For all of us who use facebook, here are some helpful reminders. If you are a parent and your teen wants a facebook page, the following is a good place to start for conversation. And remember, our Lord said that we will give an answer for every idle word (Matthew 12:36-37).
1. Beware the seduction of being “liked.” This can become fame seeking and can stir unhealthy ambitions for praise of man.
2. Beware the seduction of “fear of man.” Are you able to send a “like me” to someone and they not “like” you back – can you handle that?
3. Beware the seduction of exalting your own “Truman Show.” Just because you think your life is interesting to watch does not mean that others think so. This can create the delusion that what I ate for breakfast and what I wore this morning or plan to wear, is important for the world to read.
4. Beware the seduction of gossip and slander and cynicism. The privacy of facebook without having to interact with a face-to-face person makes it easier to diss others.
5. Beware the seduction of dribble. See point two but only to add here that facebook can become your hideout when bored with life and often creates a platform for silly chit-chat. Books are still hands-on pleasure.
6. Beware the seduction of superficial friendships – you really don’t have 689 friends. Not really. If you have two or three real friends in this life then that is about all you need. Besides it takes a lot of time to keep up with your real friends – you don’t have time to keep up with the fake ones.
7. Beware the seduction of wasting time and laziness.
8. Beware the loss of good articulation and writing habits. We are getting dumber because we have hyphenated our language down to grunts and then in public, we can barely speak using intelligent language to convey what we want to say. Facebook does not approve of good writing habits. If the average 15 yr old actually used correct spelling, punctuation, and all around good grammar, including capitalizing proper names and words at the beginning of a sentence, you would lose some friends – they would think that you have lost your mind.
9. Beware the loss of real friendships. Remember, if you try to keep up with all the fake friends you might lose a real one simply because of limited time. And, even with real friends, internet conversation is fragile: no one can read your face, your body language, your tone of voice – all important in understanding what the other is saying.
On the other hand, like all forms of social media, if the dangers are understood, limitations are in place, accountability is pursued, then tread cautiously in your modern world. The benefits to facebook are good ones:
- A means of cheap and quick communication
- A means of contacting and locating people that were special to us in the past
- A means of spreading and communicating good things, again, in a quick and cost-effective manner to a larger group
- A means of encouragement and support for those in need
- A means of communicating a need
- A means of sharing special moments and happenings with friends and family who live far away
- And finally, a means to glorify God. If we are to put the beauty of our Lord on display, then facebook is included along with eating and drinking to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). Keeping this in mind will foster good use of social media.