It would seem unnecessary to write about the negative effects of social media, but sometimes and obvious should be said.
The topic of social media is an intricate and knotty discussion; it’s a simple issue with a not-so-simple solution.
“The rate of adolescents reporting symptoms of major depression in a given year increased by 52% from 2005 to 2017. From 2009 to 2017, it grew by 63% in adults ages 18 to 25,” it has been reported.
In a perfect world, we would be spending our time utilizing our G-D-given gifts, socializing with actual humans, and using our minds to explore Torah and other worthy pursuits as a form of healthy time spent.
But we’re in Galus, and things are messed up.
Instead, we find social media to be thrilling, intriguing and addicting. “Women aged 16-24 years old use social media the most, spending an average of 3 hours and 10 minutes per day on social media,” it’s said.
But this isn’t a public letter about whether or not we should have social media. What I’d like to do is address the frum influencers out there.
First, Kol hakvod.
Truly, in the self-obsessed, grub, empty world of social media you’ve found a way to inspire, be it through music, art, Jewish lifestyle, humor, etc., you’ve chosen to use your platform as a source of goodness.
That being said, think for a moment how many impressionable eyes see you day in and day out. Your lifestyle is ingrained into those following you. They may be 14-year-old girls or 30-year-old mothers.
I overheard my 15-year-old daughter saying how “she wished she had the confidence of (a certain social media influencer) and dress like that…” in pants.
This broke me.
Your content is great, but as a public figure, you hold the responsibility of those who get influenced by you – for the good and for the bad.
That’s just what you are, an INFLUENCER. Can you imagine if my daughter were to see you, a famous Instagramer, confident in your Yiddishkeit and dressing tzniusly?
You could influence so many, young, or not so young impressionable girls and women to be confident in their “tzniuskeit.”
I’m not belittling the struggle of tznius, but for the sake of the thousands of people who see you daily, perhaps put in the effort to look like a bas Sarah Rivka Rachel v’Leah when on camera.
And you won’t be a hypocrite doing so. As the story of the chossid who came to his Rebbe with his businessman everyday clothing and was told that his Chassidishe clothing reflected his real identity – not the opposite.
Dressing with tznius on camera will be reflecting your real identity. The positive effect you can have is unbelievable.
But suppose even 1 Jewish girl gets influenced negatively by your posts, and wants to emulate your “confidence” to dress in a way totally against Halacha. In that case, it’s better you not be on social media at all.
You’re doing great things! Please continue the positive influence of tznius into your influencing. I’m sure you’ll make Hashem the Rebbe and all those watching you, very proud.
A mom of teens.