Technology and the Christian—Potential time wasters

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Dear Young People,

The Internet is a wonderful result of technology. It is so useful and we must all know how to use it well. But Satan, being ever ready to add his touch to earthly things, has made the Internet something that we must approach with care.

In this issue, we will look at some nice things in the Internet and also discuss how they can become time wasters if we are not careful.

Online Auction Sites

Two days before my father GB came to New Zealand for a visit, Philip and a friend drove to another part of Auckland known as North Shore. Armed with an address and a map, they went over a long bridge in pouring rain to reach their destination. They found the house they were looking for and knocked at the door. They introduced themselves to the lady who opened the door. She smiled in recognition and gave them a green walker. They paid her and brought the walker home. The walker was for my father who found it very useful during his stay.

How did they know that the lady in North Shore had one to sell? They knew because they had searched for walkers in an online auction site, had placed bids and won the auction.

Online auction sites like Ebay.com are great sites where people can sell what they do not need and buy things that they do. Those who want to buy a particular item generally need to bid for it and the highest bidder wins. To some extent, the site ensures that people do not get cheated.

Reena, 17 years old, spends all her free time browsing through the items in Ebay.com. When she likes at item, she marks them. Because of this, Ebay sends her regular reports of the status of that item, whether others have placed bids for it and for how much. Every now and then she places a bid and wins. Many of the items that she has bought are really nice and she got them at less than half the price of a new one, and in perfect condition too. So she finds Ebay really ‘cool’ and checks the site every few hours.

To remember
Search for an item that you really need. Avoid constantly browsing through the site. Interesting items will always be there. An item may be half its real price. It may even be priced lower than that. But we are not a museum to store all the interesting and affordable items being sold. The question to ask yourself is, “Do I really need this item or can I manage without it?”

Be careful to follow the rules when you buy or sell. As God’s people we must always abide by the laws. This also makes it difficult for people to cheat us.

Rom 13:1 Let every soul be subject to the governing _______________. For there is no _______________ except from God, and the ________________ that exist are appointed by God.

Online Chat Programs
The Internet has done wonders. It has shrunk the world. Any message or picture can be communicated across the world in seconds. It is simply amazing. We use Instant Messaging programs like Yahoo Messenger and Skype to chat with friends and family who live far away. Instant messaging or chatting usually means typing messages to one another. But more recently, more and more people are using speakers and microphones to actually talk to one another like you would use a telephone. Only, with an online chat program, it is much cheaper.

The uses of online chat programs are great. But so are the problems. Young people sometimes chat with strangers, and this could expose them to dangers from unscroupulous people in the chat rooms.

To remember

  • Never chat with strangers. This is a very important rule.
  • If you think it is a good idea, set your chat program to so that your friends do not know when you are online.
  • Set times with your friends for chatting. You need to give account to God for your time.

Remember that unlike when you write an email, you have no time to check your choice of words. It is very easy to misunderstand a chat message.

Christians must always be careful about all that they write and say. Matt 12:36 “But I say to you that for every idle ______________ men may speak, they will give _________________ of it in the day of judgment.

Online Community Networking Programs

MySpace, Bebo, Orkut, and other such programs help friends network. Many young people to have their pages in these sites. ‘A’ has a webpage in Bebo. His page has friend links to the websites of ‘B’, ‘C’, and ‘D’. ‘A’ can go to the page of ‘B’ by clicking the link. There ‘B’ has ‘P’, ‘Q’, and ‘R’ as friends. So ‘P’, ‘Q’, and ‘R’ become friends of ‘A’ as well. In this way the network of friends grows in geometric progression.
The good thing about this program is that young people can meet a lot of other young people and communicate with them. If the group of friends are believers, they can have a lot of good Bible discussions together.

But do you know what the negative side is to this situation? Time wastage is one. The other is the fact that young people leave a lot of personal information and photographs on their sites; it is easy for bullies and even criminals to get information about kids and make them their victims.

When our friends are not believers, they may put up video clips that may not be good for us to watch. Will you also laugh when there is a bad joke? Or worse, will you put up a mediocre video clip on your page?

To remember

  • Avoid using your real name, if possible. Of course, when you sign up for membership, you will have to give your identity, but this is not normally revealed to viewers if you have another name or avatar for public use.
  • Be cautious about displaying photos of yourself, friends or family in your pages.
  • Do not give too many personal details like your phone number and address.
  • Do not interact with strangers.
  • Always imagine what the Lord Jesus will say if He sits next to you as you show Him your web page. If you think He will be pleased, then you are doing well.

Phil 1:27 Only let your conduct be _______________ of the gospel of Christ . . .

Be very careful with your time. You need time to create your pages, to maintain them, and to check what the others have put up on their pages. Plan your time carefully.

(Nahomi Dhinakar; Published in Youth Column of Dhyanamlar July 2006) Click here for other Youth Column articles

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