Social Media Talk


On October 28, 2021, Bethel Church hosted Dr. Stefanie Hanisch, Steven and Sarah Dunkel, and Pastor Seth Dunham to discuss the impact of social media in our world today. Download the program for additional resources offered by our speakers.

Social Media Talk Speaker Panel

Dr. Stefanie Hanisch addressed the impact of social media on mental health with a primary emphasis on children and younger teens. She shared relevant statistics and research that help parents navigate the challenges surrounding social media use. Dr. Hanisch encouraged families to use the 5-2-1-0 pattern popularized by many pediatricians (5 servings of fruit and vegetables, 2 hours or less of screen time, 1 hour of play, and 0 sugar drinks). Dr. Hanisch inspired listeners to become curious rather than judgmental when talking about social media. Her encouragement to offer grace to oneself was a warm invitation to all listening about the impact of social media on mental health.

Steven and Sarah Dunkel illustrated the challenges of generational understanding of social media. Addressing boomers, Gen x, millennials, and Gen Z, the Dunkels offered something we can learn from how each generation is using social media. Boomers – Join the conversation; share and contribute to the online community you are a part of. Generation X – Train your feed; teach Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram the kinds of information you want to see more of by intentionally liking or hiding. Millennials – Build digital boundaries; turn off notifications, and create separation from your online world. Generation Z – Take digital breaks; create phone-free times and zones.

Pastor Seth Dunham addressed the impact of social media on spiritual health from a Christian worldview. Observing how quick we are to “envy up and scorn down,” social media can be a blessing and a curse. By inviting us into God’s story through the Bible, Pastor Seth encouraged the audience to find their story in God’s story. With so many people tempted to believe everything they see on social media, take time to invest in authentic relationships. Don’t give up on social media, and don’t give up on real relationships. Pastor Seth issued the challenge: “rather than sell a story, tell a story.” An authentic social media presence combined with genuine relationships is an invitation to tell a better story, God’s story.

Thank You to Those Who Shared

Thank you to our speakers and event sponsors for making this free to share with the public. Thank you especially to Dakota Medical Foundation for their sponsorship and promotion. Thank you to our community who rallied friends, co-workers, and neighbors to join us for this night of learning.

Next Steps

After watching the video, if you have questions about counseling at Bethel or would like to know more about future talks at Bethel Church, please contact Loree Veith at 701.232.4476 or via email.