Why Teens Compulsively Use Social Media

Several years ago, we ran a series of articles about why teens compulsively use social media. Each of these pieces provides valuable insight, so we thought we’d offer them to you as a package you can read through for yourself or share with the parents of your students.

Though social media platforms may trend or tank, the principles remain the same: teens are searching for identity, belonging, affirmation, and community. Let’s show them that they can find everything they need in Jesus. Let’s work to make His local churches places which glorify Him and love them well.

Teens compulsively use social media:

To Be Able to Measure Their Worth: “Our presence on social media doesn’t have to revolve around acquiring the most friends or followers, but can instead focus on leaving a Gospel imprint that invites people to repent and find true life, hope, and purpose in the Living God who is Jesus.”

To Live in a Fantasy World of No Consequences: “But when all is said and done, the people behind these screens are made in the image of God, and that ontological declaration is what is ultimately the most true and real.”

To Hide From Reality: “Social media often enables us to hide from the hard and uncomfortable pieces of our lives. Too many times, we use social media to escape from reality rather than to engage it. And, in a day when technology is the norm—even the expectation—our students only know a world in which social media plays an integral part. In this context, I wonder if teens are losing the ability to be present in the stories in which they find themselves.”

To Craft Their Own Identity: “Our students need to be shepherded away from the deadly web of identity fabrication, that entangles so many. They need to be reminded that their true identity is in Christ.”

To Feel Connected But Without Risk and Vulnerability: “You see, social media allows students to “be themselves” with a low risk of vulnerability.  My wife has often described social media as an adult’s “imaginary friend”.  We tweet and update what we would want to tell someone who could never disapprove, and these are often comments and declarations we would never say person-to-person.  For most of us, social media unfortunately works as an imaginary buffer between our emotions and reality.”

To Be Known and Loved: “When teens are “accepted” as a (virtual) friend on social media, when they publicize their day-to-day thoughts and feelings—and receive the responses and comments of others—many experience a false sense of being in intimate community. Subconsciously, they are looking for that which will fulfill and satisfy their intrinsic desire to be known and loved, but are only let down.”

Advancing Grace-Driven Youth Ministry

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