Facebook has had an eventful week. First, the company went public after being valued at $104 billion in an Initial Public Offering, making founder Mark Zuckerberg an instant multi-billionaire. Quite a few of the founding investors became millionaires overnight. Then Zuckerberg married his fiance in a surprise ceremony (the 100 or so guests thought they were attending a party to celebrate Priscilla Chan’s graduation from medical school). Almost as quickly as Facebook shares went up on the Nasdaq Exchange, they headed in the other direction. At the end of trading yesterday, they traded at $7 below their initial offering price, leaving most retail investors with big losses.
On top of all this, a new book and an article in Smart Money question whether Facebook wrecks marriages. Many lawyers contend that the social network adds to the large number of divorces. Over 80% of divorce attorneys in the U.S. say “they’ve seen a rise in the number of cases using social networking.” In the U.K., over a third of divorce filings last year mentioned Facebook. K. Jason Krafshy, who wrote Facebook and Your Marriage with his wife Kelli, wrote about the harsh reality of online romances: “Affairs happen with a lightning speed on Facebook.” He asserts that “It puts temptation in the path of people who would never in a million years risk having an affair.”
Even when Facebook doesn’t contribute to the breakup, attorneys use Facebook to gather evidence and help determine patterns of behavior. One attorney said that Facebook seems innocent and private. Therefore, people post incriminating evidence without really thinking.
What should we do in the face of all this?
First, we need to guard our hearts in every venue, whether online or off. Solomon reminded us that the heart is the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23). What you allow in your mind will eventually show up in other ways.
Second, set up real barriers. You probably don’t want to “friend” an old girl friend or boy friend. If anything is “in doubt,” the rule is don’t do it. Most of us are not really as strong as we think. It’s best to set barriers that keep you from temptation.
Third, be vigilant. Watch yourself. Talk with your spouse. A good rule of thumb would be that you should spend more time with your spouse than you do online. I’m sure that my 8oo plus “friends’ won’t mind if I put a priority on my marriage–yours shouldn’t either.
We all know the internet is dangerous. Treat it like you would anything else that is dangerous–don’t put yourself in precarious places and watch out for yourself and others.
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