Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Oh dear, oh dear! (I'm going to try to make a long explanation short, so bear with me.) Since serving in the stake YW presidency, it has been brought to our attention that far too many of our youth are utilizing Myspace for some inappropriate socializing. It's been super disappointing to cruise around on Myspace and check out the profiles of 13-16 year old kids, scantily clad, using horrible language, blasting music I honestly can't let my small kids hear, and posting heavily-sexually-inuendoed pics on thier sites. Despite the warnings and pleadings of leadership in our stake, many of the youths' sites go unmonitered and a lot of them are . . . RAUNCHY. Now, the hard part is that these kids are great kids. They, like all youth, have tons of promise, should be able to spread their wings, and probably just don't understand the integrity part of real life vs. the internet life. SO, I thought, what if I create a profile and ask to be listed as one of their friends? Would that give them pause to consider what they post and how they portray themself online if "sistabarlow" is listed as one of their friends? Or would they deny me access to their site and allow me to then question what would be on their site that they wouldn't want me to see? Or would they have no shame about the choices they're making, even if I don't think it should be the ones they make. This really isn't so much the question. Since creating my account and checking out the Chap Alumni 1995 page I have found many of my old schoolmates online. Most are not members of my church, don't believe in what I believe, and choose to live a different life than I do. I am totally okay with that, and, as an adult, I understand there is a difference in a mature 30 year old living his/her life and recording that on Myspace. However, if I infiltrate the youths' sites, then they are privy to my older friends' sites, some of which is innappropriate for them, or similar to the content I am trying to have them avoid. SO, am I being a hypocrite? Should I also avoid the material and by extension those older friends because of the way they live their life? I feel that option is so close-minded and un-Christ-like. Just because I don't agree or embrace with others' lifestyles, I still care for them and appreciate them and our friendships. Oh bother! I am beginning to see a new issue with Myspace besides the follies of youth online. I fear I offended an old friend by denying his site on my "friends" list, but in all honestly, it doesn't feel right to have that stuff a click away from me and what I represent. I have super fond memories with this friend, consider him true as they come, love him for who he is and want him to be happy on any path he chooses, it's just not a path I want accessed from my account. Again, does that make me a hypocrite? I dunno. Any thoughts or insights? He asked for remarks on his blog in response to my email explaining the Myspace quandry with the youth access to grown-up lifestyles, and I am curious how all the comments will reconcile.


Beth said...

You pose some interesting dilemas. "Avoid the very appearance of evil"??? We can't put our heads in the sand and pretend what's happening isn't happening in an effort to "avoid", though. I don't know. I think the best approach is to be as detailed as possible with the parents and let them follow through. How can you really police that many kids?

Nan said...

I think you should request to be friends with as many of these kids that you find on Myspace. They should be watched (and watched out for) by someone, especially if their parents are in the dark. As far as I'm concerned, it comes down to parenting. NO child should have a Myspace account without the knowledge of their parents. Children should not have unfiltered, unsupervised access to computers and the internet. NO child should have a computer in their rooms, where they can do and say anything they want online. Grown ups can do what they want and children cannot, plain and simple. You are the example, not the friends on your Myspace page. If kids link to these "questionable" friends of yours and find that they are raunchy, I would hope that you can have an open conversation to explain their right to do what they want (especially not being the same faith as you) and also emphasize, that for them it is most important to CTR! I'll get off my soap box now:) It just seems that I am constantly dissappointed by the actions of kids these days (they are doing worse things at younger ages). But honestly, I believe most of it is due to the fact that parents are not involved enough in their childrens lives and kids have way too much time on their hands. I say steer these kids in the right direction, they obviously need some guidance.