “Why am I posting htis picture?” and make sure your heart isn’t vain, but I definitely don’t find it WRONG to post a pic of yourself.

      If you’re talking about the privacy issues like @Kittenese:disqus asked, there are ways to work around people being able to see those pictures. But, at least on FB, your profile pic is completely public…otherwise it can all be kept from other’s view. =)

      • Gabrielle

        I agree with what you have said also!

        Is your FB private?

        If one’s fb is private but someone comes across a comment you made on their friend’s post and they click your name does anything happen if your account is private? Oh, and if your account is private and your friend verbally tells you that they want to befriend you on fb, how does that happen if your account is private?

        Sorry for all the questions!! Hopefully they make some sense. :)

        • My FB is as private as it can be! haha…

          If the scenario you brought up about a comment on a friend’s post happens, then it will go to your page yes, but the ONLY thing it will show is your current profile picture and any comments on it; and any mutual friends you and the person viewing your page have… =) That should be all they can see! But, you can always test this by asking someone who isn’t your friend (even your mom or something before she friends you) to view your page and see what she can see. =)

          Friending people of FB has to be a mutual thing. So for example, you could send me a friend request, BUT I have to accept that request before we become friends and you are able to view my account and vice verse…Does that make sense?

          Also, somehow (my parents set it up for me originally) my FB is set up to where only people with mutual friends can friend request me. Meaning, let’s say you set up a facebook and want to be my friend on Facebook but no friends who are friends with you are friends with me…my account would not allow you to friend me. BUT let’s say @karljacobn:disqus (who commented below us and I’m just using for an example..lol) was my friend on FB and also yours, you could freind request me because we at least have one mutual friend…Sorry if that was confusing… =P I personally don’t like this rule because some people I know my parents may not know (ahem, y’all on the reb and revive); BUT it does prevent a majority of creepers from friend requesting me! Besides, anyone I want to be my friend on FB (by my parents’ rule) has to be friends with one of them as well…so it’s not a big deal I guess…

          Hope this helps some! =) And no worries about the questions! Ask away!!

          • Gabrielle

            Ok, that was a lot to understand, but I think I got it. Just to clarify, if I wanted to be friends with you I couldn’t send a request if we didn’t have a mutual friend?

          • Haha…sorry if I was confusing… =P I’m not always the best at explaining things…=P But yes, that is accurate. That is only because my parents set it up that way though, if you don’t want that setting and you want anyone to be allowed to send you a friend request, then you don’t have to put up that setting. =)

    • Sometimes it is all right if you are posting a profile picture or with a group of friends. But I don’t like it when people, I’ve seen mostly girls who do it, post a bunch of pictures of themselves all the time. Those are my thoughts about “selfies”.

      • Gabrielle

        Thanks for your input! :)

  • Jolie Simmonds

    Everything in moderation.

  • Audrey French

    I don’t have Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram; but I still feel like I’m on technology way too much. There’s just too many other things to do!

  • Here’s how it’s handled at my house: My parents have me limited to 30 minutes a day on social media sites or just cruising the internet. If I’m doing something meaningful or communicating with a friend (the internet is basically my only source of communication with many of my friends since i live in Zambia) then it doesn’t really count toward the 30 minutes. Social media wise, I only have Facebook…and Revive and Pinterest if they count…My parents are completely against Twitter and Snapchat and Instagram I personally don’t want to get because I feel like trying to keep up with yet another site would be too much…
    Also, my dad has this thing set up that locks my computer from 11pm until 6am and youtube and other sites are blocked with a password he has to put in for me to access them.

    He also has a way to track every site I’ve been to, how long i was on hte site, and what I did on the site. This keeps me accountable!
    So basically, I’m allowed to have those few sites, but it’s very controlled by my parents…which I am grateful for! =) 😉

    I don’t feel like social media is wrong…it’s how it is often used that is…Like @Jolie Simmonds:disqus said, “everything in moderation”. Just have boundaries set up for yourself and have someone ot hold you accountable and I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all! =)

  • Zipporah

    Emily, I don’t have any advice, but just know that you aren’t the only one struggling with this issue!

  • The biggest thing I’ve learned about social media is that it really doesn’t contribute to growing relationships. For a real relationship you need to at least text, because social media is all about sharing things with everybody – things that you want to be common knowledge. That really doesn’t contribute to a unique relationship with a specific person. That being said, social media really helps me keep up with my favorite sports groups, bands, celebrities, and even people who I haven’t seen for a long time. It’s a really great invention!

    The biggest trick is to not spent too much time on them – a half hour a day max seems right. I use FB, Instagram, and Snapchat, but IG is by far the best. It’s more streamlined than Facebook but isn’t as stupid or mysterious as Snapchat. I recommend you get an Instagram account and and you’ll be able to keep up with alot without sacrificing much time.

    Hope that helps!

    • AnnaGrace

      Are you the same Steelers Fan that was on here before and decided to take a break? If it’s you, welcome back! If not, welcome to theReb!

      • Yup, I’m the same one :-) I honestly didn’t think I’d ever be back but things just worked out haha!

  • thatcher jane

    Get the social media, but spend only a certain amount of time, give yourself only thirty minutes a day or something, that way, you can still communicate but it won’t take over your life

  • I agree with what Steelers Fan said about social media not being a great forum for truly building friendships.
    My internet communication is limited to email, disqus and a blog, so I don’t technically use social media.
    If you want to keep up with big events (I’m presuming you’re talking world affairs), try browsing a news website on a regular basis (I find that the TV news is repetitive and newspapers are harder to navigate, but on a website I can skim it in 5-10 minutes and catch all the major stories).
    As far as keeping up with friends, you could get an account and very carefully monitor your usage to use it specifically for keeping up with what they’re doing. My dad got an account once simply to keep up with extended family, but that’s it, and at times it’s been a nuisance by sending him emails constantly about other people. Perhaps you could consider if social media is the ONLY way to keep up with your friends and see if you could find a less time-gobbling alternative.
    I don’t have any experience with social media, but I know that a lot of people find it to be constantly demanding their time and attention, perhaps because it’s so easy to get distracted. If someone is my friend, I email, write, or talk to them.

  • Self-control is the key and I’m learning to have self-control though it can be hard. I do have three social media accounts with my sibling, but we only use two while the other one is rarely used now. Although. we don’t post “selfies”, we mostly post pictures of nature and other stuff.
    I agree that social media is not really is a place to make friends. If you sign up for an account, you don’t need to, you should set a small portion of time or else it becomes time-consuming. Plus, to communicate with your friends you can text or e-mail them to see what’s up. :)

  • Elaine

    I find social media to be a huge stress trigger for me and so I avoid it totally. Also as Heather C. and Steelers Fan pointed out, it really doesn’t facilitate real deep, meaningful relationships. Yes it can be frustrating and feel like your left out, but I look at it this way. If a person doesn’t want to take the time to keep up with me through email, snail mail, or by phone, when I contact them multiple times, does our contact through Facebook really mean much? I mean, are we really friends? I feel like the modern view of friend is really dumbed down.
    The other issue I personally have with social media is, for me, it is really easy to get sucked into it and waste time instead of working on so many more important things like, serving my family, seeking the Lord, etc. And most of the things on Facebook really aren’t that building up spiritually anyway.
    When I think about people of faith before social media, like Jonathan Edwards who walked the fields for hours and talked with the Lord, and many others whose knees were well worn because they spent hours each day in prayer. Compare that to the time we waste on social media, and I think our relationship with the Lord pales. It seems as if we have put our social media status high above a deep relationship with our creator. Just my thoughts.
    By His breath, Dorothy Elaine

  • Louis Gervais

    One way to make sure you don’t spend too much time on facebook and not enough time with God is making and following the rule of completing your quiet time BEFORE you allow yourself to get on facebook (this also works with checking emails, etc.).

    • Sam G

      Good idea…

  • AnnaGrace

    If you use it, have accountability and limit your time on it. And as @coleshupe:disqus said, social media is not the best way to build relationships. It’s not good if you “talk” to your friends more over social media than in real life. My best friend and I write letters (old fashioned, but it works). One downside to social media too is that you can type something, post it, and not even think about–and end up hurting your friends because you were thoughtless. Oh and read everyone else’s comments, especially @louis_gervais:disqus and @2corinthians12_9_10:disqus 😉 ~Anna

  • Olivia W.

    Most of what I would say is already said. I find hangouts to be fun for private individual messaging, or you can do a group chat too. As far as social media, I have g+ and it hasn’t been a problem for me. I think the main thing that I would say, is to not get too many “friends”. If you have less than ten “friends” like I do, it’s not time consuming at all because you don’t have a million things to look through. Almost all of my friends on the Internet are people that do the same homeschool online program that I do, and some of them I’ve really gotten to know and were good friends. While internet friends may not be as good as ones that you’ve met in real life, it doesn’t mean that they can’t be helpful and good.

  • Sam G

    Great question, Emily! :)

    Of course, as others have said, self-control and moderation is crucial. But to be honest, I don’t think self-control is going to be enough. It’s all very well to say, “Just don’t use it excessively, and you’ll be OK” – but we’ll never get by with just doing things that are “OK”. If something’s going to be worthwhile, it has to be more than “permissible”; it has to be GOOD.

    And because of that, I think it’s important to be aware of the differences between interaction on social media and interaction in real life. They might not seem important, but I think they are. (That may not sound particularly convincing, but anyway…)

    So, here’s some of the problems with social media. (WARNING: These criticisms may sound very scathing, so watch out. :P)

    1. Social media requires that you talk in order to be heard. That might seem obvious, but I think it’s a very important difference between social media and real life. In real life, it’s possible just to hang out with a friend, enjoying your time together without being pressured to talk. In social media, you can’t do that. If your friend is going to know that you’re even there, you MUST say something. And that pressure to talk – to voice your boring and irrelevant thoughts when silence could be better – is not always a good thing.

    2. Social media allows you to present a deceitful self-image. In real life, people see you and hear you, and any hypocrisies or pretensions will soon become evident. In social media, on the other hand, YOU are the one who decides what aspects of you people see. And because of that, it’s very tempting to present what an artist would call a “romanticised” self-impression: one that shows how cool and awesome you are without giving a real look at your character. It can trick others. Worse than that, it can trick you.

    3. Social media allows you to share any thoughts at any time. In real life, we have to fit with the flow of the situation and conversation. In other words, I wouldn’t just say, “Wow! I like tandoori chicken pizza!” when talking with friends, if that’s not what the conversation was about. (Well, I could say it, but they might think I was a weirdo…) You have to adapt to fit with the others around you. And that is a very important skill to learn. (People don’t survive without it.) With social media, though, you CAN say whatever you’re thinking – whenever you want to. And – far from encouraging creative or worthwhile thoughts – this actually makes us focus on the meaningless and the boring. Boredom becomes the default attitude, and nothing is going to interest us – unless, like a fast food meal, it has cheap and immediate appeal.

    4. Social media degrades friendships and emotions by reducing them to quantifiable terms. (Sorry, that sounds scientific… sometimes, it seems I can’t talk any other way. :D) When we come to measure friendships by the number of followers or “likes” we have on Facebook, we have really missed the point. Jesus said, “Take up your cross and follow me.” When to “follow” someone means little more than to click on a button, how will we ever understand the true import of His words?

    5. Social media favours the individual over the community. In real life, we experience joy by being part of something bigger than any of us. This way, we realise that we are NOT sufficient in and of ourselves, and that – more importantly – we don’t need to be. But social media tells us a very different message. By seeing ourselves as individuals rather than a unified group, we are given the chaotic ethos of “selfism” – similar to the effect of ten musicians performing totally different solos at once in a small room, each trying to drown out all the others so he can get the audience’s attention. Social media forces us to be aggressively wacky and obnoxious in order to “be noticed”. Real life allows us to be happy with who we are, knowing that we don’t have to be the king or queen of a large and confusing world.

    So, most likely, I’ve absolutely lambasted social media as a worthless and utterly degrading institution. But, having said all of this, IT CAN STILL BE GOOD. :) The bottom line is this: make sure your real life informs the way you look at social media – and not the other way around.

    Hope this helps. :)

    • Haylie

      Those are some very helpful thoughts. Thanks for your input, Sam!

      • Sam G

        No worries. :)

        • Haylie

          Have you ever thought about writing a book or something? Seriously, your comments are so well put and helpful. :)

          • Sam G

            Wow, thanks for your encouragement. :) I have thought about it sometimes, but I’m not sure whether it’s what I should be doing at the moment… Maybe at some stage. (Although your avatar might tell me that’s procrastination. :) Seriously, though, your avatar is the best!) Anyway, I’m glad you found it helpful. Have a great weekend.

          • Haylie

            You too :)

          • Sam G

            Danke. :)

  • Richard Chatfield

    Emily,

    Col 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

    The internet and social media is part of this world. Jesus prayed not to take us out of the world but that God would protect us from the evil one. In His sermon on the mount in Mat 5 He also tells us to be light and salt.

    I feel for you and understand completely you hesitance to engage in social media. In truth, there is much happening in this sphere which is not only time wasting and unproductive, but can be harmful and even sinful through the engagement of argumentation and other sinful pursuits. You are wise in recognizing the negative influences that exist. I think Sam G pretty much nailed it.

    For me, I see it in part as my mission field and a chance to share my testimony with others. When I do engage, I try to be that salt or light.

    1. Col 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

    By Him and for Him,

    God Bless

    • Sam G

      Great input, and welcome to the Rebelution! :) How’s it going?

      • Richard Chatfield

        Thanks. Things are going well. I am a bit under the weather of late, but hope to be well soon. Its great to see you out being active and sharing. Clearly God’s hand is upon your life and His Spirit speaks through you.

  • I’m the same way. Not on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. The only places I’m involved on are here and on Revive. However, we have reached the conclusion that I literally need a Facebook account. Because, that’s how our generation connects. My best advice is to use moderation.
    Do not let your worth be defined by the number of “likes” you get.
    Do not be constantly connected.
    I tend to go through phases. I am off for months, then I’m super involved. I have noticed that when I am very involved my sleep is disturbed, my thought processes are slower, and I am too concerned about what people are going to think or say when they read what I’ve written.

    Social media can be a good thing. When used properly. I would encourage you to hold off as long as possible. Enjoy the years of being free of social media.

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