Around eight years ago, very few people spent time on Facebook or Twitter, nobody had any apps or smartphones, text messages were still a novelty, and the average person spent far less time online that the current average of 6+ hours per day. How should we view digital media today? Is there a Christian “ethic” when it comes to being online, using smartphones, and sending texts?
Of course Christians should do what God commands, stay pure, love one another, be stewards of time and money, exercise self-control, and so forth – so yes, we should approach digital media from a Christian perspective. Speaking of this, I recommend this book: The Digital Invasion by Hart and Frejd. Since this book covers a lot of ground – too much to mention in one blog post – I want to give an excerpt that I thought was helpful. What follows is a list of questions to discuss with your spouse about using Facebook. I’m not on Facebook, but since I was for a few months, I can vouch that these questions are worth bringing up with your husband or wife.
1) How much time each day is an acceptable time to spend on Facebook?
2) Are there times during the week that we should be Facebook free?
3) When accepting friend requests from others, who is OK to accept requests from and who is not?
4) Who are the types of people from your past that are OK to search for on Facebook and who are not?
5) How personal can updates and comments get with the sharing of details about yourself, your spouse, your family, your work, and your life?
6) Are there any words, terms, or phrases that will not be typed and shared publicly? What topics are off-limits to write about in updates and comments?
7) What types of Facebook friends are OK to have private communications with using the FB message and chat feature?
8) What should occur if a Facebook friend crosses the line?
9) How will you and your spouse connect offline about your Facebook experience?
10) Would we be happier in our marriage if neither of us engages Facebook?
These questions can be tweaked, of course, but I think they are helpful ones for husbands and wives to talk about together. Facebook chats, messages, posts, comments, pictures, and so forth can really harm (even destroy!) a Christian marriage if used wrongly. I urge our readers who haven’t already done so to have a discussion about Facebook usage with their spouse. This is a good and wise way to avoid problems in marriage and to walk according to the Christian ethics mentioned above.
Here’s more info on the book I quoted from: Dr. Archibald Hart and Dr. Sylvia Hart Frejd, The Digital Invasion (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2013), p.107.