"Matthew, Dad won't let me get Snapchat!"
My younger brother confronted me with this statement last week when I was at my parents' house.
"And he won't let me have Instagram either!"
I was familiar with the sentiment my brother was expressing. He wasn't really telling me about his problems. Really, he was asking me if I would be willing to take up his cause and ask my Dad if he would change his rules. After all, I have a Snapchat account...and Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and YouTube accounts. So, why couldn't he have one?
I asked him if he thought there were any reasons why Dad had made that decision and he gave me a few answers.
"Maybe he thinks I will use it to do bad things."
"I don't think he wants me to waste time on it."
"He says that I need to be older."
I asked him, "Why do you want Snapchat?"
Before I tell you his answer, let me ask you the same question: Why do you want a social media account? The answer to that question provides a good basis for the answer to the question, "Should Christians have social media accounts?"
You see, as I understand it, social media (Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.) falls into a category of things which Paul calls "permissible" (1 Corinthians 10:23). For something to fall into the "permissible" category it must NOT be any of the following things:
Against the standards that Paul has set, having a social media account falls into the category of "permissible activities." But that isn't the whole story. Paul goes on to warn that even permissible activities may have unintended consequences. Just because something is "permissible" doesn't mean that it builds you up or is good for you as a Christian.
So, I'll ask you again:
Think it through. Really examine your heart and motivations. Maybe write out a short paragraph explaining to yourself why you want it. For me, here are some of my reasons to have a Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube account.
When I asked my brother the question, "Why do you want Snapchat?" his answer was simple: "All my friends have it."
Was that a good reason? No, not really.
We all have a fear of missing out, but just because everyone else is doing something, that does not necessarily mean it's the right thing for you to do it. As a Christian, you must have good, thoughtful, beneficial reasons for everything you do (1 Corinthians 10:31).
If your parents have told you that you can't have social media accounts, you must respect and obey their house rules (Ephesians 6:1). But if they have given the OK, I encourage you to ask yourself "Why?" before you make any decisions!
Social media (Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.) falls into a category of things which Paul calls "permissible" (1 Corinthians 10:23) because it is not identified in the Bible as a sin, not inherently linked with immoral behaviour, nor necessarily detrimental to your faith. However, as a Christian, you must have thoughtful, beneficial reasons for what you do (1 Corinthians 10:31). If your parents have given the OK, examine your heart and motivations for why you want social media accounts to determine if social media is right for you.
M. A. Craig loves the outdoors (not great when you live in rainy Northern Ireland). He is a follower of Jesus, husband to Chloe, theologian, writer, and "father" to Lucy the pug.