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The Plugged In Show, Episode 210: Social Media, Addiction and Self Esteem. Plus, a Look at Bentkey


Social media can be harmful. Don’t take our word for it, just ask the Surgeon General. In fact, if you did ask U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, here’s what he might say (because he said it in a statement earlier this year).

“The most common question parents ask me is, ‘is social media safe for my kids.’ The answer is that we don’t have enough evidence to say it’s safe, and in fact, there is growing evidence that social media use is associated with harm to young people’s mental health. Children are exposed to harmful content on social media, ranging from violent and sexual content, to bullying and harassment. And for too many children, social media use is compromising their sleep and valuable in-person time with family and friends. We are in the middle of a national youth mental health crisis, and I am concerned that social media is an important driver of that crisis – one that we must urgently address.”

But you can take our word for it, too, since we kind of track this stuff. And you can listen to our team share lots of words on this and related issues.

And then, once we’re done talking about that, we’ve got another word or two to share—this time on the new family friendly streaming service Bentkey, focusing on one of its first new shows, A Wonderful Day with Mabel Maclay.

So once you hear our words, why don’t you share a few words of your own? And what better place to talk about the dangers of social media than on social media! Ship us a missive on Instagram or Facebook. If our conversation convinces you to dump them both (which, honestly, isn’t our intent), well, we’ve got you covered. Email us at [email protected]. Or leave us an old-timey voicemail at

We’d love to hear from you. And I guarantee you that the Surgeon General won’t warn you about that.

Paul Asay

Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

3 Responses

  1. I don’t think there is such a thing as having “no agenda”. This streaming service claims to have “no agenda”, but that probably really means that their actual “agenda” is that they will disagree with or ignore any topic that they feel has an “agenda”. So their is still and agenda ^_^. And I don’t even mean it as a bad thing really. I think sometimes Christians and those in politics have turned the word “agenda” into a self serving hypocritical buzz word/dog whistle. An “agenda” is just a plan, intention, goal, for what you want to do or accomplish within something. EVERYTHING has an agenda. Mr Rogers had an “agenda”. Focus on the Family has an “agenda”. Each political party has an “agenda”. Christians have an “agenda”. etc. etc. But often when we say that a show or movie or group has an “agenda”, what we really mean is “they’re teaching something we don’t agree with”, and further more we act as if they are doing something sinister and manipulative and underhanded in the process. Chickfila supports the biblical view of family and marriage in their policies and charitable givings and Christians praise them for standing up for biblical values and saying what they believe. Starbucks openly supports LGBT issues and our reaction is “they’re making things “political”, they’re trying to push an “agenda”, and shove their viewpoints down our throats”. To me that seems like a double standard; not that Christians should believe that homosexuality is ok, but we still live in a country where everyone has the “right” to stand up for what they “think” is right. Not everyone is correct about what they believe is right, but like, when the creators of Arthur make an episode showing a same sex couple in their show I do not think they are doing anything fundamentally different than when a Christian writer puts in their show a story that supports the biblical view of family. In both cases, the writer is putting something into the show that they believe is right, but we treat the first example like they’re some kind of sinister villain who should “keep their viewpoint to themselves”, while praising the second example. We shouldn’t act as if only people who agree with us should have the right to express their views in media.

    1. I agree. PluggedIn’s regular misuse of the word “agenda,” as if they don’t have an agenda themselves, is concerning imo. PluggedIn and FOTF absolutely have agendas. It’s interesting, and a little frustrating, to see them constantly called out in the comments for their misuse of the word, yet make no change or response. I’m curious as to the PluggedIn team’s philosophy on agendas. Do they believe that they have an agenda? Why or why not? Do they think agendas are always bad or malicious?