Here at Catholic Link, we are obviously big fans of the internet, social media, social networking; we are present on facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest. Those of us in the international Catholic Link team have met, collaborated and even become friends online. Two of the Spanish language team, who only knew each other through the internet, have collaborated in the publication of an actual book! From my own experience with illness the internet has been a lifeline, enabling me to stay in touch with friends I wasn’t well enough to see and now, helping me maintain Christian friendships around the world (as locally, I don’t have any). We are far from thinking the internet is evil – but the dangers of social media are well publicised: cyberbullying, exploitation, grooming, identity theft…the list sometimes seems shockingly endless. And there is also the danger that our relationships may stay in the superficial, with authentic sharing from reduced to the sharing of cat videos. Here are a selection of videos which could be used to start a conversation on the internet and social media.
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The first of these, Look Up is a poem which shows us what we might be missing out on, in terms of real friendship, if we spend too much time online (contains very small use of strong language).
Next we have some statistics about social network use and its effects. There is some evidence that facebook (other social networks are available) really does fry your brain.
And finally, for those who don’t seem to grasp quite how far removed from real life social networks and social network relationships can there is the extremely funny social experiment from comedian Jena Kingsley
Questions for discussion
1. Are my actual friends and my ‘facebook friends’ the same people?
2. Do I spend more time on social media than I do actually talking face to face?
3. When was the last time I wrote a letter (not an email, or chat)?
4. Do I check for messages or updates at the same time as doing something else – whilst watching TV, talking to someone, eating a meal?
5. Could I go 24 hours without the internet or social media?
6. When something happens – whether it be funny, sad, happy or just silly – is my first thought about the best way to share it on facebook?
7. Do I recognise that I might be missing out in real life?
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