As a man who spends the vast majority of his life around teenagers, it is safe to say that I have seen, heard, and experienced a great deal of experiences that most people will not in their lifetime. Now to all the teenagers reading this, THAT IS NOT A CHALLENGE TO SHOW ME MORE!!! However, being both a teacher and a student pastor, you engage in their world on a daily basis for no other reason than to understand what in the world they are saying. A large part of their society and the attempt to keep up with them is being able to understand and follow them on the vast array of social media outlets that exist today. My goodness there is Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Flickr, Snapchat, Ask, just to name a few. The one that I am fairly new to and have garnered my latest revelation from is Instagram. Now for those of you that do not follow the social media world, Instagram is a photo publishing sight where people can take pictures of just about whatever they want, post it with a caption, and share it with whomever is following their account. I admit that I am a user of Instagram and I enjoy using it. I post anything from pictures of my beautiful wife, my two boys, shameless plugs for this blog, student ministry pictures, and reminders about youth events. However, there is one major trend that I can not buy in to and that has frustrated me the more and more that I see it- I do not prescribe to the “Selfie.”
The Selfie is a trend that is popular in many forms of social media from Facebook to Twitter, but none more prevalent than Instagram. This simply is where the person takes a picture of themselves at different places or wearing different things. Perhaps it is used to show off a new haircut or a new outfit- nothing harmful really….or is it? You see people have taken this selfie thing way too far in my humble opinion. My aunt recently shared an article published by the Huffington Post that the new trend now is funeral selfies. That’s right, teenagers are taking photos at funeral homes during a funeral. This usually takes place in the bathroom mirror, but one of the posts that was shown had the teenagers deceased grandmother in the background….REALLY!!!!
This article, coupled by an increasing sight of certain people I follow on Instagram that post multiple selfies during the day, have alerted me to a greater problem in out society. We have become self absorbed and a large part of this self absorbing attitude stems from social media. There are teenagers who will post a selfie of themselves and if it doesn’t get a certain number of likes, will pull it down and take another, often in a different pose or outfit. You see this game is all about attracting the attention of the opposite sex and unfortunately people are willing to go to great lengths to get those “likes.” This self absorbed attitude that starves for attention from complete strangers is a chemical mixture that will produce some very potent and cataclysmic results. I saw it said best on Twitter the other day when someone tweeted, “Social Media: Where we seek approval we don’t need from people we don’t know.” What this is producing is a generation that cares nothing for people outside of their social media circles. If we are not careful, this will be the generation that completely neglects those in need and people, some of those individuals in need will be us.
I’m not on a crusade against social media. I love it. I consider it my mission field and a great tool to get the Gospel of Jesus Christ out to the masses, but I am urging you to look in to your teen’s use of social media. Learn the dangers, learn about how this can be an addiction and let’s teach our children what it is like to reach out and help others, in fact, let’s show them side by side.
In Christ Alone,
Rev. Bro. Coach