One of my friends in ministry, Kristie Vosper just posted something fascintating, titled, My Space…and Unintentional Teenage Prostitution.
Like anything good, like internet technology, there is also a downside. And I think that sometimes, internet group sites can fall into either category. I have a lot of students on My Space, and I at one time had a slot on My Space as well. Why not? Seemed like a good way to connect with people and broaden my social circle, or sphere of influence. But I became overwhelmed with how much work it was to keep it up. And I was more concerned about who I was connecting myself with. I don’t mind being connected to all kinds of different people, but it was becoming impossible to police. Someone could have gone to my space, and been a few clicks away from an almost pornographic photo that someone had linked to their site. And eventually, the downsides totally outweighed any benefit. I also found that it had a lot of other harmful and downsides to it that I won’t go into further detail at all here. But I eventually pulled the plug.
I have plenty of other pastor friends who have a space now as well. And more often than not, I do now know of pastors who make it a priority everyday to go to some of their student’s spaces to see what they are up to. Some come back impressed, others have left pretty disturbed at what they were reading and seeing, and wondering about the lack of congruence between someone, and how they present themselves online, versus how they present themselves in person. Is either one more real than the other? Are they two different sides to the same person? I also know of a few parents who came across the kid’s space, eventually leading to a confrontation.
And now it seems that employers are visiting My Space sites to see just who is working for them. I was informed by one person who I believe knows what they are talking about, that in the near future, an employer will pull up a database that will show everything a person has done online, and will be able to make a decision to hire, or not hire, based upon that. Something to think about.
I have a lot of concerns about this lack of congruence between online and in person behavior and representation. But I can’t go into it right now. But I am also someone who is reaping the benefits of online technology, and I hope to use it wisely, though I’m sure I have not always. And it doesn’t stop with My Space, the list is endless, from Facebook, to Campus Hook. It used to be that parents had to wonder and speculate about their kids, not anymore. Just hop online, and you might find out more than you want to know.
Kristie is concerned about many other things, and I recommend you read her post. But I will say that some of these communities have definitely increased the sphere of sexual promiscuity. You no longer have to wonder if you can hook up with someone…all you need to do is go online, find them…and that’s about it.
And the list is endless…from sexual promiscuity, claims such as Kristie’s, to identity theft and fraud, there are a lot of things to be worried about, amidst the upsides.