My generation is now the largest users of Facebook. A precious lady at church, in her 80's, came to me recently and proudly asked, "Can you believe it? I'm on Facebook now and love it." She was a great grandmother, proud to be current, trendy. I was proud of her too for learning and growing.
Some say it's mere self absorption, a shallow way to affirm yourself and activities. I've heard others say one finds self worth in the tally of others' responses and that it replaces actual friendships. These are blanket statements and, while might be accurate in extreme cases, I'm not so sure it's warranted.
Like most tools, the Internet can be used for both good and evil. When the Guggenheim press was invented, naysayers predicted much the same and offered similar warnings. God's Word is preserved forever, whether in hand-written scripts, printed press or Internet.
My take on social media is somewhere between evil, addictive self-absorption and a tool no one should ever be without. Just like food. If one is obese, food addiction may be at play. If friends tell you to, "Put down your phone and talk to me!", you may be addicted to electronics. Addictive behavior in other areas may be an indicator here too.
Moderation is the key. If I neglect my face-to-face conversations or find myself unable to enjoy a meal without my iPhone or iPad, constantly checking, responding to every beep like Pavlov's dog, I may need the warnings that I've gone too far.
I've been with friends and felt that. It's quite insulting. When I mentioned it to a friend recently, her response was, "We all have our addictions!" She went right on texting!
On the other hand, when our family has needed prayer or encouragement, it's been a wonderful way to reach out. Likewise I can encourage my real friends. It's a good way to "see" family living far away too! But I can do this even going online once a day or less.
I admire some who recognize that they may have become extreme and dependent so they sign off, unplug and say so long for awhile. Parents who limit their children's screen time also get my applause. Temperance and self-control can triumph over self-obsession!
So it might be wise to avoid labels and broad statements that make generalizations about others. Might be wiser to check up on myself and monitor my own usage.
- Do I have boundaries? Are there ever times I choose NOT to be connected?
- Do I master my technology or does it master me?
- Does it serve me or am I enslaved to it?
- Do I own my phone or does it own me?
- Do I answer or check every time it calls?
True, we're all out of balance in some areas but that should not excuse us from finding balance, kicking addictions! Fine line between use and abuse. That's my two cents' worth for free!