The Downside and Dangers of the Digital Age (Part 3)

VIII. The digital revolution has provided an easy platform to say, share, and gossip too much online. A. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are venues where one can from the “secure island” of his computer blab things he should not and would not normally have the opportunity to in real life. B. The definition of twitter is telling. 1. twitter: Of a bird: To utter a succession of light tremulous notes; to chirp continuously with a tremulous effect. b. transf. Of a person: To sing after the above manner; also (esp. of a woman), to talk or chatter rapidly in a small or tremulous voice. 2. tremulous: Characterized or affected by trembling or quivering from nervous agitation or weakness, of mental or physical origin; hence, fearful, timorous. 3. Is a need to constantly send out snippets of non-essential information a sign of personal strength or weakness? 4. (PRO 10:8) The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall. 5. prate: To talk, to chatter: usually dyslogistic, implying speaking much or long to little purpose; formerly also to speak insolently, boastfully, or officiously; to tell tales, blab. 6. A prating fool is likely to set himself up for trouble. When things are written The Downside and Dangers of the Digital Age 12-21-14 Page 10  online they can't be taken back and can be saved forever. C. As Christians, we should keep the door of our lips. PSA 141:3; 39:1. 1. We should be slow to speak. JAM 1:19. 2. We should be slow to post and slow to tweet, too. D. When you keep your tongue, you keep yourself from trouble. PRO 21:23. 1. Speech may be oral or written. David said, “...my tongue is the pen of a ready writer” (PSA 45:1). 2. Your mouth can cause your flesh to sin. ECC 5:6. 3. The longer you keep yapping, the more likely it is for you to slip into sin. PRO 10:19. 4. It's the fool who says everything that's on his mind. PRO 29:11. 5. A fool's lips will swallow up himself. ECC 10:11-13. a. babbler: A foolish or idle talker, chatterer, prater. b. A rational adult given to babbling is no better than the drunkard (PRO 23:29), obviously under the influence of the wrong spirit. 6. An unbridled tongue (in person or online) makes a Christian's religion vain. JAM 1:26. 7. “We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out.” (Winston Churchill) 8. “Be careful in speaking. There is always time to add a word, never to withdraw one.” (Balthasar Gracián) 9. Think before you speak. PRO 29:20. 10. We will give an account to God for every idle word spoken. MAT 12:36. E. Wise men spare their words. PRO 17:27-28; JOB 13:5. 1. “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” (Plato) 2. “They never taste who always drink; They always talk who never think.” (Matthew Prior) 3. “They that know the least know it the loudest.” (Fred Hodgins) 4. (ECC 5:3) For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool's voice is known by multitude of words. 5. (PRO 17:28) Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding. a. Mind that refraining from speech is a holding of one's peace. Much peace is lost through unrestrained speech. b. This verse is good counsel for all who struggle with insecurities about their lack of knowledge or understanding which detracts from the image they would like to have in the eyes of others. 6. As pastor, my desire for all who are heavy into social networking was well stated by Job: “O that ye would altogether hold your peace! and it should be your wisdom” (JOB 13:5) 7. We have not only the right but often the duty to remain silent. F. Facebook and Twitter facilitate busybodyness (the condition of being meddlesome and improperly busy in in other people's affairs). 1. Paul instructed young widows to remarry, bear children, and guide the house, in part because of their propensity to be tattlers and busybodies. 1TI 5:11-14. 2. Facebook has now made it possible for young women in general, and too often young mothers at home with their children, to digitally wander about from house The Downside and Dangers of the Digital Age 12-21-14 Page 11  to house being busybodies and speaking things which they ought not. 3. Being a busybody is no trivial matter. 1PE 4:15. 4. Much strife has come as a result of posting unnecessary things online. IX. Another issue is the tendency to compare ourselves via social networking. A. “It used to be that all we had to worry about was keeping up with the 'Joneses' next door. Now with Facebook, Twitter, and the like, we have thousands of 'Joneses' to keep up with. And none of us is immune to the posts and tweets that leave us comparing and contrasting our lives with others.” (Dr. Archibald D. Hart, The Digital Invasion, p. 100) B. “Fear is very much part of the climate of Facebook. When we are afraid of what people think of us, we work hard to craft just the right image, composed of just the right pictures, personal information and status updates. The emphasis is on being clever, not on being genuine.” (Jesse Rice, The Church of Facebook, page 197). C. Comparing ourselves among ourselves is not wise. 2CO 10:12. D. Paul, our example (1CO 11:1), did not commend himself, nor did he need others to commend him. 2CO 3:1. E. Remember, it's a very small thing to be judged of others. 1CO 4:3-4. F. If you fret about what everyone thinks of you, you have not yet grown up. 1. It has been said that when you're 18, you care about what everybody thinks about you, when you're 40 you don't care about what anybody thinks of you, and when you're 60 you realize that nobody thinks about you. 2. God thinks of you and that's all that matters. ISA 49:16. G. People 1. They appear to have the perfect life, the perfect marriage, perfect kids, perfect tend to make their lives look like a fairy tale on Facebook. job, perfect social life, etc. a. The prophets and apostles under Divine inspiration wrote not only about their strengths and virtues but also about their weaknesses and failings. b. Their Faithbook profiles were realistic and honest. 2. When you compare your real life to another's edited virtual life, you appear to fall short. 3. They probably don't have it together like their Facebook page portrays, and you are trying in your heart to imitate a phony life. 4. Even if they do have it together and have the “perfect” life, you should still not compare yourself with them. 5. The only standard you should try to measure up to is God's standard found in the scripture. A good place to start is MIC 6:8. H. Don't be covetous of what others have; be content with what you have. HEB 13:5. I. Don't worry about what God has given to others. JOH 21:20-22. J. Our completeness is in Christ and we should not seek it anywhere else. COL 2:10. X. The digital age has enabled anyone with online access to be a celebrity (the condition of being much extolled or talked about; famousness, notoriety). A. Media in general is awash with the cult of celebrity. B. Consider some of the current benchmarks for entertainment like American Idol, Dancing With The Stars, reality shows, etc. What is the driving force behind the desire for celebrity? 1. “The short answer is ego. Insatiable ego....The desire to become a star requires an incredible appetite for attention and approval.” The Downside and Dangers of the Digital Age 12-21-14 Page 12 (Breitbart and Ebner, Hollywood Interrupted) 2. Biblically, this is the pride of life (1JO 2:16) which expresses itself through vanity (self-conceit and desire for admiration), against which we must fight. EPH 4:17-18. 3. This inordinate desire for drawing attention to oneself in competition with others of the same mindset is a factor in the increasing display of flesh and of outrageous behavior. 4. But for all of the “glory” of celebrity, the celebrity world is not uncommonly characterized by a dissatisfied existence and emotional distress unto self-destruction. 5. “The problem is, living off approval and applause, and deriving your sense of self-worth from the praise of others, may feel great, but it also produces great problems. When it comes to being worshipped, human beings just don’t make very good gods, something the Good Book warns about repeatedly. Worship is meant for God alone. But when humans are idolized and worshipped – and when they lower themselves to accept that homage and bask in its glory – major conflict mysteriously appears within the idolized 'star.'” (David Kupelian, The Secret Curse of Hollywood Stars) B. The internet has made the cult of celebrity the stuff of the everyday person. 1. Virtually anyone can have their own website or YouTube channel. 2. Everyone can be a star and be the center of attention and admiration! 3. But if everyone is a star, the distinction of stardom vanishes. 4. As one de-motivational poster puts it, “Remember, you are unique---just like everyone else.” 5. This clamor for celebrity generates increased self-promotion to stay ahead of the crowd and/or a feeling of rejection, insignificance and depression. XI. Another problem facilitated by the digital age is cyber-stalking, a danger for adults but especially for children. A. Stalking has been made easier with the Internet with the unwanted surveillance and anonymity it affords. B. Here are a few practical tips to avoid being cyber-stalked. 1. Make sure that the location services are disabled for photos on your smartphone. a. If location services is enabled for photos, then each picture you take is digitally stamped with the GPS coordinates of where it was taken. b. Someone with a simple Internet browser add-on can easily find the exact location of your home, school, vacation spot, etc. 2. Think twice about posting your location and whereabouts on Facebook. You are not only telling the world where you are but where you are not (at your home) and this may be risky for your property or anyone who happens to be there. 3. If you allow your children to be online, teach them to NEVER meet someone in person who they have only met online. 4. I personally know of a woman who thought she was being courted online by someone with an amazing profile of success and family-oriented values but the guy turned out to have built a completely false profile to ensnare an unwary soul. C. A tangent to cyber-stalking is cyber-bullying. 1. “Unlike physical bullying, where a stronger, more overpowering child usually The Downside and Dangers of the Digital Age 12-21-14 Page 13 tries to dominate or punish a weaker child, cyberbullying can be done by a weaker person, hiding behind the safety of a computer and the Internet....digital bullies can remain virtually anonymous....This frees a child from normative and social constraints.” (Dr. Archibald D. Hart, The Digital Invasion, p. 122) 2. If your children are being cyber-stalked or cyber-bullied, then get them off the internet or the specific parts of it in which the problem is taking place.
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