Archive for March, 2016

Over the years, the social media and the cyberspace has evolved to become user-friendly, personalized and easily accessible across different platforms. The internet and the social media has become so personalized that it becomes part of one’s life and become fun especially for young people.

This singular adaptive feature of the social media and the internet gives it acceptance and usage across large age groups; and makes it look & feel safe an environment. But the big question remains: is it that safe?

The major concern for us in answering this question today is to ascertain the nature of the internet and what we send into it.

Try to picture a standard sized swimming pool filled with water. Again, picture yourself throwing coins into the pools at different time intervals. Let it even take years so to say, the coins will still remain there and whenever they are needed, any good swimmer can dive in and find all the coins, with none missing. Draining the water even will not get any of them lost.

So it is with the cyberspace. The internet is such a place as the swimming pool described above.

195239547One thing the average internet user has not found out is that whatever you send into the internet can never be lost or deleted. Yes I mean nothing you ever post on the internet can ever be recalled. Again, yes, your delete key function is not for real.

The internet is one large black hole, and most people are not aware of. It is an embodiment that is not defined by space, whatsoever. I could say it is alive and real to this world, even to the world beyond as time will later prove.

So, whatever you release into this “intelligent embodiment” remains alive in it and could be recalled or retrieved in a hundred or even thousand years to come. That is why users must think about their future while using the internet & cyberspace. The delete key function can delete a file or document from a device but cannot erase the trace it leaves behind. That’s why advance recovery software today can retrieve lost/deleted files form any saving device.

Today, a lot has been made easy through technological advancement and these leaps in time should concern any young person out there using the net.

We now have “wayback machine”, a digital archive of the World Wide Web and other information on the Internet created by the Internet Archive, which enables you to capture, manage and search collections of digital content without any technical expertise or hosting facilities. This means that this company host and manages contents from websites across the globe and can be gone back to in time.

This simply presupposes that in the nearest future [though this, I believe is already obtainable in advanced civilizations], employers of labor can simply get information about stuffs you have posted in the net, which could in turn promote or hunt you.

The government will someday have right to pull off private stuffs you might have been keeping away.

One of the costliest mistake to ever make as regards the internet is to believe it is safe. It is not. As a result, sexting has been on the rise. Sexting is the act of sending explicitly sexual messages or photographs between cell phones. Combining a sensual photo with text messages is creating a sext. Believing it’s a safe zone, many have hidden behind this mechanism to perpetrate evil. But this could only be for a while. All things online are very accessible.

Oversea, many universities have hired professionals to research what prospective students have released on the Internet. Most teens don’t look far enough into the future to actually see the big picture. Their world is immediate & that is dangerous.

Rather than follow the trend of the World as regards social media and the internet, young believers must explore productive ways to engage their world seeking positive ways to contribute excellently to our passing generation.

Consider the internet as an unimaginably large capacity external hard drive that collects information about not just things but people all over the world.

I strongly opine that the internet today, is mostly evolving to house the databases of people from around the world; including their locations, interests, life goals and aspirations, abilities, capabilities, etc. Such that they can be incapacitated at any time.

I fear that our Internet/digital tech companies are doing more than just providing portable and affordable internet services downloadto people around the world. They daily update their databases with your preferences, post and general data for only God knows what purpose.

Early 2013, a friend drew my attention to a warning that most sites will begin to require personal data of internet users when they come seeking information, to gain track of their activities online and most of them are for ungodly gains. I noticed the rapid increase of this demand in the years 2014-2015. Today, this reality is something else.

What should you post online? For me, The Bible’s Book of Philippians 4.8 answers this quiet well. It says: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 

The truth is, whatever you should want to post online, on any social media platform should meet the above stated criteria. We must aim to exhort, encourage, grace and improve whoever we come in contact with.

We must bear it well in mind that someday whatever post online will either speak for or against us in near time to come. We should also hold on to the fact that whatever hidden things we harbor on our phones to the satisfaction of sinful nature is not secured no matter how much we keep it secure. Your devices [mostly android] are largely insecure by many instances. Many phones, emails, facebook accounts, etc are being hacked by the day.  Whatever the case, a big advice will be: do not keep personal stuff on your devices, because any grade one hacker can access most of it.

Therefore, Christian Youths must shun all forms of ungodly addiction and explore all means to feed on worthy things that will build and sustain the God-purity in them. We must be determined to stay pure even online. The internet as I have always said is meant to be a tool, one we can employ greatly for our good.

I must say at this point that, we can hardly guard against releasing our basic information to the world, e.g, the government and other agencies through forms we fill and other things. It might not mean anything to the average person now, but it amounts to a lot in the reign of the “strong man”. What will keep us apart is our unwavering faith in Jesus Christ when the time comes.

May we find grace to thrive in righteousness and share the same with our cyber-world.

 

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Superiority. Relevance. Identity, Image. Public Perception. All these govern the interactive process on the cyberspaces, especially the Social Media space.
The more you interact, the more you want to dominate. The more you engage, the more you want to be termed relevant. The more you are recognized the more you want to be identified with. The more you are identified with, the more it writes on you and therefore desire a more polished self image. And of cause, the more we might want to keep up with Appearances.
In this spirit, the social media platforms becomes our daily diary. As I thought about what I had observed over the years, I told myself, Facebook is not a diary. It shouldn’t be. Again I recalled, social media is only a tool and should not form the rules.
The socsocial-media-imageial media has become for us today the very battle ground for putting forth our ideologies to our friends and followers. We struggle to share what we believe, in fact that is not really a problem, but we begin to fight hard to make sure others agree with us; and that’s where I’m sure the problem lies. If at all we believe in the saving power of the Gospel of Christ, We share and trust God to transform…so it should be even online. What we believe to be true, we can only hope others believe to be true also, but not be offended with the fact that they do not.
Lately, the social media has been booming with a lot of “hot topics” ranging from politics, to religion, social, economic & even intellectual issues. The tendency is there for believers to engage in these issues, which is not in any way a problem, but how do we engage and not cause problems? As Ben Carson rightly pointed out in his address in a Fellowship Foundation National Breakfast Prayer; it is difficult to address a large group of people these days without offending anyone. This is quite hard and has become the issue each and every Christian addressing issues online must face. Should we compromise to satisfy the expectation of all in order to achieve our place in the scheme of things or be careful to rightly divide truth and leave it to achieve its purpose? Another question that arises for us even is: what is the nature of truth? Especially in the open world. In this critical race, it is important to know that, we are not the only ones online who seek to dominate, who seek to be heard or gain relevance, in truth, everyone online seek that whether are conscious of it or not.
As we strive to put forth what we believe to be true, we must be sure that we indeed hold this truth and have began to defend it with our lives and general conduct even before convincing “our World” to buy it for free.
A great disadvantage the social media instills which is linked to persistent use is in that fact that it gradually begins to influence and thus define the self-concept of users.
Like. Comment. Share. Tag. Retweet. Follow. Followers, etc. All these are instruments of social media medium of validation. They function to convey to a sense of acceptance, identification & validation. These tools are used to allow those around us on the cyberspace communicate with us. Thus, they end up becoming our platform to define self online. Many believe the much friends they have than others make them more popular. The more likes, the more acceptance; the more shares, the more relevance. So that when one makes a post and there are no likes, it begin to tell upon one’s psyche.
Thus, Peoples’ response to our post and comments begin to form the basis upon which we define relevance to ourselves and what we post.
When we reach a point where we solely rely upon this type of validation from people, we begin to lose meaning to our role even online, which goes a long way to affect our physical & socio-interaction. How this happens is that we slowly drift from the true meaning of our message to look upon how we hope to reach others to impress. This is terrible for interaction.
The whole underlying principle for social media interaction is misleading. Our content online is not meant for others, at least it shouldn’t be. That’s the impression being made. It is meant first for us. We must first digest and use these contents, believe in their validity before we share with the world. That is the function of the Jesus we received. That we would have Him and are made of Him before we are qualified to share Him with others. That’s what breed effectiveness of interaction even in the cyberspace.
Again, we try to use the instrument of media to talk to others. This is not a bad idea, but it can be a bad idea. This is what I mean; we must not allow the media to become the tool we use to address peoples’ issue. That’s what is rampant today. We must not imbibe the habit of always talking of & about others and forgetting to always speak to ourselves. The social media tools, especially facebook tends to make us the “saints” that we are not. There is a thin line between that and addressing public issues, online. This also must be done with caution.
Today, even more tomorrow, the opportunities the internet, cyberspace and even the social media holds abounds and will continue to do, greatly.
The internet will see great explosion in the coming years. Speedy advancements will be experienced in different areas that will change the way we interact with the media and internet. This will involve the uniqueness of cyber products and services, the ease with which they can be accessed and the opportunities they afford.
The internet, online and offline media will witness great personalization and therefore attract great attention during these years. Specialized advancements to accommodate the younger generation will be experienced. This will give a greater rise to social media usage than we are witnessing now.
The Christian youth must become aware of these dynamics and thread carefully in this Technology-inclined World today. We must remind ourselves that the media is only but a tool and should be only handle thus.
In all: 15 Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people);
Ephesians 5.