17 Apr Being a Cyber Ambassador
Media has become the omnipresent backdrop of life. We live in an age where mobiles,
TV and the internet have merged into one and have brought the world to our fingertips. Be it sports scores, TV serials, shopping sprees, advertisements, research articles, journals and what not- they are all there -and just a click away.
Along with all the positive scope that the internet offers, there are a lot many dangers lurking in cyberspace that make us succumb to internet temptations. Gone are the days of outings, picnics, outdoor fun games, family talks, family get togethers, etc. These are days when all of our leisure time is being robbed by internet surfing- which is the in thing today.
The ramification of clicking on various links may seem slight without knowing that web designers have spent years in finding out ways to keep you hooked to the net. A decade ago, the concept of, “tempting the click” was articulated. It just means keeping the prospect coming back for more and keeping the viewer nailed to his computer for hours. The visual stimulants have multiplied and the sexual content has burgeoned. Satan has spinned his most eloquent web through all of these.
What are your eyes drawn to? Why are you coaxed to visit certain websites that you never intended to visit? This is because of,” tempting the click” – where web designers have succeeded in keeping us prey to the cyber world, making us click and click and click on a chain of links.
We are indeed in a cyber battle today over ethics and values. Our biblical values, character and ethical beliefs are at stake. We need to realize that the ease at which we click on a link determines our moral standard. Drawing boundary lines are tough in cyberspace if lines are not drawn in our minds.
Mother Teresa said, “I do not pray for success but I pray for faithfulness”. We need to bolster the likelihood of doing the ‘right things’ and stop doing the ‘wrong things’ by being faithful in clicking at the needed links alone. Luke: 16:10 speaks of being faithful in little things.
E- lies and e – messages are other traps that lure people into cyberspace. E -lies are so quotidian in the social media where you can pretend to be anyone and e – message almost anything. We wallow in the unethical and immoral conduct over social media that subtly eat our time. Most advertisement are e – lies and we fall prey to them , watch them, relish and revel in them. There are numerous questionable credentials online and we need to use the filter of God’s word to identify the good from the bad and view only needed sites.
Watching pornography violates trust, leads to lust, compulsive disorders, addictions, adultery, divorce and tarnishes ones reputation once caught.
Visual ethics are neither taught in schools by teachers, at home by parents or in church by pastors. Our children need to be taught to use proper filters and keep a guard over their eyes (Ps: 119:37). I remember the Sunday school song sung so frequently during my younger years, “Be careful little eyes what you see, there is a Savior up above, He is looking down in love, so be careful little eyes what you see.”
A lifestyle of careless viewing reveals the ignorance of the power of temptation. Christians are never immune to these temptations. The real monster isn’t in the internet or the smart phone or on TV. He isn’t lurking behind the web. He is much closer. Our battle is with the flesh. Gal:5:17 says,” For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with one another so that you are not to do whatever you want.” Recognize the enemy (Satan, Flesh) and wage war against him through the power of His word.
Steps to be a cyber ambassador in the cyber world
- Match your online life with your offline beliefs
- Examine your life to see if your are involved in any form of cyber sin
- Use trusted web training
- Use filters like Mc Cafee, Symantec- high security packages
- Have accountability partners- (multiple users in one account).
- Take resolutions on online time management
- Delete in- browser apps that allow backdoor access to un accountable internet use
- Delete pictures and videos that are inappropriate
- Cultivate digital hygiene
(specific time to view internet)
- Flee from temptation
- Read and practice God’s word
- Confess and bounce back on walking with GOD
(Ps: 51:1,2,5,7,9,10.), 1 Jn:1:9
- Pray with a partner (James:5:16)
- Make a covenant with your eyes (Job:31:1)
- Keep your mind occupied, think about pleasant things
How true it is that , “ the mighty doors of change swing on the tiny hinges of discipline”- Ken Windee
As believers, we need to be actively engaged in cyberspace and not retreat from it. We need more cyber ambassadors for the Lord who would stand for cyber ethics in a decaying cyber world of ours.
Dan Andrew, “Taming the Media Monster”, Cincinette, St Anthony messenger press: 2003.
Daniel Lorrnmann, “Virtual Integrity”, Authentic Media, Secunderabad, AP 2008
The author and her husband Anji are UESI Staffworkers in Uttarakhand