Youth and Social Media

How did Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook, take over the world?  How did it become the topic of discussion, the way to communicate, and the stumbling point in our lives all at the same time?

Social media can either be something that brings us down or it can be something that can be used for good.  Let’s look briefly at both sides of this.

Nowadays, students are faced with all sorts of temptation right at their fingertips.  The temptation of comparison, of pride, of sexual immorality, of doubt, and so much more.  We obsess over having the right image on our Instagram or creating a persona on Twitter that makes people want to follow you.  We can’t get enough of stalking celebrities and compare ourselves to someone else’s family.  How did this become the norm?  We can sit here and think of a simpler time, a time without social media.  A time when we had to call each other on our home phones or write letters.  To know what was happening in the world we had to read the newspaper.

We can wish that this is how it was again, but that’s not what the world is. Social media is in our future.  So why not get ahead of the world and figure out a plan to prevent falling for these temptations.  To utilize what we have and use our platforms for good.  To find or create apps that point towards growth in our relationships and in ourselves?

Here are some trends I’ve been seeing in our youth and how we can use that app to point towards growth.  Now, not every social media platform will lead towards growth in someone’s life.  Some people may have to refrain from it altogether in order to promote growth in their own lives (or you may not be allowed to use them).  So, take these tips and apply it to your personal life or your students’ personal lives in a way that best suits you or them.

Snap Chat:
This is the #1 used app for teens today.  I’ve seen this be one of the top modes of communication in our teens.  I personally have utilized the “group” feature on the app to stay in touch throughout the week with my small group girls.  It’s an added bonus since they’re on it most of the day.  We can utilize this app to encourage one another, to communicate important information (as leaders), or to simply have fun and look funny with filters (all about promoting joy).

This seems to be the app to showcase our lives.  We put on pictures that are going to curate the right image for us.  But, I’ve also seen the “real posts” come alive, as in posting the not so pretty sides of us, to promote realness and vulnerability.  We also tend to follow and have followers that we don’t know or may not have talked to in years.  This is a great way to encourage some of these people.  Post things you’re learning in your own life or create stories to speak truth to others.  You never know who’s going to see those posts and really need it for the day.

I see this becoming less of a trend, but none the less, a means of communication.  Twitter seems to be more of an app that students scroll through and look at different people’s tweets.  Find encouraging people to follow on Twitter.  Follow influential people and people that are creating Jesus movements in their own towns.  This can be a great way for a nugget of encouragement for our day.

Bible App:
Our youth group just went through a series about creating healthy habits in our life.  One of those being, reading the bible every day.  We chose to do a seven-day reading challenge with our whole group.  The app we used was the YouVersion Bible App.  It has tons and tons of reading plans to choose from.  You can invite friends to a plan you are reading and it gives you streaks, to show you how many consecutive days you read on your app (just like snapstreaks).

There are many other apps out there that are great to promote growth in our relationships with God.  One of those being the Claim your Campus app. It’s a great way for students to create prayer teams in their school to be praying for those around them.

So, in conclusion, let’s start finding ways where we can promote growth in our students’ lives with social media.  And let’s help them find ways to stay accountable with their use of the different social media platforms they use.  Let’s move with culture and stir on healthy habits.

Becca Ebenhoch
Guest Blogger
Becca has done youth ministry in various places across the US and is currently involved in youth ministry in Modesto, CA.

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