John Mark Comer, pastor in Portland Oregon and really a large spiritual influence on me notes that “The digital age is making us more anxious, more depressed and the data is showing, its making us plainly… meaner.
So the question we are asking this week seems to agree with him and is of great need. How can we become and develop kids to be good citizens of the digital age? As the book points out, the digital world, creates spaces where we tend to know or think....
1. Digital Content Feels Non Permanent.
2. Uses can be anonymous
3. Digital actions seem to lack consequences
4. Bad behavior is the status quo
Frankly, this is not a kid problem, but more a world problem, and certainly an adult problem. No question it is a problem also that lives in the church. People easily have weaponized their words online and done real damage, but with little thought about the real world implications.
The helpful thing for kids is that they are digital natives, they understand a bit more the integration between digital life and real life.
So part of helping students become good digital citizens is helping them become good citizens.
The digital world creates spaces where authenticity is hard to project, and empathy is harder to feel.
So my hope and my prayer for you and for us together is that we can be intentional to have and show kids and students how to be authentic, and to feel empathy, even across digital platforms. This means being slow and thoughtful to respond to things. We so often fly off the handle and respond to things right away, but a calmer more collected, thoughtful approach to our digital interactions may be the example kids need to see that the digital world is more nuanced than we often give it credit for.
Grace and peace be with you,