I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the direct message my teen girl received: “You are way too ugly to be posting selfies.” A guy she didn’t even know sent it to her on Instagram. (What makes someone go out of their way to hurt a total stranger?) My daughter happens to be a beautiful young woman, but that’s neither here nor there. Even though she’s poised, articulate, smart, and creative, the message shook her up.
Social media wields a powerful influence on our teens. Their world is colored by Instagram, Snapchat, and Youtube. They probably get their news from Twitter and Facebook, although my kids tell me mainly ancient people over 30 use Facebook now. Social media can be a powerful communicator of God’s truth, but it can also hurt. Some kids use it to bully and compete with others, or to subtweet at friends they’re upset with.
No doubt about it, social media can shake us up, and I have to admit I’m not so different from my teen. When we look at beautiful images on Instagram, we start to feel not so attractive ourselves. What we have, the places we go, and the people we know don’t look as exciting as the glamourous images we see, and before we know it, we start to feel less positively about ourselves. Social media can shake our self-image.
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