Today we had a speaker from LDS Family Services come and speak to our ward about the risks in the media and internet. He spoke about the dangers of pornography, but he also spoke about other forms of behaviors that can be good, but also can be addicting; texting, video and mobile gaming, social media sites.
Much of his comments were based on Elder David A. Bednar's talk, "Things as They Really Are." The above video shows segments of that talk. Elder Bednar spoke about how technology can be used to augment reality. "Enticing us to think or do things we would not otherwise think or do, because 'it's only a game'."
I remember when all my buddies got Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. They were all playing online together and I wanted to join in. I got the game and started playing the single player missions to get the hang of it. There was a warning before I started the mission, "The following mission may be disturbing or offensive to some players. You may skip this mission at any time in the pause menu. [You will not be penalized in terms of Achievements or game completion.]"
I thought, "no big deal, I'm an adult, I can handle it." What I didn't expect was to find myself in the role of a government agent in deep cover and forced to join Russian terrorists as they massacre civilians in an airport. I tried to lay low, refusing to fire my weapon, but the level finally forces you to kill innocents, or not advance. I remember, after I finished the level I just felt down. I found it difficult to process the experience and decided not to play the game again.
A survey in 2009 found that 41% of boys ages 11-13 years old were asking for Modern Warfare 2 for Christmas. I'd even wager for a fair amount of those kids Santa came though.
Not much time was dedicated to pornography, maybe because it is such a huge matter all on it's own. I really liked this Mormon Message though about it. I also get the impression his actions could be linked to any addictive behavior. The most crushing part is Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's plea, "picture the faces of those who love you and would be shattered if you let them down."
But dangers can even be found seeming innocent online hobbies such as Facebook, Pintrest, or even (dare I say?) blogging. It isn't always that we use these things, but how we are using these things. I used my iPhone today as my hymn book, but then I can also use to play Angry Birds.
But it can be real easy to be down on internet and media for the ways it can hurt us. Instead I wanted to focus on all the way we can use it for good!
Elder Bednar gives us 2 questions to ask when it come to technology.
1. Does it invite or impede the Holy Ghost?
2. Does it enlarge or restrict your capacity to live, to love, and to serve?
Some of the ways I chose to use technology and the internet was start this blog, to help people seek out good media and avoid that which will impede the spirit. My wife "pins" recipes and crafts, and then actually does them! She is also a huge family history buff and uses Family Search to build our family tree. (As I type she is organizing family names.) My friend Bobby used Facebook reconnected to converts from his mission. And I think my sister is using her blog, Made by Munchies Mama, as some sort a therapy sometimes.
I wanted to ask you? What are some beneficial ways you use the internet, media, and technology to invite the Spirit and enlarge your capacity to live, love, and serve?