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The Digital Invasion (Part 3) - Sharing and Comparing Too Much Online, Internet Gambling, Video Games

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VII. The tendency to say, share, and gossip too much online
1. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter provide an easy avenue to blab things we should not and would not normally have the opportunity to in real life.
A. The definition of twitter is telling.
B. Twitter v. - 1. intr. Of a bird: To utter a succession of light tremulous notes; to chirp continuously with a tremulous effect. b. transf. Of a person: To sing after the above manner; also (esp. of a woman), to talk or chatter rapidly in a small or tremulous voice.
C. When things are written online they can't be taken back and can be saved forever.
D. Be cautious about tweeting too much online.
2. As Christians, we should keep the door of our lips (Psa 141:3; Psa 39:1).
A. We should be slow to speak (Jam 1:19).
B. We should be slow to post and slow to tweet, too.
3. When you keep your tongue, you keep yourself from trouble (Pro 21:23).
A. Your mouth can cause your flesh to sin (Ecc 5:6).
B. The longer you keep yapping, the more likely it is for you to slip into sin (Pro 10:19).
C. It's the fool who says everything that's on his mind (Pro 29:11).
i. Ever hear anyone boasting about how he "told someone off"?
ii. That's not a virtue, but a vice.
D. A fool's lips will swallow up himself (Ecc 10:11-13).
E. An unbridled tongue (in person or online) makes a Christian's religion vain (Jam 1:26).
F. "We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out." - Winston Churchill
G. "Be careful in speaking. There is always time to add a word, never to withdraw one." - Balthasar Gracián
H. Think before you speak (Pro 29:20).
I. You have two ears and one mouth, use them proportionally.
J. We will give an account to God for every idle word spoken (Mat 12:36).
4. Wise men spare their words (Pro 17:27-28; Job 13:5).
A. “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” - Plato
B. "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln
C. "They never taste who always drink; They always talk who never think." - Matthew Prior
D. "The problem with close-minded people, is that their mouth is always open." - Unknown
E. "They that know the least know it the loudest." - Fred Hodgins
F. A fool's voice is known by multitude of words (Ecc 5:3).
G. Always remember, you have the right (and often the duty) to remain silent.
H. A fool is full of words (Ecc 10:14).
I. "It is not a severe criticism to say that there are ministers whose words stand in a very large proportion to their thoughts." - Charles Spurgeon
5. Facebook and Twitter facilitate busybodyness.
A. Paul instructed young widows to remarry, bear children, and guide the house, in part because of their propensity to be tattlers and busybodies (1Ti 5:11-14).
B. Facebook has now made it possible for young women, and too often young mothers at home with their children, to digitally wander about from house to house being busybodies and speaking things which they ought not.
C. Being a busybody is no trivial matter (1Pe 4:15).
D. Much strife has come as a result of posting unnecessary things online.

VIII. The tendency to compare ourselves via social networking
1. Keeping up with the Jones' used to be restricted to your next-door neighbors.
A. Now we have hundreds of virtual neighbors to try to keep up with.
B. "Fear is very much part of the climate of Facebook. When we are afraid of what people think of us, we work hard to craft just the right image, composed of just the right pictures, personal information and status updates. The emphasis is on being clever, not on being genuine." (Jesse Rice, The Church of Facebook, page 197).
2. Comparing ourselves among ourselves is not wise (2Co 10:12).
3. Paul, our example (1Co 11:1), did not commend himself, nor did he need others to commend him (2Co 3:1).
4. It's a very small thing to be judged of others (1Co 4:3-4).
5. If you care about what people think of you, you have not yet grown up.
A. It has been said that when you're 18, you care about what everybody thinks about you, when you're 40 you don't care about what anybody thinks of you, and when you're 60 you realize that nobody thinks about you.
B. God thinks of you and that's all that matters (Isa 49:16).
6. People tend to make their lives look like a fairy tale on Facebook.
A. They appear to have the perfect life, the perfect marriage, perfect kids, perfect job, perfect social life, etc.
B. When you compare your real life to their virtual life, you appear to fall short.
C. They probably don't have it together like their Facebook page portrays, and you are trying in your heart to imitate a phony life.
D. Even if they do have it together and have the "perfect" life, you should still not compare yourself with them.
E. The only standard you should try to measure up to is God's standard found in the scripture.
F. Don't be covetous of what others have; be content with what you have (Heb 13:5).
G. Don't worry about what God has given to others (Joh 21:20-22).
7. Our completeness is in Christ and we should not seek it anywhere else (Col 2:10).

IX. Cyber-stalking
1. Stalking has been made easier with the Internet with the anonymity it affords.
2. Here are a few practical tips to avoid being cyber-stalked.
A. Make sure that the location services are disabled for photos on your smartphone.
i. If location services is enabled for photos, then each picture you take is digitally stamped with the GPS coordinates of where it was taken.
ii. Someone with a simple Internet browser add-on can easily find the exact location of your home, school, vacation spot, etc.
B. Don't post your location and whereabouts on Facebook.
i. Don't post where you are or where you will be for everyone to see.
ii. Especially don't post when you are going to be on vacation so thieves know when to rob your home.
C. Teach your children to NEVER meet someone in person who they have only met online.
i. I know a person whose daughter was raped by some goons she met on Facebook or MySpace.
ii. Know who your children are conversing with online because there are sexual predators out there masquerading as peers of your children.
D. If your children are being cyber-stalked or cyber-bullied, then get them off the internet or the specific parts of it in which the stalking is taking place.

X. Internet gambling
1. Dr. Hart in The Digital Invasion had this to say about internet gambling and gambling addictions in general:
A. "Estimates of the number of people who are diagnosed with a gambling addiction are difficult to find. It appears to range anywhere from 2 to 5 percent of the population in the United States. This may seem like a low percentage, but in real numbers it means that many millions of people are affected by it in the United States alone." (Dr. Archibald D. Hart, The Digital Invasion, page 123)
B. "Unfortunately this disorder does not respond well to treatment, and as many as two-thirds of those who begin treatment for a gambling disorder discontinue their treatment prematurely. It makes no difference whether treatment includes medication, psychotherapy, or both. It is a difficult habit to give up." (Ibid)
2. Gambling in itself may not be a sin, but to be addicted to it is.
A. Addiction n. - 1. Rom. Law. A formal giving over or delivery by sentence of court. Hence, A surrender, or dedication, of any one to a master. 2. a. The state of being (self-)addicted or given to a habit or pursuit; devotion. b. The, or a, state of being addicted to a drug (see addicted ppl. a. 3b); a compulsion and need to continue taking a drug as a result of taking it in the past.
B. To be addicted to anything is to allow it to have power over you.
C. The Bible teaches that we are not to be brought under the power of anything (1Co 6:12).
D. We must keep our body, including our brain, which is prone to get addicted to dopamine, in subjection, not let it control us (1Co 9:27).
E. Sin must not be allowed to reign (to have power, sway, or predominance; to prevail or be prevalent) in our bodies (Rom 6:12).
F. We must not yield (to hand over, give up, relinquish possession of, surrender, resign) our body to sin and let it have dominion (the power or right of governing and controlling; sovereign authority; lordship, sovereignty; rule, sway; control, influence) over us (Rom 6:13-14).
3. Even if the act of gambling is not sinful, it is not wise.
A. Lawful things are not always expedient (1Co 10:23).
B. The allure of gambling is getting something for nothing (or almost nothing).
i. Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished (Pro 13:11).
ii. Even in the rare occurrence that someone hits the jackpot, it will not end well (Pro 20:21).
iii. The prosperity of fools destroys them (Pro 1:32).
iv. The Bible prescribes labor, not chance, for acquiring wealth (Pro 14:23; Pro 10:4).
v. Compulsive gamblers need to take a course in probability.
C. Gamblers are not in good company (Mar 15:24; Joe 3:3).
4. If you are addicted to gambling (online or other), follow the steps outlined in Section XII,9 for dealing with a sinful addiction.
5. Addictions will be further discussed in the section on Internet Addiction (Section XV).
6. If necessary, seek professional help.

XI. Video games
1. Dr. Hart in The Digital Invasion had this to say about video game playing and addiction:
A. "As we write this book, it is estimated that 95 to 97 percent of our youth are playing video games of one sort or another." (Dr. Archibald D. Hart, The Digital Invasion, page 124)
B. "Video game addiction, also known as video game overuse is the extreme use of video games to the extent that it interferes with daily life. Gaming addiction is a form of impulse control disorder. People with this impulse control disorder can't resist the urge to engage in behaviors that harm themselves or others and are disposed toward developing other addictions such as alcohol, drugs, eating disorders, and compulsive gambling. The impulse to play these games is overwhelming. Teens are the most vulnerable to gaming addictions, and their need to play can be obsessive to the extent it is harmful to themselves or to others." (Ibid)
C. "What causes gaming addiction? Again, the pleasure and reward system of the brain plays a major role in delivering extreme euphoria while gaming. This also explains why it is so addicting. Gaming provides a make-believe world for the gamer, providing an escape from the real world. In the case of a gamer in China who committed suicide, the head of one software association was quoted saying: "In the hypothetical world created by such games, they become confident and gain satisfaction, which they cannot get in the real world."" (Ibid)
D. "Kevin Roberts, a nationally recognized expert on video gaming addiction...offers the following risk ratings for major games. The risk goes from 1-10, 10 being the severest.
....
- First Person Shooter Games:
Counter-Strike, Halo, and Call of Duty - Addiction Risk 7
- Real Time Strategy Games:
Command & Conquer, Age of Empires, Empire Earth - Addiction Risk 7
- The Narcotics of the Game World - MMORPGs (Massively Multiple Online Role-Playing):
RuneScape - Addiction Risk 7
World of Warcraft - Addiction Risk 10" (Ibid, page 126)
2. With the pervasiveness of video games, especially first person shooter and war games, is it any wonder why the government has no problem selling their immoral and illegal wars to the public?
A. Is it any wonder that it is now far easier than in previous generations for a soldier to kill an enemy in battle since he has been doing it virtually since he was a child?
B. The military uses video games to train soldiers.
C. With each new war, it has been statistically shown that higher percentages of soldiers will actually kill an enemy soldier.
D. Could this be the cause of a dramatic increase in PTSD and suicide among soldiers returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?
E. Could these type of video games illicit "wicked imaginations" which God hates? (Pro 6:18)
3. Video gaming might not be a sin, but is it wise?
4. At some point, too much video gaming crosses over into an addiction, which would be sinful (see Section XV,1), especially if the addiction causes one to neglect obligatory duties of life.
5. If you are addicted to video games, follow the steps outlined in Section XII,9 for dealing with a sinful addiction.
6. Addictions will be further discussed in the section on Internet Addictions (Section XV).

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