Social media portrays a world where everybody is happy and having a good time. Everybody, of course, except for you. There must therefore be something wrong with you. You are a loser. Teenage boys without girlfriends feel like social freaks. One in three teenage girls who use social media suffers from body image issues.
Social Media and Depression
Young adults who use social media are three times as likely to suffer from depression. Depression can lead to suicide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, female suicides aged 15-24 increased by 87 percent over the past 20 years and male suicides increased by 30 percent. The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry says suicide is now the second leading cause of death for “children, adolescents, and young adults age 15-to-24-year-olds.”
Contrast this to the Christian message that emerged from the recent Asbury Revival. You are not a loser. You are a child of God. And because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, you can be in God’s family. Like a father loves his imperfect children, God unconditionally loves you just the way you are.
Broken But Loved
In his revival meetings, as audience members came to the altar, Billy Graham’s choir would sing the hymn Just As I Am that announces humanity is fallen but still loved by God.
Many revivals, including the one at Asbury, start with the young. Watch this short excerpt here from a CBN video. One young man confesses “It’s been a really hard couple of years. And not just for me but a lot of my friends.” He goes on to tell how his anger and bitterness were healed because of the message of the revival.
Social media can become an addiction. Jessica Holzbauer, a licensed clinical social worker at Huntsman Mental Health Institute, says social media is addictive by design. “We get a dopamine release in our brain when we pick up our phone or log into social media.” TikTok, for example, creates “a constantly updated and personalized flow of short and entertaining clips that create an intense emotional impact, an immediate flood of dopamine, and the feeling of missing out if you do not keep watching to see the latest viral video.” US Congressman Mike Gallagher says “TikTok is digital fentanyl that’s addicting Americans.” With over a billion users, TikTok is now being banned for a number of other reasons in places like Vermont, Virginia, and Texas.
Hope for Recovery and Healing
The twelve-step plan for recovery from addiction to alcohol, drugs, porn, and gambling can and should be applied to the recovery from the addiction to social media. Step 3 is to “Make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”
This is what helps heal troubled youth at Asbury.