In January of this year I attended a lecture sponsored by Dallas Theological Seminary on Media Saturation.The speaker, Doreen McGee, PSY.D. is a counselor in Portland, Oregon.Dr. McGee specializes in helping families assess technology involvement.I found two of her comments especially thought provoking:
“By age seven, most kids spend more time with technology than with their parents.” Parents are equally plugged in, but to different types of media.In fact, many parents are ignorant of what their kids are actually doing online but should begin to make it a point to find out.Regardless of how inadequate we feel about our understanding and skill level in using technology, we must become educated about the social media and other virtual sites our kids are involved in. They need to be taught discernment by their parents. The sin nature in our children can be empowered by our disempowerment.
“If they’re awake, they’re plugged in.The average child spends up to 11 hours per day with media content.” This number shocked the audience.Doreen explained that the 11 hours includes texting and talking on cell phones AND that it accounts for the fact that they are multitasking online.For instance, they often switch back and forth between internet research/surfing and face book messaging while they talk on their cell phone, via speaker (they use the speaker so that they can still send and receive text messages to someone else simultaneously) while they listen to music on their iPods.
Regardless of the actual number of hours kids spend online, they are plugged in far more than most parents realize.While there seems to be less and less that is virtuous about virtual reality, it is here to stay.Below are some online etiquette tips.While not exhaustive, it provides a framework for family discussions about appropriate internet behavior.
NETIQUETTE (Internet Etiquette)
·Only 25% of communication depends on the words used.Tone of voice, rate of speech, facial expression, body language and gestures comprise 75%.All are tools which help the speaker communicate the message he intends.
·When we communicate via e-mail or text messaging, we have only written words to help convey our thoughts.Words must do all the work, therefore, they should be carefully chosen.
·When serious or emotionally charged situations arise, talk in person to resolve it.If that is not possible, communicate by phone.Written exchanges are easily misinterpreted and can create even more misunderstanding and frustration.
·Do not send or receive text messages while dining with others, this is rude.Do not send or receive messages while driving, this is dangerous – and now illegal.I call this, Driving While Intexticated.
·The internet is morally neutral, we are not. Do not surf the net without accountability. The instant access of internet pornography combined with vast amounts of unsupervised time has led our nation into epidemic level of pornography addiction. Parents, get a filter on all your computers!Include the computers on their phones. A great on-line accountability resource is, Covenant Eyes.This program notifies, by email, the person you selected, whenever inappropriate sites are visited.
·Beware of those relationships developed and maintained strictly on the internet.A false sense of closeness can easily develop which could lead you into embarrassing and potentially dangerous situations.Most social networking sites are based on narcissistic self-revelation.Our kids need parental oversight and training in discernment in this area.
While most of our kids find E-mail far too slow, for those who still use it, make sure they know to:
·Keep messages short.Efficiency is the whole point of e-mail.Most people do not like to read long messages on a screen.Send lengthy documents as attachments, or through the regular mail.
·Use the subject line. Choose words that concisely describe the contents of the message.
·Limit contents of message to one idea/request.Too much info embedded in the message often gets lost.Also, a single point message is easier for the recipient to file.
·Do not use all caps; that is like shouting at someone.
·Use proper grammar in e-mails, just as you do in school and in phone conversations.
·Do not send thank-you notes via e-mail for special gifts and favors.As fewer and fewer people send hand-written thank you notes, they become more precious, thus the writer more special.
·Do not ever write anything about another person you would be ashamed for them to read.This includes text messages.
·“Small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events, and brilliant minds discuss ideas”.
But I say to you that for every idle word that men may speak, they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment.Matthew 12:36
Ruth MeekRedeeming Messagesruthmeek@gmail.com
Ruth Meek has a passion for helping women to redeem important areas of their lives. A real estate agent with Briggs-Freeman, Ruth currently works with her husband on development projects. She was previously in sales with IBM, a flight attendant for Muse Air, a teacher at Providence Christian School of Texas, and an Etiquette Coach. Ruth’s passion is to speak to Christian women about Christmas, sex and silence. She has lived in Dallas for over 25 years. She is a native of Jackson, Mississippi and a graduate of “Ole Miss”. Ruth is married to M. Stephen Meek. They have four young adult children. The Meeks are all active charter members of Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas