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social media deception

Social media styles itself as a great way to connect with friends. Facebook Live advertises: “If you have more to say, take out your phone and press this (Facebook icon), tap this (video camera icon) and go live. Now you’re not alone. Your friends are here to listen.”

Only they aren’t. Because the more you’re on social media the more lonely you are.
Monitoring the Future asked adolescents how much time they spend online and to rate their personal happiness. The results could not be more clear. The more time teenagers spend engaged in on-screen activities, the more unhappy they’re likely to be. But the exact opposite is true of teens who spend more time in non-screen activities—they are happier. This is true without exception, for every age group—regardless of the on-screen activity with which they engage.

And, it’s not only adolescents. 1,095 Danish adults were selected and then randomly asked to cease using Facebook for one week or to continue their own personal Facebook habits. At the end of a single week 36% of the adults who took a break from Facebook reported they were less lonely, 33% experienced less depression, with 9% claiming to be more happy. Those who abstained were less likely to feel sad, angry or worried. Because of the sample size and because participants were randomly assigned, results rule out the possibility that it is lonely people who spend more time on Facebook.

Data increasingly shows that social media nurtures unhappiness, loneliness, and depression.

Professor Jean Twenge PhD, writes that teens who visit social networking sites every day are actually more likely to agree with the statements: “I often feel lonely.” “I often feel left out.” “I often wish I had more friends.” An 18yr-old high school senior acknowledges, “At school, people are quieter. They all are on their technology ignoring each other. I’m dissatisfied with my life because a lot of my friends are addicted to their phones.”

8th graders who are heavy users of social media actually increase their risk of depression by 27%. Those who play sports, do homework, or participate in religious services significantly cut their risk of depression.

The New Testament book of Hebrews gives this challenge to Christ-followers: “
Provoke one another toward love and good deeds. Do not give up gathering together, but encourage one another.” Humans have bodies. We’re designed for contact. Technology cannot replace the comfort and contentment that comes from being together, being touched.

The great deception is that social media connects you with friends. What it really does is dehumanize you—using algorithms to process you, making you a commodity. ~

Dan Nygaard