As a pastor who too often counsels people affected by the dark side of the Internet, I am very aware of the dangers posed online. Wandering hearts, inconsistent identities, even child predators—all of these find themselves very much at home online. (Of course, they find themselves at home offline too, but the internet does provide easy access for amplification of these sins.)
This is the dark side of the technology at our fingertips, and I hope that you have established personal accountability to protect yourself and your family in these areas.
But I would suggest that black and white sins aren’t the only dangers of the internet or social media. There’s another category we need to watch for—what I call the “grey side of technology.”
What are the grey dangers of technology?
- Being desensitized to real people—the people in front of us at the dinner table who didn’t just post to Twitter.
- Undermining the value of physical presence in friendship—It’s nice to connect with friends online, but there is no substitute for physical proximity in friendship and ministry.
- Warding off that precious commodity of soul quiet—When was the last time you turned off your phone for more than thirty minutes?
- Losing our ability to hear voices that don’t beep or vibrate—the Lord’s, our families’, and our team members’.
I’m genuinely thankful for the blessings of technology. But sometimes, I think we forget the subtle dangers of allowing it to command our attention. Like so many other things, technology makes a great servant but a lousy master.
The grey side of technology has just as much potential for danger to homes, families, and ministries as the dark side. If you use and enjoy social media (as I do), I challenge you to guard your heart and mind from incessant noise and give added attention to the people in front of you whom God has called you to serve.