David Clark has recently published a short book (108 pages in 11 chapters) on Christians functioning in the digital age. The author was born in Ireland and raised in France where his family served as missionaries. For the past thirty years, he has worked in the Computer Science industry and has completed postgraduate work in this field. He has a lot of knowledge in this field, and yet he can write so the common person understands.
His chapters are entitled:
2 So What?
3 The Bad, The Good, And A Dose Of History
5 Facebook And The Social Network Revolution
7 If It’s Free, Then You Are The Product
8 Internet Games
9 Internet Gambling
10 News And Views
11 Five Principles To Learn From
12 Five Principles To Run With
Most people in the Western World under retirement age possess a decent understanding of the computer and the internet. In fact, this is one area in which the younger the person, (typically) the greater the understanding. New forms of social media and new avenues in existing social media seem to be popping up all of the time. Individuals are faced with navigating the internet safely. Parents are faced with guiding their children on the internet and deciding what is and is not allowed.
More and more, children are required to use the internet for research during homework time. In Chapter 6, Clark cites that 90% of 8-16 year olds have been exposed to pornography online, and that most of this exposure occurred during homework time! During homework time? Yikes! I remember preparing a research paper on a government topic during college and stumbling across a pornographic site simply because I mistyped “.com” at the end of the internet address instead of correctly typing “.gov”. It is that simple.
For the average person, this book will likely not add an abundance of computer or internet knowledge to your repertoire. The book does, however, invite the reader to think critically and biblically about your internet activity. I would highly recommend this book to parents (Christian or not) needing to decide how much freedom on the internet is appropriate for their children and teens. In fact, for parents of teens, this would be an excellent book to read and discuss together.
Each chapter is carefully cited. I respect this as careful academic citation makes it much easier for the reader to fact check and loans a great deal of credibility to the author. In addition to the citation notes at the end of chapters 1-11, chapters 4-10 include discussion questions at the end as well. This would be fantastic for a family or a small group discussing this book, but would also serve the individual reader for reflection.
It is so important for us to examine each area of our lives against the foundation of the Word of God. I don’t know of any other book serving the purpose on this topic. Clark’s book doesn’t preach against the internet – obviously! After all, computers have been his trade! Instead, he encourages the reader to think critically rather than engaging mindlessly.
A big thank you to Cross Focused Reviews and Day One for a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.