Week TWO Teaching: Cyberspace Playground Rules (Ch 4-6)

Written by: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

Good morning and welcome to week two, WAHD OBSers!

In the case you are just joining us, let me first say that we are journeying through the book “Keep It Shut” by Karen Ehman in our little online community and there IS still time to join us. Last week (September 4-10) we discussed chapters one, two and three. This week (September 11-17) we will take a look at chapters four, five and six!

Last week in my post I shared some practical ways in which keeping an appointment with Jesus every day has helped me to live a life that is fuller and more at peace. I shared some face-to-face moments with you in a video that I recorded from my bathroom because my house was booming with the laughter of over a dozen children (No, not all mine) thus proving the reason I very much need to be intentional about claiming my time with Him.

This week I would like to draw your attention to chapter six, specifically. Starting on page 102, Karen shares with us ‘Rules for the Cyberspace Playground’ and they are SO good, I wanted to make a point of going over a few of the ones that have grabbed my attention personally.

First of all, let me start by saying that I believe the internet and social media has and does serve as an invaluable tool on such a large scale. The people my team and I have been able to reach with the messages that God has given to us would not have been a possibility if it weren’t for both of these resources. But of course, if not used wisely, the internet and social media can be as dangerous than the largest and most powerful weaponry – or worse.

Our words. They hold great power and responsibility, friends.

Let’s review what Karen shares with us in chapter six about the rules for the cyberspace playground:

  1. Pray before you post
  2. Imagine the recipient sitting next to you
  3. Remember when you’re online, you’re also on stage
  4. Ask yourself if you’ve earned the right to address the subject at hand
  5. Ask yourself if you have a close enough relationship with the person to warrant offering your opinion
  6. When you do speak, let your speech be laced with grace

Let me zone in on number two for a moment. Imagine the recipient sitting next to you. I think that thinking otherwise is where so many of us get into trouble. It is so much easier to have your speech laced with grace when you are face-to-face. Just having the person in front of you provides a sense of accountability of its own. Likewise, it seems we get careless and clumsy when speaking to each other online. Intention and tone are missing when we speak via a screen, so we need to be ever-mindful of our reactions when responding to others online.

Number five really resonated in my heart as well. Ask Yourself if you have a close enough relationship with the person to warrant offering your opinion. Let me say this as kindly as possible: Being Facebook friends does not give you permission to speak into someone’s life. It just doesn’t. There has got to be a greater depth before you offer your opinion. If you spend time with the person on a regular basis, then perhaps your opinion should be voiced, but do put a voice to it. Take the person out for a coffee and share your heart in person, not online.

Karen has hit a home run with these six cyberspace playground rules. Thank you, Karen. If you haven’t read them over yet, PLEASE do! They are useful for anyone who uses social media or communicates via a screen.

In the comments below, please share TWO things:
1.  Which cyberspace rule you plan to work on?
2.  Which cyberspace rule you find is most often broken in your online community?