High-tech Hearts

John Muether, both a professor and friend at RTS in Orlando has this to say in an article posted on Ligonier’s website about cyber-friends and communities.

Contrary to the inconvenience and inefficiency of genuine community, virtual communities have the advantage of allowing one to leave as easily as one joined. Disappearing can be as simple as not responding to an email. (Who among us is prepared to cast the first cyberstone at someone who got buried under his email inbox?) Or there is a one-click means of “unfriending” a cyberpest. With these exit strategies, social networks are less communities than lifestyle enclaves. One sociologist has aptly described them as “networked individualism.” Individualism and consumerism were not invented by the internet, of course. But the internet allows these dynamics to flourish and to dominate our social arrangements.

So our challenge is to reckon with the multitasking, split-screen, ringtone culture of the internet. Calvin College’s Quentin Schulze encourages us to distinguish between good and bad “habits of the high-tech heart.” Technological restraint is good for the soul, the mind, and the church. We need to reshape our environment to enlarge our attention spans and deepen our commitments to friends and community.

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