We will likely have social media with us for years to come, but there are signs that younger users of social media platforms may be souring. A Faithwire story stated:
Zoomers — those born in the late 1990s and early 2000s — are turning their backs on TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram, leaving behind what many now see as “the ultimate waste,” according to the New York Post.
The anti-app exodus comes as Gen Zers are calling the platforms “toxic” and “obsessive.”
A new survey of 10,000 people commissioned by the investment bank Piper Sandler found just 22% of respondents between the ages of 7 and 22 named Instagram as their favorite app — down from 31% in 2020.
Another survey, published at Nature.com, according to Faithwire, which surveyed a significantly larger number of people – over 84,000 people ages 10 to 80…… found that “the cross-sectional relationship between self-reported estimates of social media use and life satisfaction ratings is most negative in younger adolescents.” Ultimately, the survey results suggested social media use negatively impacts younger users’ body image, life satisfaction, and self-esteem.
The Verge reported that, regardless of whether they used social media very frequently or sparingly, adolescents in the 16-to-21-year-old range saw lower life satisfaction simply as a result of engaging with the platforms.
A New York Post story stated:
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal last year, Facebook found that Instagram is harmful to teen girls and exacerbates body image issues, anxiety and depression, but downplayed the significance of those internal studies.
Emotional effects were also highlighted in another poll; the Post said: “A December survey from Tallo found that 56% of Gen Zers said ‘social media has led them to feel left out by their peers.’”
The article adds:
According to the Tallo poll, most Gen Z respondents prefer TikTok to Instagram, with 34% calling it their favorite social media spot right now.
But even the most dedicated users admit to questioning the video-sharing phenom.
A questionable incident occurred recently involving a 12-year-old who responded to a so-called “challenge” on TikTok. His name is Nick Howell, and CBN.com reported:
According to People Magazine, 12-year-old Nick Howell is warning people about the risks involved with social media challenges.
“You shouldn’t try everything you see on social media,” he told People. “It won’t go well. I want to tell people not to be a follower, but to be a leader.”
The CBN article stated:
In Oct. 2020, Nick was sitting outside of his grandmother’s house in Miami with his siblings and cousins. The kids were talking about the fire challenge which involves pouring an accelerant on oneself and then lighting the fire.
“I poured a little bit of rubbing alcohol on the (concrete) floor, lit it and put it out,” Nick recalled. “But I guess the bottle had caught on fire, and it exploded. I started burning.”
His family members hosed him down, but not after he suffered burns on 35% of his body and had to have 50 surgeries.
Tiktok updated its Community Guidelines in February, stating, “We do not permit users to share content depicting, promoting, normalizing or glorifying dangerous acts that may lead to serious injury or death.
In December, CBN News reported on a viral TikTok trend known as the “devious licks” challenge.
That “challenge” invited students “to act inappropriately or damage school property” and post about it on the app.
Through the Internet and other information sources, we come face-to-face with material that can defile us, corrupt our minds and our emotions, and even result in physical harm. There is also the social insufficiency that younger generations, consisting of voracious users of social media, seem to have discovered. The COVID crisis has taught us that virtual relationships are not a real substitute for real interaction. The line of demarcation between the real world and the virtual world has become blurred, and people are left desiring the type of fellowship that God has prescribed for human beings in His Word.
This also impacts our churches. Leonardo Blair of The Christian Post wrote recently about how the emphasis on virtual ministry has had some consequences for churches – some have closed, others have dug deeper into what is called the “metaverse.” While social media and other uses of technology can be effective ministry resources, we also should be aware that there are aspects of social media that can isolate and even divide believers.
The bottom line: our sufficiency is in Christ – if we are looking to technology or anything else to try to truly satisfy our deepest, emotional needs – something that only Jesus can do – then, we should recalibrate our focus and look to the One who calls us into a relationship with Himself and gives us a rich, fruitful, joyful life.