6 Guidelines for the Cyberspace Playground

If we want to honor God with what we say on the cyberspace playground, what are the guidelines we should follow? Here's more pithy advice from Proverbs: "If you play the fool and exalt yourself, or if you plan evil, clap your hand over your mouth!" (30:32). Here it is, translated for social media: "If you are tempted to slam someone online or brag on Facebook or send off a nasty tweet, turn off the screen and walk away!" That's it in a nutshell, but maybe we should spell out some rules of thumb that might keep our thumbs and fingers from wandering off into slander, arrogance, or combativeness. Here are six that work for me.

1. Pray Before You Post

My friend Suzanne wrote a great online devotional in which she talked about how many people run to check their Facebook page first thing in the morning. She encouraged her readers to instead make sure they consulted their "Faithbook" first — the Bible. How true this is! Perhaps if we spent time ingesting words of truth before we switched on the computer, we might not write things that are unkind or hurtful. At the very least, we should whisper a prayer before we post, asking the Holy Spirit to tap on our hearts if we are tempted to post anything online that would not glorify him.

2. Imagine the Recipient Sitting Next to You

The Internet is so impersonal. We see tiny little thumbnail photos of people. We see words typed out on a screen rather than hear them spoken out loud. The pixels-and-pictures environment almost compels us to be rude because it lacks the subtle social cues — the wince, the moment of quiet — that tell us we've crossed the line. We feel empowered and also have a sense of anonymity as we tap, tap, tap away on our keyboards. But if a flesh-and-blood person were sitting next to us with eyes we could look into, perhaps we would state things differently. Before you post, ask yourself if you would say things differently if the person to whom you’re writing were actually sitting next to you.

[Read the rest of the article at Ungrind.org.]