MORE THAN once, I had expressed suspicion that the devil must be working his way to humankind through social media. The devil is so intelligent as to miss out on the opportunity to claw at billions who use, nay, are addicted to such media, mainly Facebook. Now, some experts are confi rming this.
Erik Peper, associate professor of Health Education at San Francisco State University, has written “that smartphone use can form neurological connections similar to connections that are seen in individuals with an opioid addiction.”
Peper said that in a study of 135 individuals, he and his colleagues found that people who utilize their phones more often were more likely to report feeling anxious, depressed, isolated, and lonely.
Catholic writer Michael Brown had this to add: “When someone is not Christ-centered, when one invests more time on Facebook than praying, or reading the Bible, or simply contemplating God, that leads to despair.”
So precisely did Brown put into words what I had suspected all along: “People are increasingly depressed – in too many cases, desperate. And a large part of the problem is that we are too centered on the personal lives of others, in our own little cyber-worlds, instead of on Christ. In the cyber-universe, folks turn narcissistic, presenting themselves in an artificial scrubbed manner as living glossy perfect lives and causing those who see them on social media outlets such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to despair that they aren’t as glowing, as beautiful, as ensconced in a gorgeous home, as well-coiffed, as surrounded by friends and family (and “likes”), as able to travel the world over.”
“Simply put, scanning social feeds, many feel left out. They are also more isolated. The more we have become connected, the more disconnected — with ourselves and others — we have become,” he stressed.
In his article, Peper said that “exposure to idealized images on social media can also elicit envy.”
“Falling prey to social comparison, individuals who were otherwise content could develop a sense of dissatisfaction by labeling themselves as less successful, happy, or adventurous. In a study of individuals who utilize Twitter and Facebook, participants who admitted to going out of their way to seek validation (e.g., likes) and to portray a perfect profile were more likely to suffer from low selfesteem,” he said.
Here’s advice from Brown: “If you’re going to use social media, seek to do so to strengthen family bonds and friendships while purveying the Gospel (and lessons) of Christ.”
“That means conveying modesty and humility. That means taking into account the effect your words and pictures will have on others. That means less ‘selfies,” he stressed.
Brown warns: “Envy can operate like a curse, making it especially unwise to brag on social media (which is what so many posts amount to). Whether subtle or overt, boasting goes to the sin of arrogance and pride. Thus, is there a double spiritual whammy.”
And he further advises: “The solution is to keep our collective nose out of others’ business. We have nearly become ‘peeping Toms.’ Whether or not it leads to the extreme of desperation, it often adds a suppressing, depressing note to what otherwise could have been a good day.”
Meanwhile, we go on with our Marian series. BTW, if you haven’t yet concluded that the world is getting stranger, see YouTube channels such as The Two Preachers, Signs of the End, End Times, among the increasing number of such channels showing collections of actual video footages of events that seem, to say the least, apocalyptic.
Here the message of Our Blessed Mother in Medjugorje last Nov. 2:
“Dear children, my beloved Son always prayed and glorified the Heavenly Father. He always said everything to Him and trusted in His will. This is what you, my children, should also do, because the Heavenly Father always listens to His children. One heart in one heart – love, light and life. The Heavenly Father gave Himself through a human face, and this face is the face of my Son. You, apostles of my love, you should always carry the face of my Son in your hearts and your thoughts. You should always think of His love and His sacrifice. You should pray to always feel His presence, because, apostles of my love, that is the way for you to help all those who do not know my Son, who have not come to know His love. My children, read the book of the Gospel. It is always something new, it is what binds you to my Son who was born to bring the words of life to all of my children and to sacrifice Himself for all. Apostles of my love, carried by the love for my Son, bring love and peace to all of your brothers. Judge no one. Love everyone according to the love for my Son. In this way, you will also be caring for your soul, and it [your soul] is that what is most precious, which truly belongs to you. Thank you.”