3 Things Every Teen Should Know About Social Media
Social media has changed my life.
It’s an incredible opportunity to connect with new people I would have never met otherwise. To share and learn new ideas and perspectives.
But there is an uncomfortable truth I sense more and more when using social media. A lurking danger behind all the connecting, content-creating, photo-sharing, and influence-growing.
Here are three truths every young person should know about social media.
1. See The Danger
In Genesis, God destroys the planet with a flood but saves the family of Noah. Noah’s family grows into a massive population who all speak the same language. In Genesis 11:4, the descendants of Noah say:
Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.
This towering, heaven-reaching structure was named “Babel”. In Babylonian literature, “Babel” means “the gates of God”. The people wanted to build something of meaning. Something to proclaim how amazing and incredible they were. Something to showcase their influence and power.
The danger of pride
Despite all the wonderful opportunities of social media, it often taps into our ancient flaw — pride.
- “I don’t want to become a ‘nobody’ in this sea of everybody.”
- “I want to build and say something of meaning.”
- “I want to be noticed and seen as ‘smart’, ‘sexy’, or ‘important.’”
I am as guilty as the next person. But it’s dangerous.
2. Know the Consequences
If we back up to verse 3, the author explains how they built Babel:
And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had bricks for stone, and bitumen for mortar. (Genesis 11:3)
Why a random list of building materials? The Hebrews would have caught the irony.
As a people forced to make bricks back in Egypt, they understood you don’t build a huge tower with bricks and mortar. You need to be building with stone. Bricks look good on the outside, but it was going to make this behemoth building unstable.
In response, God confused their language and dispersed them across the globe.
The consequence of confusion
The people’s pride created nonsense and confusion, not “the gates of God”. Thus, the name “Babel” would forever be synonymous with “confusion.”
When using social media, this is the reality we face. A life built with the bricks of followers and influence will become an unstable tower. An identity defined by subscribers and likes will only end in confusion.
3. Use the Tool (wisely)
As we utilize social media into the future, let us be aware of these lurking dangers and consequences. Social media is a tool — capable of incredible potential. But any tool can be twisted to something dark and dangerous. Something to feed our pride and build our little kingdoms.
How can we use this tool with wisdom?
See social media from a new perspective
This truth transformed how I approach and use social media: social media is a community. Social media is not meant to build your kingdom. To promote “you” 24/7. It is a platform providing you the unique opportunity to:
- Meet new people
- Share new ideas
- See things from different perspectives
- Bring value to the communities you connect in
Be known as a “giver,” not a “taker.” Be known as the one who says, “Look at this amazing person!” Not the one who constantly says, “Look at how amazing I am!” Be known as someone who shares their time, not someone who is constantly asking for other people’s time.
Use social media for a new goal
Filled with God’s presence, we are being transformed into a new humanity with a new identity. A people who are image-bearers of God and representatives of His glory to all creation.
Therefore, let us become the young people who go. Go! Go into all the (digital) world and preach the gospel. Be a light to this amazing world called the internet.
- How can we bear God’s image on social media?
- How do we glorify God in a digital world of bits and bytes?
- How do we represent who God truly is in our conversations on the internet?
These are the questions confronting our generation. This is our challenge. As we move forward into this new frontier, let us be:
- Awake to the danger
- Aware of the consequences
- Anxious to use this tool for God’s glory
May God protect and strengthen as you go forth into the digital wilderness.