Don't Be Dumb on the Web
Today I’m going to sound like an out of touch, old, angry scold, even though I’m only 31. But I’m writing today to teens because I see a few dangers out there on the web.
I consider myself a web junkie. I enjoy reading my news on the web. I’m a big facebook guy. I podcast. I enjoy email and texting and IM’ing. I watch a lot of web video and stream radio.
I’m glad I live in 2009, because the possibilities are endless, the technology is breathtaking, the opportunity to connect with so many people is thrilling to me.
I also do quite a bit of writing for a variety of websites.
But still, I want you to know that there are some real dangers on the web if you’re not careful, especially if you’re a teenager.
Some of you have parents who restrict your time online. If you do, be profoundly grateful you have parents who care about you. I know you probably chafe at their rules, but be grateful they see fit to protect your purity and your soul.
If you don’t have parents who guard your online activity, I’d challenge you to set up your own set of standards and accountability, perhaps with some of your friends, a youth pastor, or someone you know who would actually hold your feet to the fire.
Here’s why. The web is a wonderful world, but it can be a dangerous world as well.
One of the dangers of social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Xanga, etc. While they are great tools to connect with friends, they can also be the avenue by which you meet people who a) may not have your best interests at heart b) don’t lead you in a solid spiritual direction and c) could actually be befriend you to take advantage of you.
Here’s what I would do if I were you. I would be careful about divulging private information online such as your address, phone number, etc. I would be careful about meeting people offline—especially folks who you really don’t know that much about.
That doesn’t mean you have to live in paranoia, but it means you should approach your online presence with wisdom. Know that what you post online is public. Know that you should guard your purity online. Know that God is watching, even if it seems nobody else is.
Most of all, redeem technology for good purposes. The web can be a powerful tool for sharing the gospel message. It can help organize groups of people to action.
I pray that your internet use glorifies God and brings others into His Kingdom
Daniel Darling is an author and pastor with a passion for young people. He is the author of Teen People of the Bible, a 100-day devotional for teens. Visit him on Facebook by clicking here, or at danieldarling.com.