Recently, my seven-year-old nephew informed our whole family that babies have more bones than adults. We all questioned him and had our doubts, to which he proudly replied, “Google it. But I know I am right!” So, of course, we Googled it and found out he was right.
This is a great example of how the Internet can be a good and useful tool. (Although, we all wished we’d been right!) And while it offers a plethora of useful information, there are some downfalls we need to watch out for when it comes to the Internet, social media in particular.
Beware of Falsehoods
Just because it’s on the Internet and/or social media doesn’t mean it’s true. We’ve all heard that at one point or another, but are we really taking it to heart? Recently, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and saw the title of a catchy article. Before I knew it, I was sucked into an emotional story about a little boy only to find out at the end it wasn’t even true. I was frustrated when I realized I had just wasted 30 minutes of my time and emotions on a lie! It’s so easy to allow what we read to become truth and forget that what we’re reading might be promoting a falsehood or feeding the egos of eccentric liars. Sometimes, falsehoods are also about our perceptions. If we assume we know the backstory behind it, we’ll misinterpret every photo, comment, or post we read. Just because we perceive something to be the way it is doesn’t mean it is that way.
Beware of Envy and Comparison
Our perception can also lead us to fall into the comparison trap. Often, we compare our blooper reel to someone else’s highlight reel. On Instagram, we might see a friend’s post of her date night with her husband … their third one that week! Then, we glance over to see our messy house and our husband sitting on the couch watching ESPN and struggle to remember the last time just the two of us went out for a date. Immediately, the enemy swoops in, taunting us with envy. We begin to lust for our perception of our friend’s marriage and belittle our own. The more we look to social media to see where we should be in life, the more we will end up defeated and, ultimately, left sitting in the slump of comparison, resenting the very blessings we prayed for. When we allow social media to be our standard, our eyes shift off the miracles in front of us, and we focus on what we don’t have and think we need.
Beware of Gossip
Gossip has found a new mask to wear when it comes to modern technology. It often disguises itself as a blog, tweet, or Facebook post. It spreads quickly through shares, retweets, and likes. Yet, biblical principles still apply in modern technology. Our goal in every comment and post should be to reflect the fruits of the Spirit. There is power in our words, even on the Internet and through social media. We have been given a platform that generations before us did not have, but it needs to be stewarded responsibly.
More than likely, you are one of the three billion Internet users in the world today; this leaves you as prey to some pitfalls of modern technology. We have an opportunity to be a light in a way that generations before us didn’t have. So, I challenge you to be aware of the pitfalls, stand for what is right, and use your influence for good. It’s time to raise the bar!