A major evangelical website recently reviewed a new book on the rise of technology in which the review lamented the challenges Christians face when navigating the digital world led by Google, Amazon, and Facebook. It was a helpful review of what seems to be a valuable book. But there was plenty of cyberspace irony. The title of the post was optimized for Google’s search algorithms. The review featured a “buy this book on Amazon” widget. And the website prominently displayed easy-to-link quotes to share on social platforms such as Facebook.
Such is digital life for Christians in the modern age. We have a love-hate relationship with the online realm. Everyone is dependent on technology, but everyone loathes some aspects of it. For example, it seems like every week one of my friends creates a Twitter thread about how he is going to quit Twitter (some for the third or fourth time). And I can’t count how many times I’ve seen an article about “Why I left social media, and how it made my life better” go viral on social media.
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Imagine overhearing the following conversation:
Company X: “I’d like you to give me access to your personal data (email, birthday, address, etc.), a list of a hundred of your friends, family, and acquaintances, and permission to use that information in whatever way I choose.”
Individual Y: “And what do I get in return?”
Company X: “You get to take a quiz that tells you what Lord of Rings character you are.”
Individual Y: “Sounds like a fair trade.”
You might think that no one would be foolish enough to engage in such an exchange. But I have. And if you use Facebook, chances are you have too. But even if you’ve never taken an online quiz or accepted a game request, your friends may have given away your private information.
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It’s a sad reality that children today are being innocent victims of the anger and frustration of other kids their age. The Internet, and new smartphones apps, have become new platforms for bullies to abuse and harass others, and it’s no surprise, due to the anonymity of many applications, that many bullies are never identified. Cyberbullying is a form of bullying that is almost invisible to parents, as no form of physical abuse is displayed. Regardless, the effects it can have on a child’s mental health can be devastating.
In most cases, children who are not prepared to confront such behavior feel threatened and helpless by a bully’s malicious behavior, especially when they protect themselves with the anonymity of the Internet. Help your children combat cyberbullying and its dramatic effects by teaching them easy safety measures and tactics.
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