Do you realize you’re being watched?
Turn on the evening news, or browse through social media sites and you’ll figure out pretty quickly that there are security cameras everywhere, watching our every move. It helps in catching the bad guys, and in capturing some funny moments sometimes, but it’s also more than a little disconcerting to know that there’s hardly a place in our public world where you are not in view of someone’s camera.
I was surprised to read last week of another area where we’re being watched. Did you know that when you stop to watch an advertisement on a video screen in the mall, gym or grocery store, the video screen may be watching you too? Advertisers have begun putting small cameras in video displays that provide information about who is watching and for how long. The cameras provide information to tracking software that reports data on a viewer’s gender, approximate age, and sometimes even ethnicity. In some more advanced units, the software can change ads according to the audience makeup.
Though the technology is still new, analysts say the system can accurately determine gender 85 to 90 percent of the time, and allows a company to market products directly to the viewing audience. For example, a video screen might show an ad for motorcycles to a group of men, and then switch to a minivan ad when women and children join them.
It’s called “smart advertising,” but I think Orwell understood it better when he prophetically referred to it as “Big Brother.” Either way, it makes you wonder how much farther technology will take us, and how little privacy we’ll be left with in the end.
But the reality is, even without smart cameras and security video, we are being watched, and we have been all along. Scripture reminds us that there is no place we can go, and nothing that we do–or even think–that God is not aware of. He is watching.
“O LORD, you have searched me and you know me,” David wrote in Psalm 139. “You know when I sit down and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar….Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?…If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.”
This is not to say that God is lurking behind every corner, trying to catch you doing something bad. But it does remind us that there’s nothing we do that is not in full view of God. May the Lord who shines his light into our darkness be pleased with the lives we are living for him this week.
I am praying for you, as I hope you are for me, and I look forward to seeing you Sunday.