Recently on Trending with Timmerie, Timmerie welcomed Giana, a leader in the Vox Vitae teen camp program, onto the show to discuss her perspective on modern culture and social media.
Giana is a junior in high school and she explained that while she was never a camper at Vox Vitae, she worked a lot with Catherine Contreras, the founder, and last year she was asked to join the program as a leader. This is Giana’s second year as a program leader, so having grown up in a Catholic and pro-life environment, she has extensive experience already in the pro-life movement.
Giana began by saying that she is in a fairly unique situation, relative to the general population. She was baptized and raised Catholic and attends a devoutly Catholic school that observes and promulgates traditional truth and morality, especially on controversial issues of today. She said every class she takes provides her with an opportunity to learn more about her faith.
But while she understands the blessings that have been granted to her and how great of a position she is in, she said she’s not oblivious to the issues that are rocking our country and the world these days. Issues like gender ideology, the LGBTQ movement, and the topics of sexuality are infiltrating our most sacred institutions like schools and homes through entertainment and pop culture, so Giana is doing her best to contribute to the fight while still in high school.
Timmerie asked Giana how she thought social media played a role in all of this, especially regarding what pictures are posted, what type of atmosphere is being fostered, and what effects this is having on our behavior, online or offline.
Giana said she doesn’t have social media and that was originally based on a rule set by her parents. She freely admits that for a long time, she disagreed with their decision to restrict social media access. But since then, Giana has come around and has realized that it was the right decision.
“Especially as our minds are forming as teenagers, we don’t need the extra distraction of, ‘How many likes am I going to get on this post?’ or ‘What should I post next?’, constantly thinking about the next thing like ‘Oh, this is Instagram-worthy’, ‘Oh I should do this dance for Tiktok,’” said Giana.
And she’s absolutely right. The amount of time, effort, brainpower, and mental energy used to optimize one’s social media reputation and status is staggering. Nobody in the developmental stages of life should be worrying about social currency, “followers”, or likes. They have so many other questions about life floating around in their head and this fantasyland of social media only serves to confuse and manipulate them. Virtually nothing on social media is true in a contextless, objective way, but young minds can hardly tell the difference. Our conclusions are so often drawn subconsciously.
Social media is almost like a soft version of peer pressure: When you witness the fun or entertaining things that others are doing online, you have this instinctual desire to follow suit. You want to be happy because those people look happy. And once you fall into that, you start having no trouble following others on more serious issues like “abortion rights”, gender ideology, and coercion into support for immoral behavior.
Giana said she would much rather focus on reality, the things and people around her, and the conversations that she’s having in real life, face-to-face. To that end, Giana has gotten the chance to champion her faith and the pro-life movement in a very real and effective way. She told a story of a boy that she knows who has a habit of getting into vitriolic arguments online and expresses no such opinions in real life. While she has sympathy for him and his struggles, he only says what he thinks from behind a keyboard.
Gian has gone out into the streets, prayed outside of Planned Parenthood clinics, and spoken to women about abortion and its evils. She has seen the women walking into one of the greatest mistakes of their lives, and she can hardly stomach the tragedy. Giana’s own mother had a miscarriage before she had Giana, and for her whole life, her older brother has been her guardian from heaven. When Giana prays outside of these clinics and does sidewalk counseling, she is imagining what it would be like if her brother had had a chance, just like these babies who might not have a chance.
Tune in to Trending with Timmerie weekdays at 6pm CT