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THE EVIL OF SOCIAL MEDIA/NETWORKING AND THE WAY OUT

(Being the text of a paper presented by Onuoha E. C.  at Doko Diocesan Youth at Christmas 2013 held at Cathedral Church of St. Peter Doko on 28th December, 2013)

SOCIAL NETWORKING AND MEDIA

The term social means interaction between organisms especially living organisms whether they are conscious or unconscious and whether it is voluntary of involuntary. It is expected of all living organisms to depend on one another and interact. In so doing they cohabit and lend support to one another in times of need and plenty. It is almost impossible for an organism to survive without it being social to an extent.

 

Networking is the exchange of information and services amongst individuals or groups that share a common interest. Once information is important, it is normal to share it. It could be exchanged for something else, favours, money or just mutual understanding. It is natural to share especially between humans. Sharing could be positive or negative depending on what is being shared and the purpose backing the sharing act.

Social networking could therefore be said to mean interaction between organisms for the sole aim of exchanging information amongst themselves. In this age and generation however, once the term Social networking is mentioned it always means:

The use of computer-based and internet-related systems to meet new people for the enhancement of friendship, business relationships and other relationships both gainful and otherwise.

Media connotes the various means of mass communication, including televisions, radios and the internet.

Social networking can simply mean: the use of social media to connect and interact with people.

Social media includes websites, portals, messengers, internet applications, mobile phone apps, desktop software and networking applications, all of which need the internet to enhance network participation.

Popular social networking apps and websites include

Twitter, Facebook, badoo, whatsapp, bbm, eskimi, 2go, yahoo messenger, google +, etc.

IS SOCIAL MEDIA EVIL?

EVIL as a word means, morally bad, deliberately causing great harm or pain, connected with the devil or destructive forces.

Social media is a simple tool and it becomes good or bad based on who handles the tool and what purpose is achieved using the tool. It is completely wrong to out-rightly condemn social media or absolutely give it a clear positive pass. It is good and positive when in the right hands and used for right and gainful operations. It is destructive and damaging when in the wrong hands and used for negative achievements.

Let’s look at some major evils or malady associated with social media.

MALADY 1: SEXUAL MALADY

A malady is a condition or situation that is problematic and requires a remedy. There are different sexual maladies that stem from using social media or networks. They include amongst others

$11.       Pornography

Printed or visual material displaying explicit images or description of sexual activity with the intent of causing sexual arousal or excitement.

$12.       Erotic messaging: the intentional exchange of messages targeted at creative sexual arousal directly or indirectly.

 1Co 15:33. Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

$13.       Sex chat : clear expressions of sexual activity or the act of sex using post and chatlines

$14.       Phone sex: audible expressions of sexual activity using voice over the phone or computer.

$15.       Masturbation: the art of self-gratification and sexual satisfaction normally stemming from the arousal gotten from pornography, erotic messaging, sex chatting or phone sex.

$16.     Flirting:  casual or temporary interest in something, a short playful interaction based on lighthearted feeling, especially one that suggests sexual interest

These maladies would most definitely lead to other maladies like

$1·         Impersonation : using other peoples pictures as our display or profile picture

$1·         Telling lies: using names and identities that are false and communication using false information.

$1·         Secretive behaviours: includes locking phones, using low ringtones, false names in phone books, deleting call logs and installation of applications locks.

$1·         Infidelity:unfaithfulness in relationships

The constant and consistent indulgence in this maladies have been proven over time to lead to lack of self will, erratic behaviours, mood swings, depression and dissatisfaction.

 

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.


MALADY 2: EMOTIONAL MALADY

Depression:

State of unhappiness or low mood, a psychiatric disorder showing symptoms such as persistent feelings of hopelessness, dejection, poor concentration, lack of energy, inability to sleep, and, sometimes, suicidal tendencies e.g. Aaron Swartz

Low Self Esteem:

Thinking negatively or less of oneself

The emotional maladies normally go a long way to affect every other thing we do in life and could affect our loved ones and all activities that are tied to our emotions.

These ailments or maladies may never be obvious until they finally take over as a saying goes

“The chains of a habit are too weak to be felt until they become too strong to be broken

 

MALADY 3: ADDICTION

Having devotion or great interest in a particular thing or endeavor leading to spending great periods of time in such involvement.

Social networking gets one to a point that we neglect real friends and normal social life and prefer to communicate with pseudo-friends and imaginary ones. We get so attached that whatever we do, we try to seek the participation of our online friends. We no long want to be concerned with our immediate society but prefer going to our network meeting points. This could become an addiction for many of us and we work ourselves to the point where we feel bad if we haven’t visited the internet in a day.

REMEDIES TO THE LISTED EVILS

IS THERE A KNOWN REMEDY FOR THESE EVILS THAT ARE ASSOCIATED WITH SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE USE OF IT?

Hopefully YES! The remedies are however not a one stop solution, it differs from individual to individual. Every human is different, we are attracted and equally repelled by our personal builds and make-ups. It is difficult to raise a one-for-all solution to these evils but generally the below mentioned suggestions have proven useful across boards.

$1·         Discipline : the intentional practice of self-control and self-denial in order to emphasize acceptable patterns of behaviour

1Co 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

$1·         Avoidance : to refrain from doing something or to keep away

2Ti 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

John 6:15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.

$1·         Stay busy: keeping focus on a particular assignment. Distraction is attraction by something else

$1·         Spend less time online deliberately:

Ecc 3:1-10  

 

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

$1·         Choose your friends:

The friends we choose will go a long way to determine the level of influence we encounter online. Choosing friends offline amount to almost the same results as choosing friends online.

Pro 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

$1·         Study the Bible:

2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

2Ti 3:17 that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

$1·         Ask God for grace:

2Pe 2:9  The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

1Co 10:13  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

 

2Ti 2:19  Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

Recommended text: The book of 2nd Timothy

"FOR each and every one of us men and women/The young and old/ The leaders and the led/The haves and have-nots/There is a time to be born and a time to die/In between is a privilege to live/To the glory of your Creator/To the glory of humanity/And to the glory of your nation"

- James Audu (1999)

(Presenter, A Chance to Meet, NTA)