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01.11.2021 02:17:47 2983x read.
Young People and their Exposure to Social Media: Implications for Evangelization of the Gospel Values (By. Bro. Augustine Kubdaar, FIC. General Superior of FIC Congregation)

Young People and their Exposure to Social Media: Implications for Evangelization of the Gospel Values



In the twenty-first century, media and communication technology have penetrated all levels of society, and they appeal to everyone: infants, children, teens, parents, teachers, practitioners, public policy makers, politicians - everyone (Valkenburg & Piotrowski, 2017; Vogt, 2011) . Media and communication technology make for bold headlines in newspapers, and they are hot topics in debates, forums, and congresses. These new media technologies are transforming teaching, evangelization and community building today (Gould, 2013). In the words of Pope Benedict XVI (2013, p.1), “these spaces, when engaged in a wise and balanced way, help to foster forms of dialogue and debate which, if conducted respectfully and with concern for privacy, responsibility and truthfulness, can reinforce the bonds of unity between individuals and effectively promote the harmony of the human family”. Everyone wants to get a grip on the rapid, large-scale changes in the media landscape. Everyone wants to know what impact media and technology are having on all of us, especially on youth. And everyone wants to understand the dynamics of our network society.

Not too many generations ago, the prevalence of these communication channels was limited and accessible to only a few affluent people in society (Whyte, 2012). Today, social media have grown exponentially. They provide people with the opportunity to access information, entertainment and communication. The exponential growth of social media and the frequent use of social media sites by adolescents is a cause for concern. This is because some of the sites are unhealthy environment for adolescents (O’Keeffe et al., 2011).

Since the youth are the future leaders of the church and society, the Brothers FIC congregation during its 35th General Chapter (in the year 2018) was led by the Holy Spirit to seriously discuss this topical issue. A resolution was made mandating its leadership to discern ways of stimulating the conscience of its members and their collaborators to use the social media to enrich and promote the faith and values of the gospel. Therefore, this piece of work is a humble contribution of the FIC General Council to the general knowledge of the risk and benefits of the use of social media. The work also offers some potential strategies which can facilitate the use of social media to promote evangelization and the values of the gospel. Our target population includes all Religious men and women, all teachers (especially those who teach in Catholic and other faith-based institutions) Youth leaders and concern parents. 

This work is organized into four main headings. The first heading focuses on adolescents and the benefits of social media usage. The second heading discusses adolescents and the risk of social media usage. The third discusses the implications of the use of social media for evangelization of the values of gospel. Finally, the discussion ends with conclusions drawn based on evidence presented in the literature. 


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