Advice for Wisely Navigating the Internet
Use with Intention
First and foremost, just be careful. There's a lot of toxic stuff online and a lot of untrustworthy information. Part of the reason we are where we are as a society is because a lot of us—maybe most of us—have made the Internet and social media the foundation of our knowledge diet.
We check our phones first thing in the morning when we get up, we check them at the end of the day, and then constantly throughout the day—whether we're in line at a drive-thru getting food or just in between tasks at work. We're just scrolling through our feeds and wandering aimlessly on the Internet, and that's one of the most dangerous things I find with the online experience. We are just kind of conditioned to go there and wander—for lack of anything else to do.
Nothing good happens when you wander in life, right? Even in the book of Proverbs, there's constant imagery of staying on the right path. Scripture speaks to the intention behind wisdom. Wisdom is knowing where you're going and sticking to that. Foolishness is straying off the path and being susceptible to people calling for your attention on the periphery of the path.
The Wisdom Pyramid
Helping believers navigate today’s media-saturated culture, Brett McCracken presents a biblical case for wisdom. Using the illustration of a Wisdom Pyramid, he points readers to more lasting and reliable sources of wisdom—not for their own glorification, but ultimately for God’s.
That's the Internet. That's the online experience. Those are the algorithms that Silicon Valley is making billions of dollars from. They're being perfected to grab our attention and to take us off any sort of path of intentionality. They pull our attention this way and that way, and they want to keep us addicted, to keep us on their platforms for as long as possible.
That kind of wandering doesn't lead to wisdom. It leads to us just being pawns in this game and to our attention being sold to advertisers. You can learn more about that by watching this documentary on Netflix called The Social Dilemma. It’s quite disturbing—but I think quite important—to know what's going on with the industry of the Internet and social media and how it makes money for companies.
If you use the internet, be intentional. Use it sparingly, and don't make it a staple of your information diet.
You don't have to go cold turkey. You don't have to throw your phone away, run for the analog hills, and never do anything digitally again. There are good things online, but engaging wisely just takes intention.
If you're going to go online, go with a plan. Have something specific that you need—you need to Google this, you need to find this. Where you fall into trouble is when you're thinking, I have five minutes to kill. I'm going to open my phone and see where it leads. Don't do that. You're just playing into the game. If you use the Internet, be intentional. Use it sparingly, and don't make it a staple of your information diet.
Brett McCracken is the author of The Wisdom Pyramid: Feeding Your Soul in a Post-Truth World.
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