Limerick priest Fr Chris says social media is 'stunting real relationships'

Aine Fitzgerald

Reporter:

Aine Fitzgerald

Concerns: Fr Chris O'Donnell Picture: Liam Burke/Press 22

Concerns: Fr Chris O'Donnell Picture: Liam Burke/Press 22

A PRIEST who has worked with the youth of Limerick for the past 11 years has expressed his fear that young people are now unable to form genuine relationships and friendships due to an addiction to social media.

Fr Chris O’Donnell, who is director for youth ministry for the Diocese of Limerick, says that despite having hundreds of friends on Facebook, young people “can’t talk to anyone” and are missing out on real relationships.

“They are not connecting physically with people and they know in their hearts and souls that the connection through social media isn’t a real connection,” said Fr O’Donnell who, through his work, engages with teenagers and young adults on a daily basis.

“Everyone is out for the likes and that’s ticking a box and getting some kick. We hope that what we do allows them to step back from that,” he continued.

The Adare native added that it is not just the young generation who are falling victim to spending too much time looking at screens, “we are all guilty of it”, he remarked.

“It is not just youngsters. I love my sports apps so I have that impulse to check that regularly but I would be afraid for our youngsters because I know youngsters at events who have hundreds of friends on Facebook but they can’t talk to anyone and that’s why they need real relationships,” said Fr O’Donnell who was presented with the Limerick Person of the Month award this week.

- See the Limerick Leader weekend edition for more on Fr Chris' award