where are my REAL FRIENDS?
It has succeeded at doing what many people wish they could do. It has fixed it where we can’t live without it. It gives us the world of information and knowledge at our fingertips. It hands us our favorite games and hobbies on a silver tetrabyte platter. It takes us to France and Spain and Bangladesh in the matter of a high speed minute. It introduces us to people who live across the world.
Online businesses are started with less than $100 overhead expenses and low inventory. Existing businesses become a part of the cyber world so they don’t get left behind. It saves time to shop online, to read the news online, to listen to our favorite radio or tv station online, to socialize online. Since most of us don’t have a lot of time to do hardly anything, it’s just convenient.
How awesome is that? With a simple keystroke, we are safe in our cyber world; one that we ourselves create. Right?
But let’s analyze this thing a little further.
To the girl that shops online, it’s easy to be wowed by the outfits and styles that the models in our favorite online ads are wearing. The color is vivacious. We move the mouse pointer over it from top to bottom, left to right. We decide: I’m getting that dress, or that pair of shoes. When it arrives and we try on our online purchase, what is the reaction most of the time? “It didn’t look like that online.” It doesn’t fit me like it fits the model in the picture.” Or, “It doesn’t fit me AT ALL!” Now you’re upset. Of course the merchant offers a money back guarantee. But look at all the hoops you have to jump through to get your money back, when it’s easier to go to a brick and mortar clothing store, try on the clothing to see if they fit to your satisfaction. Because. . .most of us are not the models in the online ads!
It is my friend or relative’s birthday/anniversary/graduation/retirement or whatever the occasion might be. This is a special occasion for sure. What do they get? A page or two of Facebook best wishes from folks in their friend list. Or in the case of bad news such as death or some other loss, we can read through page after page and text after text of comforting words received from folks all across the world and even those in our households. Recently, I called a close relative on his birthday. You know what he said? He let me know how much he appreciated the “Happy Birthday” texts and posts, but it felt good that someone took the time to reach out to him and say with their own voice “Happy Birthday, I love you.” Sending greeting cards is becoming a lost art. I feel so sorry for Hallmark and Dayspring.
Let’s Talk About Relationships
Why is it that some of us feel closer to someone we stroke keys with in an online convo than we do with people in our homes, our jobs, our classrooms? How many folks meet and marry someone they met online because this is the “one?” How is it that I’m in a room full of people, and most of them are on their mobile phones, tablets or I-pads, and few of them are actually talking. . .to each other? These are family members, not folks who hardly know each other.
More on Relationships
A young friend of mine is about to have her first child. She’s a busy lady who lives and works in a city that is too far from her family to be involved in caring for the baby when it is born. In all the years she’s been “here,” she hasn’t taken the time to make any real friends – you know – the kind that’s not hidden behind a 840 resolution screen, but the kind that you can see, hear, smell and touch. The kind you can trust, because you’ve been in their house, ate their food, visited with their family members, sat with them at the hospital, learned their pet peeves, heard and kept their secrets. . . She sees the need now for those kinds of real friends. Is it too late for her to make some real friends? I suggested she get involved with a good church, because I had been her long ago. My husband and I were a young couple with a baby in a town three hours from both our families. But we had an awesome babysitter that we met at church. That was before the internet became the norm for everyday folks, and people had become absorbed with it.
Speaking of church, technology is even changing that LANDSCAPE!
First Church of the Internet
Family used to attend church together. Now family members have to work on Sundays. You know the internet provides the solution for that? Watch a pod cast from any church that has the bandwidth and the video/audio mastery to produce it. Some have taken it a step further, in that, you don’t have to be a member of any church, just watch or go online. There are no relationships to form (why bother, you don’t have time anyway). There’s no need for accountability. You don’t have to be baptized or be born again, or pay tithe or give offering. You are essentially off the hook from taking responsibility for your own soul. It’s just easy breezy. The GOD of the Bible can become abdicated to a very small role in our lives: The god of the Internet.
Set the Record Straight
In all fairness, I shop, socialize, make new friends and listen to a few church videos ever so often. If I were saying it was wrong, I’d be condemning myself. What I am saying is we are people, and we need interaction with other people. I can hide the real me in keystrokes. I can get so lost in cyberspace, that I don’t have a clue how to form or keep a face to face relationship.
Technology is no substitute for REAL FRIENJDS.
About: Jane Ward has been involved in ministry for 30 years. Most recently she became director at a pregnancy resource center. Jane is an author, publisher, teacher, whose passion is to connect with young women in order to share Jesus Christ with them and empower them to the abundant life Christ has made available for them. "Abundant life starts within through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It manifests itself outwardly through godly character."Back to Blog | Add to Buddy List