About ten years ago, the Home of the Mother launched its social networks. The difficulties we have encountered along the way have made us reflect on the use of networks and the mentality behind those who design them. The result of this reflection has been the decision to close our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. We are currently working to find ways to replace the networks with other means to provide people with updates on our pages: Home of the Mother, EUK Mamie - HM Television, Sr. Clare and FamiliesFullyAlive. We'd like to launch a mobile application and will keep you informed. We will continue to be present on YouTube.
Next, we want to explain how we have reached this conclusion, not only to inform but to encourage all who read this to think seriously about their use of networks.
There are abundant studies on the addictive effect of social networks. (The information collected in this article is based primarily on “Online Social Networking and Addiction — A Review of the Psychological Literature,” an academic article that collects and synthesizes the latest studies on this field.) Saying "addictive effect" does not refer only to the fact that they are used a lot, but also to the specific symptoms they produce: strong mood swings, excessive emotional and cognitive worries, interpersonal and personal conflicts, an increasingly frequent use and relapses after a period of withdrawal. Recent studies show that excessive use of networks activates the same brain mechanisms as cocaine. Experts have denounced the fact that social networks mimic methods traditionally used in casino games. That is, it is no coincidence that networks are addictive—they are made that way. They are designed to be a kind of black hole: once you enter you cannot get out, or if you do it is only temporarily, until the next notification arrives. In the US, addiction to social networks is so frequent that several help centers for addiction to social networks and other new technologies have been created.
In addition to the reality of their addictive effects, social networks have proved to have other negative effects on the lives of people who use them: less participation in family and social life, sleeping difficulty, low self-esteem, a disordered search for affection, low academic performance, difficulties in dating and marriage, narcissistic tendencies, etc.
These studies only confirm what we have found in the Home of the Mother in our apostolate with young people and adults in these years. Many young people have serious difficulties to start a real spiritual life because of their addiction to social networks. Their use of networks immerses them in worldliness, superficiality, curiosity, gossip and sin at very early ages. Many create an image of themselves on the networks that does not correspond to their real identity and end up immersed in pretense and lies, with an obsession about their appearance and a constant concern with what other people think of them.
Considering all this, that is, not only the negative effects of the networks but the fact that they are made and designed to create these effects and not only the studies made but also our direct experience with the people who confirm these studies to be accurate, we asked ourselves if we want to be present in them. Is it true that it is the only way to reach people? Is it true that if we are not in the social networks people will not be able to contact us?
The answer is no, it is not the only way. We do not want to be involved in systems that are destroying the family, social and spiritual life of so many people. We do not want to fall into the world’s trap that tells us that it is necessary to have social networks, nor do we want anyone to fall into that trap.
One question that could be raised is whether it is worth being in the networks for the good that can be done despite all of the above. We are aware that good has been done through our networks and that others manage to do good in them. However, the atmosphere created by the networks themselves drowns the spirit and does not predispose it to think, go deeper or desire Christian things. On the contrary, they encourage curiosity and gossip. It's like wanting to do apostolate in a nightclub. The atmosphere there is not adequate to talk about God, since music and lights and everything there inclines people to their lowest instincts, instead of the most spiritual. We believe that by being present in the networks, we are somehow supporting them by communicating to others that it is very good to have social networks. And, as we have made very clear, we think they are made to cause many evils in the human person and in society. Although some feel called to use them for good, we prefer to testify to the evil they cause and that one can live without them.
We invite each of you to ask yourself if your social network accounts are necessary, and above all if they really do good to you and your families. If the answer is no, close your accounts. And be careful: if only by thinking about that possibility, you are filled with anxiety or even anger, think that maybe you are addicted, or starting to be. Be honest and act with the freedom of the children of God, not enslaved to this world.
“For freedom Christ has set us free. Therefore, stand firm, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5: 1).
If anyone would like to follow the Home of the Mother’s news, we encourage you to subscribe to our newsletters:
Home of the Mother: https://www.homeofthemother.org/en/ (Scroll down to "Newsletter")
E.U.K. Mamie: https://www.eukmamie.org/en/about-us/newsletter
Sister Clare: https://www.sisterclare.com/en/ (Scroll down to "Newsletter")
We are also designing a mobile application, to facilitate the ability to follow everything we do at the Home of the Mother. We will post it here when it is ready.
God bless you!