Politics and Society today

The Effects of Social Media on my Attention

Have you ever looked up something on YouTube and got stuck into Shorts from some of your favourite channels? I have. Has it moved us toward or away from GOD?

This is an opinion piece about the affects of social media on my attention. Borne out of my experience, it is an expression of my opinion and concern, rather than being based on statistical facts, but based upon what I’ve observed in myself. I wonder if it might be relevant to others who have got distracted, as I have, by social media. If it is, I think it is important to talk about it.

What is Social Media? 

Social Media is a collection of the various internet platforms that seek to offer advice, opinion, news and views. It is designed to grab and keep our attention. It is a proven effective, powerful tool for communication, but separately, it is also powerful in and of itself, regardless of what the subject matter might be.

My experience has been that it distracts me. Although it educates and informs me, it somehow pushes past my thinking to engage my audio visual senses… to the exclusion of the Spiritual. And so… it distances me from my relationship with GOD. 

The Soc Med Experience

I might start off watching in bits and bites, thinking I’ll only look up something specific. Then I might stick with it, thinking I’ll find information that is useful for prayer. It’s good to know what’s going on in the world right? … But it can drag me into the world, not by content necessarily but by its own pull power to keep me engaged… and thus I drift away from prayer. An hour or more later, I’ve not opened my Bible yet nor turned to prayer.

That’s what has happened to me on several occasions. 

Have you ever looked up something on YouTube and got stuck into Shorts from some of your favourite channels? I have. Has it moved us toward or away from GOD?

GOD’s Way

GOD says, “Be still.” 

But YouTube videos, news channel broadcasts, and video clips make if very difficult to stay still in my mind. I pray in tongues sometimes for 20 minutes, just to get back to stillness. That’s okay, but what have I missed in the Spirit for those minutes I’ve been exploring — or being led by —  social media, and in those minutes it has taken to back to the Spirit?

If time is short, in these Last Days — and personally, I think it is — isn’t it important to use our time wisely. He redeems the time! (Ephesians 5:15-16)

1 Corinthians 2:

Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 2, when Paul wrote to the Greeks, to see how Paul related to the “media” in his time… The battle of the spirit over the mind is not a new one. Paul was speaking at the Philosophical epicentre and yet he didn’t want to compete.

Please note: The capitalised words in brackets are my notes, attempting to draw attention to what Paul wasn’t saying and yet was comparing.

And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. (UNLIKE GREEK PHILOSOPHERS) For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. (SIMPLICITY) I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, (SPIRIT Vs INTELLECT) that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (POWER SOURCE IS GOD NOT THE HUMAN MIND)….

Then continuing from verse 10, 

10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? (YOUR OWN CONSCIENCE WILL SPEAK TO YOU ABOUT IF/HOW THIS APPLIES TO YOU) Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” (Q: GET OUR INFO FROM GOD? A: HE IS THE PRIMARY SOURCE)

13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; (LETS NOT THROW AWAY WHAT GOD HAS PROVIDED) nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” (OUR INSTRUCTION COMES FROM GOD, WHEN WE ALLOW IT.)

What do I conclude from this?

That I/we do not have to be drawn into matters of news, views, politics etc in order to engage on a spiritual level. GOD will reveal what we need to know in our spirit in order to pray. 

We can view, engage on social media. But let me not kid myself it is for the Kingdom for prayer. Rather, it is because I’m interested, attracted to, motivated by my own interest. That in itself isn’t wrong. However, I admit to myself — and perhaps this applies to someone else also — I need to gauge when my social media searches are to feed my earthly curiosity aka flesh and when it is for the Kingdom.

3 replies on “The Effects of Social Media on my Attention”

Although you make an excellent point Sarah, I have observed for years that TV was more engaging than sermons when I was growing up. I believe things have not changed since then. Strictly Come Dancing gets talked about more than the message the previous week….I am afraid when Paul said that religion was spiritually bankrupt i.e weak and useless 2,000 years ago… I am not holding my breath for the Church in the UK, especially in light of this article….Our focus on Jesus is gradually getting stolen by Satan…

Well, we can pray and encourage others to engage with GOD. The rest is up to the individual and the Holy Spirit. But the trumpet does need to be sounded, don’t you think? Shalom and Blessings my brother. Thanks for writing in.

Thank you Sarah for addressing this very IMPORTANT topic about “the effects of social media on my attention”
We live in an age where global events are moving so fast and there is so much information we think we need to know .
Also, the honest truth that we are so busily engaged in social media daily is merely to satisfy our own curiosity or interest
Yes we seem to be experiencing the beginning of the birth pangs of tribulation in the world, more evident in many ways over the past 3- 4 years in the west
So finding time to be in the presence of God to worship Him, to study the bible and to pray can be a BIG struggle every day, and such spirtual disciplines can also be non existent some days
I share some of your experiences as to how social media can be a REAL distraction and is rather addictive too. It certainly will keep us away from the pursuit of God and the meditation of His word when we spend so much time on social media and fill our minds with seemingly overwhelming worldly information, politics , knowledge, other people’s views and opinions
We can justify our addiction to social media as you outline so truthfully from your own experiences and from observation that it will give us the information we require to pray for the Kingdom, rather than seek what God wants to reveal to us personally.
Thank you so much for challenging me to think seriously about the “effects of social media on my attention”, and to start using my precious time wisely given the days we are living in
Trust you and your family are well. God’s abundant blessings to you all in 2023
I have been abroad before Christmas and have just returned to the UK.I had limited prepaid wifi data whilst away
Love in Christ
Poo Choo

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