The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

Social media can prevent our doing greater things

Published: November 20, 2017   
Vernell Bowen

In the past two years, school principals have begun to deal with issues with inappropriate uses of social media not only by students, but by the parents.

There are many positive things about the ways social media keeps us informed and connected with family and friends. However, when social media is used to degrade persons and institutions and create negative and hateful statements toward each other then it becomes an instrument that can be powerfully evil. Social media can also keep us from using our valuable time to truly experience life in the moment.

Growing up, my mother always said if you can’t say something nice about someone, then don’t say anything at all. This statement also goes back to the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have done to you. Of course, this was before the time of social media and even cell phones.

What has happened in today’s society is that people are not saying things face to face to each other. Social media has allowed people to dehumanize each other because they do not have to listen to immediate responses. It does not allow people to communicate and work out their issues. The misuse of Facebook and other social media has led schools to write policies that give the administration the right to tell parents that they must remove their children from school due to inappropriate
messaging through social media that is derogatory toward others that includes the actions of students as well as parents.

There are many ways social media, especially Facebook, can be used in positive ways. The Office of Catholic Schools has a Facebook page that allows us to provide information about all the great things that the schools are doing. Facebook allows families and friends to stay connected. There are many good things that would have never happened without Facebook. However, there may be a longer list of things we don’t do because we are too busy on Facebook. When Facebook becomes an appendage to our body and we let it take over our life, then we are missing out on greater things.

Recently, I was reading an article by Matthew Warner on “The Real Reasons to Quit Facebook” and will share some of his statements about what you miss when you are too busy on Facebook.

• What if I have a 15-minute break during the day, instead of checking Facebook, I put time into planning a meaningful evening with my spouse?

• What if I have 30 minutes before I go to bed, instead of checking my Facebook, I read a spiritual masterpiece that could change my life and others around me?

• What if the next time I have two minutes at a traffic light, instead of checking my Facebook I say a prayer of thanks to God?

• What if when commercials come on instead of checking Facebook, I jump on the floor with my kids for an impromptu wrestling match?

• What if the next time I get an hour on the weekend to relax, instead of checking Facebook, I put on some amazing music and get lost in its beauty?

These are just a few of things that Mr. Warner offers as suggestions to make life better.

In this article, I have mainly commented on Facebook as a form of social media that may keep us from doing greater and more important things in life. Texting, messaging or Twitter also can ruin our ability to be in the present and live the moment. It is much more important to value our activities through living in the moment than valuing only those that can be captured and shared online.

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