You are no stranger to social media usage. You blog your thoughts on the latest music single, you tweet your reactions to award shows in real time, you create videos of yourselves and friends goofing around, and you even share pictures from your summer vacation with friends half way around the world. This ability to share your thoughts and experiences has opened up new doors of opportunity and made the world smaller. You can create your own platforms to express your voice and opinions, market your own media content, and even connect with people you’d never be able to meet!
Unfortunately, there is a downside: we are sharing too much information. Nowadays, everyone is on Facebook: classmates, neighbors, youth ministers, teachers, principals, college admissions officers, employers, and even parents! Sure, you may not add them as a friend, but did you know that people can still have access to your page (even if you have strict privacy settings)?
Did you know that university admission counselors log on to Facebook to gather information about interested students?
Did you know that potential employers log on to Facebook to gather information about people interested in working for them?
Did you know that Facebook gives your information to outside agencies?
Nothing you do on Facebook can truly be private. As a matter of fact, nothing you do online is personal anymore.
Because of this, we need to be aware of the type of information we are sharing. Let’s say that if you could ensure privacy, would you post inappropriate pictures and information?
Have you considered that God sees all?
Our online lives should resemble Christ because as Christians, we are supposed to lead lives that honor God and display the light of Christ (Matthew 5:13–16). While we are all human and everyone make mistakes (Romans 3:23), we should be cautious not to broadcast our shortcomings and sin to the rest of the world.
Here are steps to ensure your online and real life don’t contradict God’s Word:
1) Ask yourself, “Does this honor God?” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20, KJV)
As Christians we should not commit actions that are displeasing to God. Unfortunately, it can be very easy not to consider whether or not a facebook post will honor God. The next time you get ready to change your status, post a picture, or make a comment, ask yourself, “Will this be pleasing to God?”
2) Love your neighbor as you love yourself (Matthew 22:38–40)
When a certain man asked Jesus about the greatest commandments, He stated that two commandments were most important. One was that we love our neighbor. Using social media platforms to spread rumors, post mean things about someone, or to taunt someone is never acceptable for Christians. Make sure your real and virtual interactions display brotherly love.
3) Don’t sow bad seeds into your future (Galatians 6:6–8)
Sometimes posting too much information online can be detrimental to your own health. Imagine the consequences if your supervisor sees a recent status update, but you are supposed to be working. How would you feel if your full tuition scholarship to a college was revoked because of questionable pictures that were posted of you at an admitted students’ event? The Bible is clear that we reap what we sow, so don’t mess up your future by making bad choices today.
Keep these 3 points in mind and you’ll be on your way to a healthy real and virtual life.