The ‘F’ word
The hottest topic right now for YM/YW leaders has to be Facebook and other online issues. It is a tough one. My (non-member) co-worker often says his kid is not allowed online, because allowing the Internet in the house is “…like bringing the bus full of convicts from Jacktown (state prison) through my front door.” He may be right.
John 17:15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil
Leaders don’t even agree on what is appropriate. In our presidency alone, one counselor does not think it is appropriate for a their child to even have an e-mail adress. I on the other hand have a Facebook group for my Quorum and use it to communicate with the boys. A wide gulf there, but mutual respect flows freely and it is not a point of contention. I think my position is pretty reasoned, but it is also easy to support another family’s effort to keep their kids safe. I just do what I think is best, while understanding and following Parent’s directives for their individual kids. Obviously if you are reading this, you are Internet positive, and you probably come down closer to my point.
A bit of my history on this topic; in grade shool my family’s TV only got VHF (channels 2 -13). UHF was only on newer TV’s, which we did not own. The UHF channels carried all the cool shows; Brady Bunch, Lost in Space, Flintstones, 3 Stooges, Speed Racer, etc. My friends were constantly talking about those shows and I was competely left out of those conversations. Later at BYU in one of my communications classes I learned a name for what I was lacked, I didn’t have “social currency” I was not part of the conversation. I wouldn’t say it scared me for life, but it sucked. I admit that this line of reasoning could be distorted, ie– why not have the the kids smoke dope so they can talk about it with their friends would be taking it a little far, but the act of going online is not immoral in itself. In fact much good can be done online, from communicating between ward members (email is clearly now the prefered method of communication in my ward) to doing missionary work. However the danger can also not be overstated and supervision is critical.
Allowing teenagers to drive cars comes to mind. It is dangerous, physically and morally. Teens are killed in auto accidents every day, and babies are made in parked cars every night. As a society, we have decided it is worth the risk, and have a process of education and supervision to manage it. I suggest education and supervision is the best way to handle our youth’s thirst to be online.
BTW I think the single greatest mistake parents make in supervising their kids online is allowing computers in their bedroom. THAT is allowing all the convicts climb in through the bedroom window.