Been to church lately and noticed all the people, especially children, who are using their electronic gadgets during services? Have you seen parents actually give electronic devices to their children in church? What exactly are these children, and some adults, doing during a sermon? In fact, from the vantage point of the pulpit, pastors can actually find themselves delivering sermons to the top of the heads of congregants who are looking down at their electronic devices.
Using electronic gadgets during services is “small stuff” compared to what a lot of people are actually doing on the Internet. Jamie Bartlett’s new book, “The Dark Net,” takes the lid off the can of worms the Internet has ushered in. So are people doing on the Internet? Stuff you never imagined from buying drugs, to buying and selling sex, to buying and selling humans, especially children, for sex, to buying and selling high-power ammunition, to making pornography of the lowest and most shocking type, to soliciting people to join ISIS. You name it, the Internet has a website for you to do, say, and see anything. You name it there is a way for people to do things under false names, and “no names” to do whatever they want to do on the Internet. And there is freedom to do all this. But the increasing issue is whether “the government” has a right to monitor activity on the Internet in the name of national security.
So why would Bartlett name his book “The Dark Net?” Has the Internet changed the reality of what humans do? Before the Internet how did people do all the “dark stuff” mentioned above, buying and selling set, exploiting children for sex, showing images of child abuse, trolling for sex online, cyber bullying, buying and selling high-powered ammunition, making pornographic videos and so on? Has the ability to remain anonymous and “do stuff” unleashed the dark side of humanity? If so, how much farther “off the rails” can it go? Bartlett says yes—that the Internet has indeed unleashed the dark side of human behavior, but, at the same time the Internet has allowed human creativity to flourish, and spread, in ways heretofore unknown. Is the Internet a mish-mash of good and evil—beyond regulation—except for individual morality that tempers what folks say and do? When you click on an Internet site, what exactly is “enticing” you to “go there?” If you are alone in a room to yourself, would you shut down your computer or click to an “innocent website” if someone walked up behind you? Are you ashamed of some of the things you do on the Internet? Are you addicted to “nasty stuff” on the Internet? Do you really know what your children are doing on the Internet? Can you go a full day without logging on and visiting some type of Internet website? Is it really no one’s business what you do on your computer. Do we need laws about Internet use? Is the Internet the mirror held up to what we have really become—when no one is looking, or when no one knows exactly who we are? What exactly are people looking at on the Internet during church services? Should pastors demand that these gadgets be put away until church services are over?
Copyright 2015 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.