Human connection and interaction is one of the staples of life. Science has determined when people are denied human touch they slowly die from the inside out. It has also been found when a person receives a hug from another, the nurturing brain chemical oxytocin is released in the brain. This brings a sense of comfort, contentment, and happiness. I can’t help but marvel at the way our Creator has made us. We are born for interaction, community, relationship, and love.
I am beginning to wonder if technology is taking a lot of that away from us. In some ways we are all connected more than we ever could have been without all of the modes of communication we have. Yet, in other ways I have to question if we are denying ourselves much needed human interaction and if we are losing the benefit of more personal modes of connection. Have you ever been instantly calmed by the sound of someone’s voice? I know that babies come to know the voices of their parents and it brings a sense of calm just to hear them. People who have fallen in love receive a brain signal at the sound of the voice of their beloved that causes that heart expanded feeling that only loving can bring.
I saw a study not long ago on the effects of Facebook use and the possibility of Facebook addiction. The study found that certain addictive brain chemicals were released into subjects brains just upon seeing that someone has “liked” their post. Then to the opposite when there was no response there is a sense of let down or disappointment. Have you ever found yourself having to see just who has liked or commented on your posts and being let down if it seems ignored? Social media has been a fabulous way to stay connected with others but it has come at a price.
I read an article once about a young girl who created a whole false life on Facebook to make it look good for her “friends”. The problem was, none of her Facebook friends ever saw her in person. In actuality she was sitting in a lonely room creating an impression that looked good on the computer but was deadly for her in the end. Her loneliness overcame her. I often wonder what would happen if everyone on social media posted just exactly how they felt that day, or even better expressed it in person to someone they know. I wonder if social media allows people to hide behind a curtain that makes them look great on the outside but things are not always that great in reality.
Think about this. How many of your Facebook friends call you? I don’t mean text or private message. I mean really call you? I’m serious. Go onto your friends list page and count the people who you talk to voice to voice or see in person as opposed to those you don’t. I’m willing to bet that the majority of the people on your list don’t even know the sound of your voice. Again, I’m not denying that social media is a great tool. I am saying that there are some drawbacks to interacting on a computer rather than in true “reality”.
We encourage one another, pray, and care about each other. Those things are wonderful. I always find encouragement somewhere on social media. I like to post encouragement online because I know it will help someone. If I were given the opportunity to call each one of my social media friends and encourage them voice to voice, I would love that so much more. We should be sharing our laughter, our tears, our prayers, and our real lives with those we “meet”.
I feel tempted to call each and every one of my Facebook friends and give them some of my voice time, or if local, a great big hug that gives the feeling of joy and comfort! How about you? Have you ever wondered what might happen if we all were real with one another and supported each other voice to voice, or in person? How much more would we heal, be comforted or uplifted? If voices give us responses in our brains and hugs flood us with life sustaining chemicals then why not take a Facebook or social media break and make it real?
I’m going to make this easy on you. I challenge you to call only TWO of your social media friends in the next week and truly have a meaningful conversation. It might be hard at first. Just remember how life used to be before computers were on our laps all the time and text messages were on our phones. We used to use phones for talking. Now it has just become another extension of social media. It has its value but it can’t take the place of how valuable each personal life truly is!
Loving you from here, and daring you to call someone!
Pastor Jenine Marie Howry
800-421-1765 for prayer