You've probably come across quite a few articles listing the serious—and sometimes unexpected—side effects of social media. Everything from "social media interferes with your ability to think independently" to "social media compels you to overeat" has at some point crossed our feeds. We take a second to click, nod our heads in agreement, maybe even pause for a moment of introspection....
and then go right back to flicking our merry way home*.
(*that is, to our home screens)
But apparently, there might be one side effect to top them all. And according to a recent article on Relevant Magazine, it's a side effect that should cause us to examine our use of social media with a sense of urgency.
Social media kills intimacy.
Now before you click back into your home screen, thinking you've captured the tidbit of information you needed, know that reading the bolded print isn't enough. Because if this issue truly is legitimate, it has a profound impact that goes beyond spending habits, FOMO, or even our social aptitude—far, far beyond.
Licensed professional counselor, relationship expert, national speaker and author Debra K. Fileta explains exactly what happens when we get in the habit of social media sharing: “It gives us a platform to share some really sacred things, some really intimate details, in the context of a meaningless atmosphere. And in the end, if we’re not careful, it can cause those things to lose their sacredness.”
Fileta takes it one step further. By taking "sacred things and throwing them into a not-so-meaningful context", she explains that we are engaging in a kind of social pornography:
"When we look at pornography within the context of the sexual, it carries the same idea. We live in a society in which sex has lost so much of its value, because it is no longer set apart. Rather, it’s on display for the world to see. In a world where sex is blatantly bombarding us through the internet, entertainment, media and commercialization—the sacred has become ordinary in the pursuit of drawing an audience.
And sexuality that is shared with everyone loses its prime purpose: intimacy."
Fileta goes on to make another shocking analogy, aligning our behavior on social media to the Matthew 7:6 imagery of throwing the sacred to dogs and pearls to pigs. ("Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.")
Lost sacredness. Lost intimacy. And even, perhaps, lost faith. Without real-life relationships, Fileta points out that we lose our ability to get a better glimpse of God. And that might be the greatest danger.
God didn't design you to process a thousand experiences at lightning speed. God didn't design you to live vicariously through another's Insta feed or Facebook posts. He designed you to live life for yourself...with Him...in a mode where you can actually discover Him.
Through the slow, uncurated process of experience...
Through the deep, unfiltered process of relationships...
Through His voice in the stillness.
Maybe this is all part of Satan's carefully crafted plot to subvert the dreamers, the lovers, and the world-changers. The enemy might be preventing teens, moms and dads, grandparents and so many others from living out their God-given missions—just by keeping them chained to the world of their smartphones. And the sad thing is that we're barely putting up a fight.
Maybe it's time we re-examine our use of social media and start living the life the way God designed it to be lived. For the sake of our sanity...for the sake of our relationships...and for the sake of our souls.
Article date: October 25, 2017
Photo courtesy: ©Pixabay
Cristina Rutkowski Ford is editor of Crosswalk.com.