I want to continue with the subject of my last entry to this column regarding the issues of technology and its effect upon people.
I read an article, which was confirmed by many sources both in the technology realm and general news outlets, that in 2012, the Department of Defense (DOD) actually used Facebook in an experiment to see how it could be used to affect people’s emotions and responses to certain stimuli. Facebook secretly manipulated (altered) people’s posts without the knowledge of the person who posted the comments, to see how it would change responses. Some of the posts were genuine, others manipulated to see how it affected responses. The government funded the research. Facebook techs did the work. This begs the question, does one even know if what they think they are posting is actually being seen without alteration? The answer is, who knows?
I’m not dissing on Facebook or its users. I know (through my wife's account) the blessing of being able to watch family events and receive messages almost instantly. In the not too distant past, we waited weeks or months for pictures and letters. Long distance phone calls (remember those?) were expensive and voice only. Here is the point; all technology including gaming, messaging, research and entertainment has an effect on society in general, including Christians, that affect values, morals, how we spend our free time and our prayer lives. Everything is affected, and not always in a beneficial way.
I confess, my own prayer life has been adversely affected by my own choices regarding my smart phone. The devil never made me do it, however. The lure of instant news, entertainment, games and Google searches, were all too easy a temptation to keep me from time with God Himself. No finger pointing here, at least without four pointing right at me. I issue a call to all of us, beware of idols.
More next time…