Sadly, we are seeing scientific evidence of a phenomenon plaguing our teenage girls. For now, I’m calling it “spiritual deformation” to help grasp the idea that whatever spiritual growth and training someone has already achieved is being eroded away. As formation is the process of building something, deformation is the process of ruining it. For these girls, the erosion comes from social media and the growing power and influence of its artificial intelligence.
Such a discovery couldn’t have happened without you and through this growing movement of people all brought together as advocates for those who struggle spiritually. Thank you!
Sometimes I get asked about a ministry spending so much time and effort on research. I like how Pastor Nat answered this question recently as we met with church leaders about using spiritual fitness technology for their congregation. Nat said, “You can’t improve what you don’t manage, and you can’t manage what you don’t know.” Research is that process of knowing that is so vital in creating the right help for
Since we are deep in the analysis of the research results, here are some nearly finished drafts describing what the Lord is leading us to know and understand so far:
Female teens who frequently use social media have significantly higher levels of self-identified spiritual struggles in the areas of anger, destructive thoughts, jealousy and loneliness. In fact, teen girls have the highest rates among all age groups. These findings are particularly sobering, given the relationship between self-destructive thoughts and suicidal tendencies. As social media engagement algorithms are continually learning how to keep our eyes locked on the screen and our thumbs scrolling, the increase of suicides and mental health issues among teenage girls increases. These findings are verified in the CDC’s February 2023 year-over-year comparison of this mental health crisis for teenage girls.
The feeling among kids that no one cares for them is exemplified by the fact that contemporary Christians rarely ask young people how they are doing spiritually. The lack of sources of spiritual media offering personalized content tailored to the user’s own spiritual needs may exacerbate their struggles and crises of faith.
One of the main takeaways so far is: as the social media machinery learns everything it can about the teen user, its pull and enticement grows making it more and more difficult for teens to resist and turn away. That’s why our new Center for Spiritual Fitness is providing daily spiritual fitness routines and regular accountability check-ins—all designed to 1) help identify and overcome struggles and 2) help combat the devastating spiritual effects of today’s digital world.
Again thank you! You make all of this possible through your financial gifts and faithful prayer support. I promise there is much more to come as we get deeper into the detailed analysis of the study. I am always glad to hear any thoughts you might have, so be sure to leave your comments below!