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From the editor's desk 1 September

The War Cry comments on Scroll Free September

The scene demonstrated how far mobile devices have permeated life in all parts of the globe

FOR the past three weeks, BBC Two has broadcast Extraordinary Rituals, a documentary series showing the spiritual rites practised by different cultures round the world. These have included sumo wrestlers being asked to make young babies cry to help them grow up strong, girls wearing wigs made of their dead ancestors’ hair to help them find a husband, and families keeping the body of a dead relative at home for up to 18 months.

One ritual in Papua New Guinea marking a boy’s transition to manhood included the boy’s skin being cut to look like crocodile skin. The young man underwent the ritual while surrounded by members of his village – many of whom were recording the centuries-old custom on their smartphone so that the video could be uploaded to Facebook.

The seemingly incongruous scene demonstrated how far mobile devices and social media have permeated life in all parts of the globe. This can be a positive thing. But concerns have been raised about some of the negative impacts social media can have.

That’s why the Royal Society for Public Health has launched Scroll Free September to encourage users to think about their relationship with social media. One of the challenges is to take a break from all personal accounts throughout the month.

In this week’s War Cry, we speak to Dr Bex Lewis, a lecturer in digital marketing, who can see that having a scroll-free month will be helpful to some people. But she also warns against blaming technology for all the problems associated with it, pointing out that many of these issues are a reflection of wider culture.

It’s an important point. Only when we look beyond the effects of any problem, and instead focus on its cause, can we truly engage in the process of putting it right.

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