Does social media really help the situation? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I have posted about reading Abigail Shrier’s book Irreversible Damage recently. I am also going through a book now called The Price of Panic about how we made a lot more of the Coronavirus than it actually was and how that panic cost us. In both cases, one of the main culprits is social media.
On social media, everyone is an expert on everything. Of course, there are people who are experts in real fields on social media, but most everyone thinks they have something to say and it is worthy saying, usually because they are the one saying it. In the election of 2016, everyone was an expert on the electoral college. In Covid, everyone was an expert on medicine. Everyone can be an expert on constitutional law or rioting or any number of subjects that are in the news.
Many of us are willing to speak since that’s easy to do, but few of us are willing to go and read an informative book on the subject matter under question. When we don’t do activities like that, we speak out of our own ignorance. Worse than that, we can take a situation that could be somewhat bad and fan the flames and make it worse.
Consider what happens in the transgender movement. Everyone suddenly knows about what happens when you put cross-hormones in your body. Not only that, but people give attention and validation to someone they don’t really know and have never met. Those people become more important than the ones that are right there in person and know the person far better.
There’s a reason so many kids are going to the internet when they want to learn something about themselves and talking to complete strangers about it. Many of these kids can be very impressionable. On the other side of this, cyber bullying is now a greater hazard because of social media because in the past, the kids at least got a break when they got out of school and the bullies couldn’t reach them. Not today. Now they get home and they are bulled on the internet as well.
In the case of Covid, we liked to share bad news. If 100 planes take off today and they all land safely, you won’t hear about that on social media or on the news. You could hear about the plane that landed safely if your loved one is in it and they post they’re at the airport or a selfie of them there, but you won’t turn on the news and hear “100 planes took off and landed safely today without a hitch.” When one of them crashes, that’s what the news will be. (And on social media, everyone will be an expert on airplanes then as well.)
So what can we do?
First, with children, parents need to definitely monitor social media. I wouldn’t even give your children a smartphone until they’re at least 16, maybe even older. This is especially the case for daughters who will be prone to be tempted to use SnapChat as there are guys who will say on there, “Unless you send me a picture of you topless, I’m going to kill myself.” It’s happened before and some girls fall for it.
Since some kids know how to delete their browser history as well, you could consider being on the computer with them. That way you can be spending time with your children as well. Either way, monitor what they do on social media. Check their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
For the adults in the room, try to inform yourself and really learn how to reason. I got in a debate yesterday with someone about Covid. Rather than consider that maybe I could have a point, it was easier to just refer to me as a science denier.
This is something I see in apologetics debates regularly. Christians will point to atheists as living in denial and just being in love with their sin and ideas like that as to why they’re atheists. I don’t doubt some atheists are atheists because they have a sin that they love and they don’t want to give it up. Often, this could be for sexual reasons, but that doesn’t mean that some atheists aren’t thoughtful people who are really wrestling with the questions and willing to look and listen.
Meanwhile, Christians are often told they are experiencing cognitive dissonance and psychologized over and over about when they came to believe and about their upbringing without discussing the data. It doesn’t help that for many atheists, they automatically equate atheism with reason. You can be a reasonable person and be an atheist or a theist. You can be an unreasonable person and be an atheist or a theist.
Please also try to verify what you share before you share it. I take down conspiracies on both sides honestly. It’s always embarrassing to me when a Christian shares something that can easily be shown to be false in a few minutes. People will be less inclined to take you seriously on the resurrection then which can’t be checked on in just a few minutes.
If you are not an expert, then you can do something about that. You can learn. If you meet someone on Facebook who thinks they are, well, maybe they are. Try to go with the Socratic Method in that case. Ask them the questions about why they believe what they believe. If you read Plato on this with his dialogues of Socrates, it’s really fascinating. You think Socrates is wrong sometimes in his questioning, but you just can’t see it for some reason because the way he asks his questions is so amazing.
If you are not an expert, you could be contributing to false information and sometimes hysteria. We can make bad situations even worse with that kind of behavior. Be careful on social media and even more so if you have children. They can be very impressionable at a young age and not know how to see through fake people on the web. Watch them closely.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)