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Today several other women from church and I led a discussion about social media with the girls. I wanted to post a couple of our resources online in case anyone wants to use them also. Recently I’ve been reading story after story after story of kids (and adults) struggling with anxiety, depression, loneliness, suicidal thoughts, insecurity, and more – and studies are linking the rise in so much of this behavior to technology and social media. Collin Kartchner has really unearthed a movement bringing so many of these stories to light, and helping us see from so many stories shared how social media has negatively influenced thousands. As leaders to the girls at church ages 12-18 we really felt like we needed a big discussion on this. We created an online survey several weeks before the lesson, about social media and technology. The survey was anonymous and helped us to understand how the girls use it and what they struggle with. In a world where we have lost so much real human contact, our substitutes for it aren’t fulfilling basic human needs. However we also live in a world where this is the reality and we need to address the issues rather than just hope they go away.
Social media + technology is a tough subject because we all need help with this – adults and children, but it’s also something very personal. We each need to monitor how we can be better about using our phones and our apps for our own situation. This handout is just a rough outline of some of the topics we covered. Also are these social graphics which can be printed or shared online.
Lastly, if you are preparing your own talks with your family or church about these topics, here are some quotes I loved that we read while preparing:
- “[Phones] need to be our servants, not our masters. For example, if later tonight you share inspiring thoughts from this devotional on social media, your smartphone is a servant. If you randomly surf the Internet, your smartphone is a master.” -M. Russell Ballard
- “As we consider various choices, we should remember that it is not enough that something is good. Other choices are better, and still others are best.” -Dallin H. Oaks
- “Those who think of life as a ministry tend to be less lonely, less likely to feel that life has spun out of control, more inclined to have a gentle heart, more filled with purpose.” – Sheri Dew
- “To be encircled about eternally in the arms of His loved, will be a real, and not a virtual experience.” – David A. Bednar
- “We live in a world that feeds on comparisons, labeling, and criticism. Instead of seeing through the lens of social media, we need to look inward for the godly attributes to which we each lay claim. These godly qualities and longings cannot be posted on Pinterest or Instagram.” – W. Craig Zwick
- “Making of your life a ministry means consciously asking yourself in everyday situations, “Why has the Lord brought me here today?” and then looking for ways to build up people and the kingdom. It means asking the Lord what He needs you to do rather than feverishly working down your list of To-Do’s that may or may not have lasting significance.” – Sheri Dew
- “When using social media, we tend to broadcast the smiling details of our lives but not the hard times at school or work. We portray an incomplete life—sometimes in a self-aggrandizing or fake way. We share this life, and then we consume the “almost exclusively … fake lives of [our] social media ‘friends.’” Brooks asserts, “How could it not make you feel worse to spend part of your time pretending to be happier than you are, and the other part of your time seeing how much happier others seem to be than you?” – Quentin L. Cook referencing David A. Bednar