Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education


Department of Education

Primary Advisor

Dr. Karen Ingle

Second Advisor

Dr. Thomas Gollery

Third Advisor

Dr. Bethany Thomas


The purpose of this study was to understand the impact of social media on the spiritual formation of Generation Z freshmen college students. Social media app usage has become prevalent within society, and Gen Z members are the first to grow up their entire lives with Internet access. Christian universities must understand the impact of social media apps on incoming freshman students, as they develop spiritual formation strategies aimed at the college population. In addition, the students’ own perceptions of how they are being impacted is important to identify, in order for them to make the necessary changes towards spiritual growth. The data collection instrument used was an online survey, distributed via email to freshmen students. Out of 300 eligible freshmen students, 134 completed the survey. The survey asked questions about spiritual formation activities and social media app usage. Data analysis of the survey is reported in the results portion of this study. The findings of this study were that social media technology has altered the spiritual formation process of Gen Z students at the university, as they are not able to be fully present during spiritual formation activities, with Bible reading, quiet time, and prayer life being significantly impacted by these apps. Additionally, the social media app Instagram was found to have the greatest impact on student spiritual formation, over the three other most popular apps (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter) at the time of this study.