Critical Thinking Skills and Social Media
To develop discernment, it is important for parents to question their children for reasons they behaved a particular way. In addition, parents should not set out to “trap” the child into a confession but it is rather to give gentle but firm advice for future action. Very few children are going to learn discernment all by themselves. All family member should sharpen each other’s skills in developing discernment.
I say all of that because of the hullabaloo over Facebook and their responsibility in allowing personal information to be accessed. I am not excusing Facebook if indeed they broke the terms of agreement we all approved when we joined. I am saying this because so many of our current population lack discernment. I researched the word, discern, in dictionary.com and found the following definition: to distinguish mentally; recognize as distinct or different; discriminate. In other words, a person must actually think something through to decide if it is good or bad. Conscience cannot be our guide if we do not train the conscience to distinguish good from evil. If a person is not careful in what he posts on Facebook, then he must also accept responsibility. Facebook does have rules on which a person must abide, or Facebook will ban that person for a set amount of days. I think that is fair and a good practice.
Facebook is not alone. Most companies that use computer technology use methods of gathering information. Some of it helps us as well as them. We operate with ease if we let cookies collect and those cookies also collect information for their use. Computers collect a history of where we have been. I thought everyone knew that, but I guess not. In general, our population is all finger pointing about the information we gather, and share, and laugh about, and complain about, and the gatherers come to conclusions that we might like certain products as a result. That also happens to be political research that comes to conclusions about how they might influence our thinking in vote gathering.
When King Solomon took the throne after his father, King David died, we find in I Kings 3:9-11 that Solomon begs God for discernment. Because he asked for wisdom in the form of discernment, God rewarded him with wisdom in addition to things Solomon did not ask—riches, and a long life.
I am not one to make snap decisions. With wide eyes my children would ask me, “What are you going to do Mom?” and my reply was usually, “I’m going to lose sleep thinking this one over.” I wanted what was best for all concerned: the child, me, and sometimes the family pet.
I don’t want to offend any readers, but I do want you to think. Think critically of the results of your action before you speak and before you read, and most certainly what you post on Facebook! Don’t blame Facebook for your own foolish, irresponsible actions. Think things through before you hastily share information. Think critically before you select something to read because that site is going to remember you and it is likely the site will approach you with advertising. It is unfair to blame Facebook for our own irresponsibility.
Discernment is an old fashioned character trait that needs to be restored in our families and thus, our churches, and it will spill into our nation. It starts in the family whether it be a single parent family, or a family of many member. Discern: it’s a good word.