The Internet has evolved as a dynamic teaching, research and entertainment resource. It’s a major player in mass communications that embraces all disciplines. Because of its interactive nature it has profound influences in many countries of our world. All that’s necessary is for users to have access to computers, modems, and an Internet provider.
Noam Chomsky (b. 1928), an American linguist and political commentator wrote, “The Internet could be a very positive step towards education, organisation and participation in a meaningful society.” We see this because the costs of computers are more affordable to Americans, and the accessibility to websites at an all-time high. A feature making this revolution possible is the multiplicity of search engines.
Social media sites like Google +, Facebook, Twitter, emails and chat-rooms are media options many enjoy. Attachments on emails, pictures, greeting cards, and animated graphics are delightful additions to Christians and non-Christians alike. With interactions via e-newsletters, e-newspapers and e-magazines, interest groups have made their presence felt. Some Christians do their devotions now through social media sites. Every day, they are introduced to prayer requests, their patron saints, and devotionals from diverse prayer groups.
Children & Internet
K. Rowling (b. 1965), a British novelist remarked, “The Internet has been a boon and a curse for teenagers.” It’s been a boon because teenagers are doing their research and homework assignments with its aid. While online, they are able to access encyclopedias; with interactive features both teachers and students can share workstations, while participating in video conferences.
For younger children, ages three through twelve Junior Net Corp – an online service for kids has teamed up with Highlights for Children and Sports Illustrated for Kids, to provide advertising free places where students can do research, puzzles while participating in classes, and play virtual games.
Queen Rania of Jordan (b. 1970) observed: “In education, technology can be a life-changer, a game changer, for kids who are both in school and out of school. Technology can bring textbooks to life. The Internet can connect students to their peers in other parts of the world. It can bridge the quality gaps.” To Queen Rania, this Internet technology holds promises for kids to improve socially by being able to receive a global education.
But the allegorical “serpent” known in Judaic-Christian scriptures continues to be a threat to youngsters who venture aimlessly on the worldwide web. As they surf the web they may encounter predators seeking to entrap the innocent and naïve. Children are vulnerable and can be victims to online criminals. Even some adults have fallen prey to scams in cyberspace which were devastating. Because of these reasons some parents have turned to the Internet filtering technology to counter such devious behavior. However, there remain problems with the filtering effectiveness on computers. Media professionals therefore advise parents to exercise control concerning when their children are surfing the Internet.
The Bible & Web
As we reflect on the boon on the Internet we must think about the presence of a number of Holy Bibles whose texts show the way to the religious, brokenhearted and lost alike. John Locke (1632–1704), an English philosopher and physician assured us: “The Bible is one of the greatest blessings bestowed by God on the children of men. It has God as its author; salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture for its matter. It is all pure.” Before Rowling expressed the idea that the Internet can be a “boon or curse for teenagers”, but it can impact the young and old alike. Despite these shortcomings, the Word of God has also taken a central role in all the traffic found on websites. It’s pure in the midst of impurities. It’s however necessary for Internet users to choose wisely from this digital diet that’s free to all.