A better Internet starts with you

You cannot not communicate. All it takes is one word to destroy what has taken years to build up. A comment, a glance, and what you are not saying—it all has something to say.

Safer Internet Day (SID) is being observed in 130 countries around the globe. It has developed into a worldwide initiative, which started in 1999. After protection of personal data, identity security, and mobile Internet this year’s call to action addresses the individual user: “Create, connect, and share respect: a better Internet starts with you.”

It is not all evil, nor is it about the mistakes of others. The issue is not hard- or software. “A better Internet starts with you”, clearly shows that it is important to use the Internet in a respectful way and that data security and a better Internet are issues that concern everyone. And something else: a better Internet starts much earlier than many think.

Does the Church really have to dictate everything?

Several weeks ago the New Apostolic Church published its Social Media Guideline. In it, a code of conduct encourages good Christian behaviour online. In addition to positive comments, these ten points were also commented as being self-evident and superfluous. And then there were those who spoke of an invasion of their privacy and asked: Does the Church really have to dictate everything?

The answer is simple. Yes, it does actually go without saying, because the topics addressed in the code of conduct—respect, friendliness, honesty, and respecting the intellectual property of others—are something that can be deduced from the gospel. In this respect, these topics are nothing new for Christians. They are certainly not an invention of the twenty-first century. Nevertheless, turning one’s theoretical knowledge into practical action obviously does present a hurdle for many.

A far cry from reality

This awareness and the daily communication traps that are there just waiting for us to fall into them are reason enough to take one or the other point in the Social Media Guideline to heart. “For a better Internet”, as Safer Internet Day calls this year’s slogan, for respectful communication, and also for a good Christian experience.

The guideline is not a classic check-list, but is perhaps useful for the one or other heated discussion and the odd unclear point.

A problem? It’s worth a look

“We maintain a respectful tone and are aware that we are communicating with other people. We have consideration for their emotions and feelings.”

“A clear, understandable language—free of irony, sarcasm, or provocation—is the basis for a constructive exchange of views. Rage, anger, and frustration do not lead anywhere.”

“Problems with individual people are not discussed publicly. We remain calm, even when others are not.”

A comment, a glance, and what we don’t say—it all says something. Also the good words, the friendly looks, and keeping quiet when you don’t want to hurt somebody … “A better Internet starts with you!”

Foto: klicksafe.de/sid

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Oliver Rütten
Media, Congregational life