Friday, January 12, 2007

YOUR SPACE OR MINE?


I know that there are many adults who view myspace as either something to be extremely cautious of (and i would agree that safety is to be practiced when using any online community) or they feel its something that teenagers ought to stay clear of.

Gavin and I both use MySpace as a way to engage the students we are in ministry and relationship with (and we both actually have peers who use myspace, as well). He and I have spent a bit of time trying to help unpack a lot of the fear the revolves around online communities for teenagers. I came across this advice column from Christianity Today tonight and as a youth pastor thought it was an interesting post. I find the youth pastor answering the question to still be responding out of fear a bit too much, but on the other hand his advice also is really good as he gives practical tips on how to stay safe online.

What are your thoughts on MySpace and other online communities- good, bad, destructive, valuable, etc.... etc.... ?

Christian Bands in MySpace? Answer by Mark Matlock

Q. My youth pastor has told us to be careful with MySpace. He made it sound like it's a really bad place. But since then, I have noticed all my favorite Christian bands have MySpace pages. If it's so bad, why are they on there? How do I handle MySpace?

A. Many bands use MySpace Music to get the word out about their music. In fact, for Christian bands it can be a witnessing tool. That's not necessarily a bad thing—what's bad is how some people use MySpace.

Jesus said our words reveal our hearts (Luke 6:45). They show what we're really about. And people hiding behind keyboards are even more likely to reveal their true character. The result is that you can find lots of sexual perversion, bad mouthing, lying, and disturbing attitudes on MySpace. It's no wonder many parents I know tell their kids to stay away. (And if yours do, Ephesians 6:1 pretty much ends the discussion.)

If you visit these sites, think about just listening to tunes and reading the band's info—and avoiding the friend comments. Don't hang out on pages that could cause you to lower your moral standards.

If you have a MySpace page, be extremely careful with how much info you give about yourself. Ask yourself: Could someone track me down from something I've said? Do not assume that only other teens will see what you post. Don't post photos of yourself. Also, ask some strong Christians you know in real life to check up on how you're representing Jesus there.

Mark is the founder of WisdomWorks Ministries. You can learn about his conferences, read movie and music reviews, and more at planetwisdom.com.


November/December 2006, Vol. 65, No. 4, Page 24

6 comments:

Jonathan said...

Another point to emphasize is that Myspace users must be at least 14. Some middle school youth in my church have created myspace pages, and when I have stumbled across them, I informed the parents, and the parents made them take it off. I hated to play the role of "internet police," but I thought it was the only responsible thing to do.

St.Phransus said...

good point, thanks jonathan.

John said...

I just started a MySpace account a few days ago to better connect with my youth group.

My pastor has used MySpace to check up on youths' gang connections to good effect, as well as maintain relationships beyond Wednesday nights.

There's no danger to MySpace or a blog, so as long as you assume that the whole world is reading it.

Tim said...

I never used MySpace just because of all the sexually oriented advertising. However, I did subscribe to my youth group kids' RSS feed of MySpace blogs and such to keep up with them. As Facebook beings to be the new trend, however, I'm very grateful that most of the advertising there seems to be pretty clean. The privacy controls are excellent, too.

St.Phransus said...

yes, my kids the other night at youth group confirmed in a "what's hot in 2007" that facebook will gain some momentum this year. i too really like it now that i am using it more.

shalom,
phransus

Joshua said...

I use Myspace, too. It has offered some unique opportunities to extend conversations from youth meetings.

For example, one student sent around a bulletin about MLK and God's dreams after this Sunday's meeting. She took the time to look up a few things online that corresponded with the theme of the meeting (showing King's young age - 27 at the time of the bus boycott, his passion, the influence his faith and Scripture had on his platform, nonviolence, etc.). And she sent around this great bulletin that spurred a back and forth conversation with me.

Just one example.

I've also already had one of the "defend Myspace use" battles; fortunately, I have the support of the church leadership and I'm not left on my own.

Peace,
Josh