I chose the following decision theme from the handout: Facebook and other social networks… Do they assist or impede in identity formation? Explain and how will you advise kids about using or advising Facebook. This issue is prevalent among today’s generation of adolescents, and future ones. Because technology continues to grow at a rapid pace, it does not always allow older generations to keep up with the latest trends. The growing concern and risks that come with technology’s advancement in the lives of many adolescents causes conflict between their generation and their parent’s.
This conflict is beneficial, but can be taken too far. In the same way without the use of technology the adolescent may struggle with their social life in the classroom setting amongst their peers. Therefore, when approaching technology and adolescents one must be careful. The technology should be used and taught to the adolescents as a tool rather than a way of life for communicating, and that the internet does not and should not replace face to face interactions and friendships. Psychology: Social media can be used by many people, to portray a different version of themselves than is necessary or true.
An adolescent who does not necessarily know who they are or is simply uncertain about their identity, can be lead to believe that everyone else has their lives “figured out,” while the adolescent doesn’t. This can create more despair than is necessary as adolescents their own age are probably who they are “friends” with on facebook. Due to the fact that the adolescent is already struggling to achieve their identity through other means, they are attempting to decipher between their “real and ideal” self (Adolescence, 133). Social media can greatly influence how the adolescent will then approach their identity.
The adolescent will want to be ideal like everyone else probably dating, hanging out with friends, and spending time with family, if their fellow classmates or friends are posting photographs of “having a great time,” the adolescent will likely feel left out or wonder why they do not feel the same way when they hang out with their friends therefore, longing to be like everyone else and their supposed identities causing distress because they can not physically or emotionally be like their friends in the photograph or post (Adolescence, 135).
Ministry: There are many concerns that can arise as an adolescent begins to experiment and practice their identity through the use of the internet. The vast number of people throughout the world who use the internet and social networks that are inevitably linked to it. Adolescents can be tempted to begin searching promiscuous or accidentally seeing photographs, videos, or slanderous words that they would have otherwise not have seen.
This issue raises the bar for Christians to educate their adolescents as to what is God-pleasing and what is not. While the gospel should be told in all its sweetness, it can not be devoid of the law. Adolescents should be taught how to build one another up through social media, rather than be torn down. They must also be taught that others can and do skew their identity through the use of social media, causing a great threat to the adolescent’s well being and safety.
Through teaching adolescents how to properly use social media as a tool rather than a communication device to show off or meet people, they may begin to find their identity not in the social media, but in other sources. While this is not certain, it could be done. In order to this, I would propose that Christian schools should include a small section in either a health or sexuality class that helps students see the importance of being cautious on the internet, and that it does not determine who they are as a baptized Christian. Biblical Integration:
The internet and social media should never determine who the adolescent is, but because the world has fallen and sin has entered the world it is impossible for one to always be assured of their identity. The only consistency for the Christian is Christ’s promise: “Lo, I am with you always even until the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). ” Since the Christian is marked by the Holy Spirit in Baptism they are no longer a part of the world and the identity which is associated with it, but rather, are as Colossians 3:3 says “For you died, and your life is now hidden with God.
Because of this it is important to reassure the adolescent that they may change their identity, but in Christ they only have one, and that their identity as member of God’s Holy Church throughout time and space is much more important and vital than the temporal one. However, as many have said an individual has many vocations in life, and for the adolescent they must also fulfill those vocations to which God has called them. Faith and Formation Reading Handout: The handout Making Christians in a Secular World establishes that the church needs to reevaluate where the identity of the believer lies.
Willmon argues that the identity of the Christian is within Christ not themselves (Willmon, 915). Much of society embraces self value or discovery rather than the gospel that gives the adolescent an identity freely, and while questioned often by the adolescent, is in tact and a promise of eternal life and salvation. The Church has succumbed to the world’s lies with music and doctrine that reaffirms the secular belief that a person decides who they are, and that even in baptism they have some kind of “right” to decide for themselves to follow Christ (Willimon, 916).
The world, and specifically social media will encourage the adolescent to “branch out” or “find themselves,” and when these difficult law bound rules of the world begin to weigh on them the church should be there for the young Christian. Therefore, encouraging the adolescent and helping to nourish and maintain their faith and identity in Christ through Word and Sacrament. The world and the identities it renders are temporary, but the Word of God and the identity which it establishes through the means of grace is eternal even after death.