Sunday, 23 November 2014

A Biblical Analysis of Social Networks

Social networks. What to do with them? Are they good? Useful? Pure evil? Well let’s take a look. From virtually the birth of the internet there have been ways of connecting people to others. In fact, that was a major part of the very purpose of the internet. To facilitate communication.
Now how can we use such a thing to further and better represent Christ our King whom we as discussed before are mandated to represent? Let me explain. As an active member of social networks, I frequently run across profiles from people who claim to be Christians and yet the TV shows, music and other things they like are nothing a Christian should be even thinking about, let alone fairly (or even very) publicly expressing an interest in. Furthermore, it’s frequently used by people to have a pity party and to seek attention when they should be focusing on making use of the life they have been gifted with.  Instead, they whine and make dozens of poorly spelled, text-speak posts.  I’m not saying one shouldn't post to their friends asking for prayer or sharing a concern, I’m saying you should be mature about it. The purpose of social networking should be two-fold:
1) careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;  always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father...(Ephesians 5:15-16,19-20 NASB)

2) It’s a good way of keeping in touch with family, friends and local news.

It is the first point I want to cover in depth as this is the most misunderstood aspect. Christians need to be encouraged and uplifted by each other as they fellowship together.  As such, we should seek out like-minded, Bible-believing Christians who hold to sound Bible doctrine. Some social networks are designed to allow you to do that. I find it quite refreshing to browse various profiles of people whose feed is full of scripture, wholesome discussion about biblical matters, and challenges to fight the good fight.  If you post in public groups then expect some of them to add you. Check the requests you get, add the ones that are good and ignore the bad ones. The method is different for different ages, but the idea is the same.

Parents, I think the key to holding your children accountable is to monitor them prayerfully and have good relationships with them. Having a good relationship with your children is key to making sure you are not making an enemy of them. Children can be very well meaning but sometimes not the most prudent. Keeping on top of things will save potential hurt and misunderstandings. Open communication between you and your children is essential to your relationship in any avenue of life, but especially one that can be potentially dangerous, such as Social Media. .

Staying accountable. There must be clear communication between parent and child and clear boundaries. I believe for the youngest child, the parent should have login access to the child's account. I also believe there is a tendency to ignore biblical principles when issues arise. 

If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over Matthew 18:15
Last time I checked that was a command. So how come there is a whole group of Christians who don't think it applies to them in social media? One might not be able to go to someone direct but they can send someone they know and trust to deal with it. God honors the heart. He won't honor blatant disobedience. The parent or older person told about an issue must also be obedient, submit to God and go, tell whoever it is their fault. 

Children, adult and otherwise, be very thankful that your parents care enough about you to want to keep you safe and make sure you are not getting too involved in something.  I am legally an adult and have been for over five years now, but I am still under the protection and guidance of my parents.  I am thankful to God that He gave me parents who truly care about what I am doing and help keep me accountable.

A female friend of mine once said; "one thing that I have appreciated most, is that my conversations are monitored by my parents.  All my Facebook chats are checked on at least occasionally.  This is especially important in opposite gender chats, especially if the other party knows the conversation is monitored.  

While this is perhaps not the most effective method, it is one way to help keep your emotions from getting too involved, especially for the females.  Women tend to get emotionally attached, especially when it seems like the other person (usually a male) is “taking an interest” in them.  This is one reason there have been marriages that fall apart due to one partner or the other getting too involved with an old friend on the internet without proper accountability or communication."  

That being said, there is also another extreme that is just as dangerous, if not more so.  Refusing to let your children talk to someone of the opposite gender is dangerous because they do not learn the right way to interact and have not been taught how to guard both theirs and each others hearts. We seem to think that that is only important during a relationship but how can you expect a young man or woman to just start as if they were computers and you simply launch a program. That doesn't work for anything at all. Things must be taught. As has been said before, open communication between you and your children is essential to your relationship in any avenue of life but it is also essential among peers regardless of gender. Children learn through teaching and accountability and both are of paramount importance in every aspect of the journey they are taking growing up.  

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