Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Policing the Internet

Someone was telling me the other day that the internet is bad. They were making reference to the fact that there are so many inappropriate sites tempting people to do bad things on it. It’s true. There is a lot of bad stuff out there. People make choices for good and bad every day. No one has to make a bad choice, and those of us who see bad things and don’t say anything also make bad choices – choices of omission.

The internet, like so many other things, is a tool that can be used for good and bad. One of its curses for those who use it is that there aren’t a lot of boundaries. Anyone can put up anything, interact with whoever they choose, and proceed to make bad choices through the internet.

Writers can spread volumes of hate, prejudice, and inappropriate messages. Thieves can take advantage of unsuspecting victims. Sex is more than a little available (often in unlawful ways) and hackers can ruin people’s programs and wreak havoc stealing identities. None of these things “temptations” have to affect what we do or see on the internet.

The internet can also be used as a tool for good. Christians can spread a message of love, hope, and salvation. Charities can raise funds for good causes, and family members can keep in touch through social networking sites. People can supplement or replace their income in legitimate ways here, and everyone has a wealth of information at their fingertips.

The internet is a tool, and it’s up to all of us to make sure it represents what we want it to, expelling the bad, brandishing the good, and overseeing the task at hand responsibly.