Wednesday, April 12, 2017

It was Only a game: David A Bednar on social Media

I've not been quiet about my feelings on social media, namely Facebook. (Nothing personal to The founder)
It has been apparent to me that technology, while offering so much good, offers--also--so much evil. And the more people entertain themselves with it, the more desensitized they become. Example: movies seem more appropriate, music isn't as bothersome, it's now four hours a day on Facebook instead of twenty minutes. Etc.

I have read a LIFE CHANGING book by David A Bednar, titled Increase in Learning. I highly recommend it. Every word in this book was absent in my youth, and had I known of these things, I would have made very different choices. Not that I regret my life. That's for another blog post. Today I want to focus on Bendar's comments on the evil of technology, specifically the time dwelling on it instead of in real life, and how it is a misuse of our physical bodies as temples of God.

"A simulation or model can lead to spiritual impairment and danger if the fidelity is high and the purposes are bad--such as experimenting with actions contrary to God's commandments or enticing us to think or do things we would not otherwise think or do 'because it is only a game.'

I raise an apostolic voice of warning about the potentially stifling, suffocating...impact some kinds of cyberspace interactions and experiences have on our souls. I plead with you to be aware of the sense-dulling and spiritually destructive influence of cyberspace technologies that are used to produce high fidelity and that promote degrading and evil purposes. 

Please be careful of becoming so immersed in and engrossed in pixels, texting, earbuds, twittering, online social networking, and potentially addictive uses of media and the Internet that you fail to recognize the importance of your physical body and miss the richness of person to person communication.

Progressively, seemingly innocent entertainment can become a form of pernicious enslavement.

I am not suggesting all technology is inherently bad; it is not. But I am raising a warning voice that we should not squander and damage authentic relationships by obsessing over contrived ones. 'Nearly 40% of men and 53% of women who play online games said their virtual friends were equal to or better than their real life friends.' -a recent survey of 30,000 gamers.

I implore you to turn away immediately from such places and activities.

Ask yourself these questions:
1. Does the use of various technologies and media invite or impede the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost in your life?
2. Does the time you spend using various technologies and media enlarge or restrict your capacity to live, love, and to serve in meaningful ways?"

For me, when I read these questions, particularly number one, I was astonished. This is exactly why several years ago I deactivated my private Facebook account. For me, is was impeding the spirit in my life. I find it amazing, a miracle really, that I had received personal revelation for my life regarding social media, before reading this book. I know it's a powerful tool in today's market. Social Media Marketing is A Thing!! It's a job position! But it is not for me, not even recreationally. I have even immensely limited my time on my one social media platform, and keep it abnormally private. I am trying to safe guard it, and my life, and the spirit I want in my life.

I've also always been somewhat offended by people who only contact me on Facebook. They only message me or invite me places through Facebook. They throw bridal showers or birthday parties through Facebook. I am hurt that picking up a phone and calling, a step beyond texting, is so rare. It means so much to me. I loath the use of Facebook these days, and I know for me in my life it was imperative I get off--and stay off--that virtual world.

It is a huge turn off to me when I meet someone obsessed with their phone. Who really knows what they're doing on it!? I had a coworker once who I thought would make an ideal friend...until, several weeks after they were hired and our friendship began, I realized their severe addiction to their phone. I mean they were ALWAYS nose deep in their phone. This person said they were "working" or checking "Facebook" or on "Periscope" or "networking", always valid excuses for the virtual user, but to me it all said: I DONT CARE ABOUT INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS.
It was so sad to me and honestly I could NOT make a friendship go further. I cannot connect with or get to know, trust, love, and serve someone who is stuck in their virtual reality. I try. Call it a weakness of mine. I struggle a lot with being patient and understanding with these people. This person fit the bill of David A Bednar's words of losing touch and spending so much time in an unreal world.

I've gotten into arguments with people before who were very offended by ME because I deleted them from "friends" lists. It was as if I told them I hated them, because we couldn't be friends on Facebook or Instagram. It was such a confusion to me, because if you don't call, text, visit, send birthday cards. Or even know my favorite color, how can you call me a friend?? What then is the purpose of a social media connection? Nothing good, I can tell you that. It is nothing personal or malicious to delete a "friend", I simply protect my life and want people who really truly love me to be the ones involved. I never want to get wrapped up in the popularity contest. I want people to care about me OUTSIDE of virtual reality. 

Lastly, I knew when it got to a point where I would snap at my kids for interrupting me, when I was doing something on my phone, even answering an email, I knew it was time to refocus. I know compared to past generations I am still on my phone a lot, too much. I hope to continue getting better and despite trends focus on what matters. Real life.
I thank David A Bednar for this book, and ALL of the information I read that I have missed out on all these years. I hope you find time to read it!

Brittany Shannon