Friday, April 18, 2014

Miranda Rights for Cell Phones

The numbers are staggering—As of February 2014 there are 6.8 billion cell phone subscriptions in a world of only 7 billion people! And that comes as no surprise, does it? Because think about it; everywhere you turn, someone is on their cell. From the multi-tasking mom who’s using her Samsung in the carpool lane, or the iPhone wielding teen who is texting or taking a ‘selfie’ with friends, or even the small business owner who uses his Blackberry to check his clients orders, cell phones provide a valuable service to our society, and are therefore here to stay. And they’ve come a long way from the days when they looked more like bricks than the pocket-sized devices of today. Even the President of the United States got caught by the world press taking a “selfie” with other world leaders recently!

As great as cell phones are, the problem is that some people—especially teens—aren’t using them very wisely. Take a cruise around Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram sometime and you may be surprised by what you find. The things that are being posted to these sites are enough that the child of God should be embarrassed! I saw an example of this recently that was so bad that it got me to thinking, “Some people need to arrest their cell phones.”

               Some of you may know that I’m a former police officer. When I placed someone under arrest, I was required to read someone what was called their “Miranda Rights,” that went like this:

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you at no cost to you. If you decide to answer any questions now, you can stop at any time. Do you understand your rights as I have read them to you?”

               What would happen if people started arresting their phones and started applying a “Miranda Rights for Cell Phone Use”? It could go something like this.

“You Have the Right to Remain Silent”

               Unfortunately, along with the convenience of instant communication that cell phones bring us is the ability to instantly respond while we’re still mad. Think about it, how many texts have you sent to someone in anger that you wish you could take back later? And while you can apologize for it later and the person can forgive you, that doesn’t address the underlying problem and what caused the hurt in the first place. So why not do yourself a favor and not argue via text or instant message? Remember that even though it may take you half a second to fire off a few unchristian words out of anger, the other person can post them to any number of social media websites and hurt your reputation for years to come. That quick retort you may type right now could come back to haunt you later down the road. “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”-Proverbs 15:1

“Anything You Say (or, More Specifically, Send) Can and Will Be Used Against You”

               Look, there’s no easy way to go about talking about this but we’ve got to. Young people are under and immense amount of pressure to take and send photos of themselves to others that they otherwise wouldn’t dream of. Yet, because the process is done and over with so fast with the cell phone, there is less time for them to think about the consequences of their actions. You wouldn’t dream of going to a professional photographer, stripping down, and allowing them to take those same photos of you to send to others, would you? So can you explain to me the difference? I can hear you now, “He’s my boyfriend! He wouldn’t show anyone! He loves me!” I wonder if every other girl who has had been humiliated by having personal photographs of herself posted online ever thought that, too? Nah, surely not! Right? I mean, ….Right?!?! A good rule of thumb is that anything and everything that you send from your phone can and will end up posted on the internet. However, you get to decide what leaves your phone.

 Ladies, if he truly loves you, he’ll understand your stand for Godly modesty at all times. But, you also need to protect yourself now in case there comes a day when he decides he no longer loves you or your stand for Godly principles. No man has a right to see you unclothed except your husband (notice I didn't say "future husband"), and your husband should be someone who protects your honor-not defames it. Notice that 1 Timothy 2:9-10 says that a woman’s modesty is a reflection of her godliness, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” Does he support your Godliness, even through digital means? If not, boot him. Because at least God won’t ask you to denigrate yourself to make Himself feel better.

“You Have the Right to Parental Guidance At Any Time. If You Cannot Ask For Parental Guidance, It Will Surely Be Provided Whether You Like It or Not”

               Look, it may not seem like it at the time, but the best friends you can have in any tempting moment is your parents. No two people want more for you than your parents. Though you may not agree with me now, just trust me on this. You’ll agree with me when you’re older, and not as smart as you are now. So if you’re feeling pressured to use your phone in a manner that would bring shame to you, your family, the church, or Christ, then the best thing you can do is simply go sit with them! Two things will undoubtedly happen:

               1. Whatever temptation existed will instantly dissipate at first sight of your parents, or;

               2. Whatever you’re angry about will instantly be replaced by anger toward your parents.

Look, whether you’re arguing with someone, visiting sites a Christian has no business visiting, or feeling pressured to send photos to someone you know you shouldn’t, the answer is simple and all the same: Simply put the phone down and go spend time with your family! And trust me, it’s better that you take this pre-emptive measure now rather than have your family find out about it later and provide said guidance for you against your will!
To the parents, many of you are getting your children cell phones at an increasingly younger and younger age, and that’s fine! Each family must make that decision for themselves and decide what is best for them. However, I would encourage you to closely monitor your child’s full use of their phone—not just the number of texts sent. Might I suggest that perhaps it’s time we teach our children to exercise their “Miranda Rights for Cell Phones?” 

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