Read stories from listeners of TWR Women of Hope.
Apr17FriApril 17, 2020 by the TWR Canada Women's Ministry Team
“I honestly think that social media puts teens specifically into a position of where they no longer feel good about themselves a lot. I find myself feeling self-conscious a lot of the time because of pictures other people post.” This was shared by a 16-year-old girl in a 2018 survey by Common Sense about teens’ experiences with social media. This survey revealed that the use of social media by teens is complicated; it has both positive and negative effects on the emotional and social well-being of teenagers.1
When teenagers, particularly girls, take to heart what people say about them online, both positively and negatively, they are placing more importance on the words of the world than on the Word of God. Instead of finding their identity in Christ, they look for their identity in who they are online.
When we seek the things above, as Paul says in Colossians 3:1-2, we see the truth of Christ’s words and who we are in him and the lies of the world which try to convince us otherwise. In a world where 70 per cent of teenagers are checking social media more than once a day, and 38 per cent of those teenagers are checking social media more than once an hour2, we must encourage them to see their identity in Christ, and not in their online experiences.
As we walk alongside the teenage girls in our lives – daughters, sisters, granddaughters, nieces, those in our churches and communities – may we remind them:
- Jesus understands how we feel. He experienced emotions, and also felt betrayed. (Hebrews 4:15-16, John 11:35, Matthew 26:45-46)
- God loves us and we are precious to him. (Isaiah 43:4a)
- The ways of the world are not the ways of Christ, and the world around us will not understand our obedience to Christ. (John 15:18-19)
- Placing our value in the number of followers or friends we have online has no eternal value. God does not look at this, but instead looks at our hearts. (1 Samuel 16:7)
As they begin to believe these truths and dispel the lies they hear from the world, we have the privilege of seeing these young women blossom into the women God has created them to be. Discipling and encouraging teenage girls is a rewarding task – like anyone, progress may be slow, but it is a joy to see them grow in faith and learn their identity in Christ. Do not be discouraged, but press on in building into the lives of the teenage girls in your life.
1, 2 Social Media, Social Life: Teens Reveal Their Experiences. Common Sense, 10 Sept. 2018, www.commonsensemedia.org/sites/default/files/uploads/research/2018_cs_socialmediasociallife_fullreport-final-release_2_lowres.pdf.