Pope Francis has called on millennials to resist the false image of reality portrayed in social media and reality TV shows and to take charge of their own destiny. The Holy Father made the remark in a video message recorded for the World Youth Day, which falls on April 9.
"Television is full of 'reality shows' which are not real stories, but only moments passed before a television camera by characters living from day to day, without a greater plan," he said. "Don't let yourselves be led astray by this false image of reality. Be the protagonists of your history; decide your own future."
Pope Francis' remarks are a repeat of his admonishment at last year's World Youth Day for young people not to become "couch potatoes." This time, though, he specifically poked at the internet generation's fondness to project images of happiness and success in social media even if these don't correspond to reality.
According to him, photos of young people appear in social media recounting real events, "but we don't know how much of all this is really 'history,' an experience that can be communicated and endowed with purpose and meaning." He urged them to write their own histories, become masters of their destiny and to establish real connections with their past.
Instead of being lured to distractions, the 80-year-old pontiff suggested meaningful activities that could make more sense of their lives by spending time with their grandparents, keeping a daily journal and by spending a few minutes each night contemplating the day's events.
This is not the first time Pope Francis made a swipe at modern technology. In February, he told university students to put down their phones during dinnertime even though the pope himself is an active Twitter user. Last month, he tweeted that the value of example is more powerful than a thousand likes or re-tweets. Ironically, that post got over 56,000 likes and 24,000 re-tweets.