Like many millennials, I am addicted to social media. Last night at my young adult Friday night Bible study, my friends joked about my addiction to Instagram. But, y’all, it’s a real thing. According to the American Association of Addiction Medicine, addiction is, “Characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response.”
According to the American Association of Addiction Medicine, addiction is, “Characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response.”
Last year I was blocked from instagram for commenting and posting too much. Yes, apparently that can happen. I had to a long, 24 fours without instagram, and I started having withdrawal. I was angry, searching for all possible ways to get on the app. I was freaking out worrying that I was somehow missing out on everything. My friends may have laughed at me, but it was a big deal.
Facebook has only bee around for about a decade, being launched officially in 2004. Therefore, studies on addiction to social media and how it affects the brain are an emerging science. It’s only been 10 years, and, yet, social media (particularly Facbeook) have helped lead to Revolutions, weddings, crimes, break ups, you name it! Why are we so addicted?
Without going into the specifics of addiction, chemicals, brain function, and research, I’d like to sum it up here:
We desire connection.
We desire to be known.
From the Beginning
One of the most famous paintings in the world is Rublev’s Trinity. It shows God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit sitting at a table together. God Himself lives in a constant state of community. Created in His image, it makes sense, then, that humans desire community, too.
Social media allows us to be in this community. All. The. Time. With two clicks you can see everything your friends and family are doing (and some people share literally everything they are doing), find encouragement, share prayer requests, get news, ext. It can be a really great thing that helps us fulfill this need for community.
However, like all good things, social media can be distorted. Bullying, affairs, sexting, illegal gun sales, and even human trafficking all occur on social media. Therefore, it’s critical to remember that what you do behind your computer screen has real world affects.
It’s critical to remember that what you do behind a computer screen affects the real world.
As you’re using social media to foster community, ask yourself, “Will what I’m about to post cultivate community or destroy it?” Are my words kind? Are they encouraging? Is this truthful? Community is built upon respect and truth. Therefore, if what you’re about to say or share is not truthful or kind, do not post it. It will destroy the community that your social media accounts allow you to create.
Let’s be community builders and kingdom restorers,