DOM DEBOO: Not all social media is bad, but it can be used the wrong way

Parents and children can enjoy art and craft together at Funday Sunday
Parents and children can enjoy art and craft together at Funday Sunday
A wrecking ball. Picture: Flickr (labelled for reuse)

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The children, youth and family ministries co-ordinator of St Jude’s Church, Southsea, says the perfect lives you see on Facebook don’t actually exist.

I’m pretty sure that you have friends – probably more than one – who can’t resist a selfie.

Every time you look at Facebook or Instagram, they will have posted a photo of themselves, looking perfect in the gym or on the beach or on a night out with friends.

It’s easy to assume that these friends must live more interesting lives than us. They seem to be immaculately turned out, with perfect hair and make-up even when they’ve just woken up. They always seem to be having fun, and everyone else seems to like being with them.

In fact, it takes quite an effort to create this kind of image for yourself on social media.

Those who are forever posting selfies might take 100 photos to find the one in which they look the best. They might spend ages looking for the ideal outfit or a pose that looks spontaneous.

Research around social media also tells us that it can lead to anxiety, especially among teenagers, around not getting as many likes as other people and critical comments about their appearance.

That doesn’t mean all social media is bad – just that it can be used in the wrong way.

And, although all of us like that tiny surge of happiness when someone likes or shares our post, ultimately it won’t satisfy us.

Recently at St Jude’s, we’ve been watching our own soap opera series on Sunday mornings, which we call Southsea-Enders.

Some of our talented actors are acting out the parts of 11 and 12-year-olds who are coping with issues facing them at school, home and church.

The last episode introduced a pair of characters called the Selfie Sisters, who live their lives purely on social media and care for little else. The heroes of our drama serial, Harriet and Jim, have to work out how they will respond to the constant demands of the Selfie Sisters about looking good online.

It’s part of Funday Sunday, which happens at St Jude’s every two months. We offer families bacon sandwiches, real coffee, Sunday newspapers, art and craft, Wii games, plus lively songs and the latest Southsea-Enders episode.

The next one happens a week on Sunday, June 24, from 10.30am. Why not join us to find out what happens to the Selfie Sisters – and consider your own response to social media?

St Jude’s Church is in Kent Road, Southsea. Go to sjs.church.