Friday, November 02, 2012
Just How Social is This Media?
Our daughter Emily is one of the most social persons I know. To use the term "circle of friends" doesn't really apply to the Emsta. It's more like "cast of thousands." I hardly ever see a photo of her without a gang in the image and when she graduated from college a rousing cheer rose from her classmates, somewhat to her father's dismay.
I was a little surprised then when she mentioned casually at Thanksgiving that she had packed Facebook in, and when I checked recently she is still "on the wagon." She decided it was shallow, time-consuming and has the potential to be destructive. She still tweets regularly and emails but Facebook is no more. Our twenty-something nephew, Nathan, was with us for Thanksgiving and he offered that he gave up Facebook a couple of years ago for these reasons and more. He is a computer programmer and didn't like the access Facebook had to his life, so he shut it down.
Why tell you this? I listened to yet another program on cyberbullying on the CBC the other day and I almost turned off the radio when it started because, well, enough already. It was a phone-in and I did get hooked because of the stories of cruelty which were almost incomprehensible. The mother of an eleven-year-old told of a Facebook page being created by a classmate with her daughter's name. It turned out to be a classmate who was supposedly a friend who defamed others under her daughter's image, complete with photo.
It occurred to me that we probably aren't doing enough with our parents and children in congregations to help them navigate through social media. Obviously there are many benefits and more and more congregations are using Facebook and other media to communicate, which is great. And I don't want to pick on one company. But there are considerable perils as well, including young people who are into cutting and other self-destructive acts who use social media to create support groups.
Hey, maybe we could just be social! We could get together with friends and share a meal. Or we could --wait for it-- go to church and get to know like-minded people! Well, maybe I shouldn't stretch it too far.
Are you concerned about your kids and social media? Is it a baffling world in which you don't partake? Should congregations accept some responsibility in educating their folk, both young and not-so-young?
Can the path of a storm alter the course of an election? http://groundlingearthyheavenly.blogspot.ca/2012/11/changing-tide.html