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Social Media Part II: Oh, Be Careful, Little Fingers What YOU Post!

by Sarah

The Internet and Your Privacy

Do you know who has access to the internet? Everyone. Do you know who uses the internet? Everyone. Do you know how often everyone gets on the internet? All the time.

Fortunately for you, social media has thought up “The Way to Keep the Bad Guys at Bay:” Privacy. Oh, how they value your privacy (at least they claim to in the first 2 lines that will be all you read of the User Agreement before you click “I Accept”)! Your information won’t be shared with that many people…

Remember the days before ads on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube? No, of course you don’t – you’re too young! My point is that companies have to make money – YES, even The Social Media Giants – and they like making lots of money. From you. So if they can’t sell you something, they’ll just sell you out.

Or even if they can sell you a product, they’ve got much more information on you than you ever dreamed. What you click on, when you look at the page, what else you view, any biographical information they can harvest (your date of birth, locations you frequently tag in posts, your hashtags, etc.)

So was the hashtag phenomenon created by Big Social Media to gather more info on you and thus make more money off of you? But of course! Ok, I have no proof of that, but don’t write me off as a conspiracy theorist. (Those types are always right in the movies. Remember that, kids.)

Let’s get something clear: everything online leaves behind a footprint. Someone can track what you did, how long you were there, what all you clicked on, etc. Does anyone still think they can be anonymous online? browsers track your every move. Sites you’ve logged into once may still be able to access your browsing habits. Ever notice how ads show up on Facebook right after you do a Google search or shop on Amazon?

The Camera App

Let’s talk about one of the scariest abilities phones have.

Go through your Settings sometime and see how many apps use the camera.

Awhile back, I was downloading a local news channel’s app and noticed they wanted access to my phone’s camera. (Actually, it was the reviewer’s comments that drew my attention to it.) I have no idea why it would need that. All I want the app to do is tell me if my boys in blue won and what tomorrow’s forecast is going to be. I don’t need you having permission to “operate the phone’s camera at any time” as it says in the Privacy statements that no one reads. So basically, I have just given a group of strangers (and anyone who has access to their data) permission to take over my phone if they feel like it. What could possibly justify you doing this???

I know someone who works with a lot of bright people at a tech company. People who know technology. One of his co-workers was not shy about sharing his talent: he could hack a phone at any time and turn on its camera and see your world through your camera’s view. Whenever he wanted. It wasn’t very hard (for him). And you probably wouldn’t even know it.

Yes, this camera is only one function standard on today’s cell phones, but it’s possibly the most powerful. Let me remind you how old I am. My first TWO cell phones didn’t even have a camera. We couldn’t take selfies with our BFFs in the bathroom mirror without someone first digging out their point-and-shoot digital camera (hint: it was a separate device, roughly the size of today’s smart phones, but thicker and with a camera lens on the front and buttons and a tiny screen on the back. And all it did was picture-taking). And when point-and-shoot digital cameras came out with the ability to capture fairly decent-quality videos WITH sound, this revolutionized my world. (But that’s another story for another time.) The photos and videos stayed stored on their own remote island of SD card storage unless someone plugged the camera into a computer and downloaded the pictures.

Not so today! Every smart phone has internet access, and every app seems to require internet access. Some will connect to the internet and share data whenever they want. What else do all apps require? The camera. Because people love taking pictures. It’s so much quicker to capture your world with the snap of the shutter button. People used to post long soliloquies on Facebook – this was a bunch of words that went on & on about themselves. Then images and videos were allowed, and guess what everything is now?? It got so big that other social media sprouted from the idea. And more. And more. (Even my beloved Pinterest is image-driven.)

And what happens to all of these pics? Well, images take up a lot more server storage space. So there are a couple of options: 1. delete old pics off of the server that are no longer posted, or 2. get more server space. Clearly it’s Option 2! Why would they EVER want to delete posts that you gave them? There’s sharp debate over who owns the pics you upload to social media – do you, as the user, or does the social media now? Sorry to say it, but you just gave the social media permission to have that pic forever.

Don’t get me started on Snapchat. “The pictures delete after 10 seconds!” Pffffffft. Someone is gonna make bank off of all of those selfies stored in cyberspace! And pics you sent your BFF when you felt like you looked your worst. And all of the inappropriate stuff. And…and…and…

Purity of the Post

So ladies: do you see one reason why we caution you to think before you post?

We want you to see the Value in being Pure (why yes, this is why we chose the name Value in Purity). Purity is more than “cover yourself up” or “don’t stay out too late with him.” Much more. There’s a purity of the heart, of the mind, of the body, of the soul. And I believe there is a Purity of the Post.

Go back through last week’s social media posts that you contributed to cyberspace. Do you see anything that subtracts from your purity of heart, mind, soul, or body? Perhaps this is something you should delete so you don’t cause others to stumble. But remember: it’s still out there. Somewhere. With some stranger who, I’m sure, has your best interest in mind.

Ladies, let’s think carefully before we post. Am I advocating for fewer social media posts? I think there are some of you out there who could trim down their daily average of posts per day, and this would be a healthy lifestyle change! But that’s is not my point. Posting stuff is fun; I didn’t mind volunteering to do the social media for VIP. Social media is a great platform for us to encourage you ladies daily. And this has been my driving philosophy since we started VIP’s social media. What is on the heart of young ladies today? What can I post that will encourage you? Will it help you stop and think about Jesus? Will make you think about the way you view and value yourself? That’s what I like to post.

Questions to Ask Before Posting:

  • Does this post reflect who I truly am? Or am I trying to change how I’m seen?
  • Would I be embarrassed if everyone read/saw this? (Would I be embarrassed if my mom’s friends read it? My grandma? The family I babysit for? Future employers? My pastor? Jesus?)
  • Will this post hurt anyone else? Do my words build up or tear down?
  • Am I adding to the noise of social media, or could my post make a difference in the world?
  • How does this post compare to Philippians 4:8? ” Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
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