The pontiff also advised young people to spend more time with their grandparents
Pope Francis has warned young people about their use of social media, urging them to create their own history and reject “false” depictions of reality.
The Argentinian pontiff was recording a video message for World Youth Day, which takes places on 9 April.
“Many people say that young people are distracted and superficial,” he said. “They are wrong! Still, we should acknowledge our need to reflect on our lives and direct them towards the future.
“In the social media, we see faces of young people appearing in any number of pictures recounting more or less real events, but we don't know how much of all this is really 'history', an experience that can be communicated and endowed with purpose and meaning.”
Pope Francis, who last year told youngsters not to let themselves become “couch potatoes”, also criticised reality TV shows.
“Television is full of 'reality shows' which are not real stories, but only moments passed before a television camera by characters living from day to day, without a greater plan,” he added.
“Don't let yourselves be led astray by this false image of reality! Be the protagonists of your history; decide your own future.”
He recently spoke out about what he perceives as excessive smartphone use too, linking it with conflict.
“When there’s no dialogue at home, when we’re at the table and instead of talking everyone is on their phone…it’s the start of war, because there is no dialogue,” Pope Francis said in a speech delivered to students at Roma Tre University.
A recent study from the University of Pittsburgh suggested that social media could be making people feel lonelier.
According to the report, spending over two hours a day on social networks doubles people's chances of feeling socially isolated.
In his World Youth Day message, Pope Francis also advised young people to spend more time with their parents and grandparents.
“To have a past is not the same as to have a history, he continued. “In our life we can have plenty of memories, but how many of them are really a part of our memory? How many are significant for our hearts and help to give meaning to our lives?
“The young mother of Jesus knew the prayers of her people by heart. Surely her parents and her grandparents had taught them to her. How important it is for the faith to be passed down from one generation to another.”