It’s hard to see culture when it’s the air we breathe, the water we swim in. For many young people, the so-called ‘digital natives’, their home culture is that of the internet – which both reflects and shapes the offline world.

Breaking Through

(in cinemas 27th July) is a coming-of-age drama for the online generation. The film tells the story of Casey Wright (Sophia Aguiar), who dreams of becoming a YouTube dance sensation. Along with her group of friends, she spends every free moment choreographing and filming new routines. If only one of these videos could become a hit, Casey could leave her dead-end day job and be an internet star, just like her heroes.

But she’s about to discover that life isn’t that simple. When her dream comes true and she’s spotted by a talent scout, Casey is thrust into the world of internet celebrity. The film portrays online culture as a place where image is all, and the things which matter can easily be left behind in service of keeping up appearances.
What might it take to change this culture? To start with, we need to see it clearly, questioning its values and the promises it seems to make. Just like any town or city, social media isn’t intrinsically bad, but it needs redemption and renewal. It needs to be changed by those who are willing to live out the values of God’s kingdom, bringing integrity and authenticity to a place where people are rewarded for faking it.
Casey’s journey reflects the challenges we all face as we try to figure out how to be in the online world but not of it. No number of likes and followers will ever satisfy if we’re compromising our deepest selves.  Are we allowing ourselves to be changed by the worst aspects of internet culture, absorbing its messages and playing its losing game? Or are we actively working to transform this culture, breaking through its superficial promises with something real and true?
Breaking Through is in cinemas on 27th July. 

This article comes from Damaris Media, who create free film resources for community groups. Read more at damarismedia.com and keep up to date on their latest resources by subscribing to their e-newsletter.

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