To avoid the pitfalls of this growing technological frontier, Rabbi Shmuley lays down his ground rules for connecting with others online in a healthy and safe manner.
- Do not spend too much time on social networking sites. "Certainly not more than an hour a day and preferably half that," Rabbi Shmuley says.
- Do not put your whole private life online. "Just a little," he says. "Preserve some mystery."
- Do not try and be the center of attention by posting every emotion and every trivial detail of your being. "People have their own lives. So should you," Rabbi Shmuley says.
- Try and use your profiles and friends list for something good, such as highlighting charitable projects and reminding people of a friend's birthday.
"[Social networking websites] risk cultivating a narcissistic generation of shameless attention-seekers and exhibitionists. They are powerful tools, which can be used for a lot of good—like creating virtual communities and highlighting good causes. The key is to use them for virtuous ends and always in moderation."