“Why will you share that? Who needs to know that?”
“I don’t know. It’s just something I’m gonna post in my blog.”
“Your what? Blog? What does that mean?”
“I don’t know. It’s like a journal that’s on the internet.”
“And everyone can read it?”
“If you let them. Yes.”
“I don’t know why you would want to do that.”
This was the conversation in our house more than ten years ago when I opened my first blog. My dad couldn’t understand why his son would want to upload personal details with potentially thousands of total strangers. (If only he knew that my initial readership was usually less than five. It’s funny how now his blog is even bigger than mine.)
One of the characteristics that sets this generation apart from the previous one is its willingness and ability to share personal information in such a public space. You can see this difference when an older person says, “I don’t know why you even have to say that.” While the younger person thinks, “Why not? It’s fun.”
To them, it’s completely natural to behave this way. This is the environment they’re growing up in and it isn’t threatening. It’s just a way of life.
Is this good or is it bad? It could go either way.
I think there are some benefits to this mindset.
- It can make people more open and willing to connect.
- They are constantly looking to develop relationships with people. And that’s a healthy thing.
- It can also be an outlet for creative expression. It’s amazing to watch how creative, intelligent, and artistic young people can be when they have the chance to showcase their talents.
- It allows for quick sharing of information.
But like everything else, this can go too far also. Often, young people use this method of expression in ways that hurt others or hurt themselves.
We hurt others when we say bad things about them in such a public space. The cases of cyber bullying are on the rise because people now have a way to spread hurtful words to so many.
Before you post something negative about someone publicly, have you mentioned it to them privately first?
“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. Matthew 18:15
My parents always told us to be careful with our words, especially written words because they are more permanent. How many friendships have been wrecked because of reckless words that are archived on the net for all to see? Before we post something, let’s ask ourselves – am I prepared to stand by these words in the coming months?
One practice my wife and I learned is to sleep on something before posting it. This keeps me from acting impulsively and starting fights prematurely.
Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin. Proverbs 13:3
We also hurt ourselves by speaking carelessly and not filtering the words that come out of our mouth. Many people today hurt themselves also because they’ve spoken rashly.
The dictionary defines rashly as “displaying or proceeding from a lack of careful consideration of the possible consequences of an action.”
Some ways we’re rash is when we respond to people in anger. Another is when we share our emotions like making proclamations of love without careful consideration.
Whatever the case, let’s use the internet and its many options for better things than just fighting and emotional dumping. It’s exciting to watch what this generation is doing with the platforms now open to it.