Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Why You Won't See My Face on Facebook

Facebook and Twitter: if you not on both, you're on one or the other. Do know someone not on them? I can think of a very few people who might not have Facebooks. Other than my husband, I can only positively know of one other family who's not on them: my pastor's family. So what's the big deal, right? My honest opinion is that the entire concept of Facebook is that it would be a lot of fun! Great concept: a one-stop shop to keep up with anyone you've ever known. Is your sixth grade science teacher still teaching? *gasp* You check Facebook and you see that she is, and she hasn't changed her hair style since 1987. What about the kids that you used to ride bikes all over the neighborhood with as a child? Facebook. College study group meetings? Facebook. Want to find out about your favorite author? Facebook. The possibilities are nearly endless.

My personal experience is not with Facebook. I have to begin by saying that I have never had a Facebook account. I have, however, had a MySpace. MySpace had all the abilities listed above. It was a one stop spot to keep up with people I haven't seen in 20 years and people that I just talked to on the phone. And it was really fun ... for a while.

So, I browsed around MySpace finding tons of people that I know or once knew. The first problem I came to was the profile pics. Why do people want to post pictures of themselves scantily dressed or engaged in immorality? Furthermore, why do they think that I want to see it? Yet, I continued to dig through the rubbish to connect with my "friends." Because of many inappropriate things I was needing to shield the computer screen from my kids.

Here's a parenthetical thought: A rule at our house is that if it's not appropriate for the children, it's not appropriate for adults. We must guard our own hearts just as we guard the hearts of those God has entrusted us with. Never will we get to a point to where we can "handle" a certain amount of filth. If the profile pics were not good for the kids, they were not good for me either. As a keeper (guardian) at home, I should have never logged into MySpace again. But I was already too hooked. This networking thing was a whole lot of fun!

As I was list of "friends" grew. (Yes, I am purposefully and correctly using quotes) I didn't realize how many people I knew. I was friends with some of them honestly, butdidn't I feel popular with the paltry little mock-relationships?
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. -1 John 2:16

Now, at least on MySpace you had the ability to send out bulletins to all your friends. The people with whom I had networked, my "friends, " we not all necessarily people that I truly considered a friend. The people that I can call true and actual friends, excluding family, is probably less than I can count on one hand. The people that were my "friends" were just people who I knew in some manner. Some of those people were lost. Some were saved and not Christ-like. The bulletins that I would sometimes get would be rather tasteless; sometimes they were downright raunchy. The ones that were obviously filthy I would avoid. Others you would have to read to the end to find the vulgarity. The problem with it was that once you'd read the nasty bulletin, the damage to the mind was already done.

My next endeavor was to try to clean up my friends list. Maybe I should limit my friends to my real life friends. Well, that just didn't make sense because I just don't have a lot of true friends! Then I reasoned within my self to conclude that if anyone sent out an ugly bulletin, comment, etc. then I should remove them as a friend. That too posed a problem. I say this not out of piety, but sometimes the things that I see as unbecoming to holiness others see as acceptable. I didn't want to alienate people that I knew that were lost, and I especially didn't want to come off as a hypocrite or "holier-than-thou-art." Furthermore, what of the people who were being advertised as my friends? Most of their MySpace pages had unholy images, music, and language. These people were my friends.

Proverbs 13:20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

True, most of these people were not close company of mine, but I was allowing wickedness to pervade my mind and home. This was the main drive behind why my husband and I left social networking.

Another thought: You have to very naive to deny that numerous homes and marriages have been destroyed due to a friendship which began innocent and subtle, then grew and eventually overtook the bounds of what is good and right. This was not a problem in our home, but we know that the spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak. Why would I want to place myself in a place for possible temptation?

Maybe your children are social networking. Facebook is a great harbor for sexual predators. And why not, more than likely they will never get caught. You say you monitor their activity. I challenge that you cannot fully monitor it. You watch every click they make? You sit by them every minute they spend at the computer? Kids can by sly and subtle and can even have an account that you know nothing about.

Have you ever heard of an MMORPG? I have had some dealings with them. Some have likened Facebook to an MMORPG. Why? Because on Facebook you can be whomever you want.

We have had multiple incidences at our house where we received a phone call along the lines of, "Do you know what ______ said on her Facebook?" Sometimes people take the gossip approach; sometimes they take the "spiritual" approach: "I know he's your youth and I know preach against this sort of thing, but I thought you needed to know what was said on Facebook." My husband, in his husbandly wisdom, easily combats this nonsense with, "How do you know he said it?" The person replied confusedly, " was posted right there on his Facebook." Jeremy: "And...? You didn't hear it come from his mouth. You didn't see his handwriting. What if his account was hacked? What if someone logged onto his account without him knowing? Why don't you just settle it all with a simple call or email?" That turns people off real quick-like.

It's said that Facebook is social, but I contend that it is antisocial. Just with so many other things today it gives a shallow fa├žade of connection with others. You can have empty connections that make you feel like you have friends. When in fact, you have no idea about the lives of your "friends." What became so wrong with having original conversation with people? What about an email? What happened to the days of "Hey? How's life's treating you?"

If you have a Facebook, that is certainly your prerogative. Of course, I don't think that if you have a Facebook that you're a wicked sinner and all that jazz. My convictions are my own as I walk in my Christian life and what you do is your own business. But I see this phenomenon, this FAD, and I see how it is destroying and hurting so many and thought I'd share my thoughts on it.

I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. -1Timothy 5:14
My brother also wrote up his thoughts on social networking. Scroll down to the subtitle "Likes and Dislikes in the 'New Internet'"
I'm hesitant to link to this YouTube video because there is come brief, written, not spoken profanity. It is made to be comical, but it also has a lot of truth to it. Watch it if you want, but ye be warned.

6 edifying expressions:

Kimberly said...

Nope, don't do facebook, and like you I never will. Our oldest daughter is- and she didn't interestingly enough when while she was away working at a Bible camp in another state- she's 21; I don't have much say. The younger four will not be on facebook, they don't have an email and they don't have cell phones. We've been given those certain stuffed animals that are web based- we tossed the "code" tags; made the giver upset- as we were being "oversheltering" and "unrealistic". I've heard parents justify being on fb, by saying, I'm doing it to keep tabs on my child. Um, don't allow your child to go online! This is a great post- even blogging can be weird as you are talking with people you've never met.

Deborah said...

I have FB, but it's limited to family members(one of which I had to block because of language), a couple of aquaintances got on there before I figured out I don't HAVE to add someone just because they send a request! I also have the two birthmom's of my adopted son's on there. I seldom post, except when my Dad was in the was a great way for us to keep each other updated on his condition. Aside from that...I really don't have much use for it!

Tami said...

i have thought of leaving facebook for a long time and yet for some reason i stay. i am reconsidering that idea- it really is a time waster and like you said can be dangerous. i am friends with hundreds of people and yet really i have only met a handful of them. how can they be my friend if i have never met them? and yet i both give and receive encouragement too from these friends so i just don't know which way i will decide. God has been silent.
we have the same rule as you- if it's not ok for the children it's not ok for us!

Sharon said...

First of all, we have held that same belief in our house as well...not fit for the kids, not fit for adults either.

Yes, I got on FB and found many old school friends and even family members that I rarely, if ever, see or have contact with. I just recently made the decision to close my account and my last status to everyone is that if they want to really stay in touch, please copy my email as I am closing the FB account effective March 1st. I have had to hide many of them due to language I do not care to see and put in my mind. You have hit the nail on the head with this post and I am SO glad you posted it!!! VERY GOOD!!!!

mummynat said...

I totally agree that each is to their own, and each is to follow what is right for them.

But I will also have to add, that I once upon a time had myspace, I must have visited only a couple of times before never going back. I was completely offended by it's vulgarity.
Facebook is indeed leagues apart from what myspace ever could be. My eldest daughter also has a facebook. I am at ease with this, as their is a great deal of privacy linked with it. You can have it limited. You can keep control. You can even have friends, but hide their 'bulletins', and you can hide your whole page from people that do not know you. I use it within my family and friends to share information and see and speak with them when i wouldn't otherwise.
As far as networking goes, i think this is the most controlled out there.
Everyone is free to choose their own paths, but then i do not have religion to effect what i can and will experience, i can choose this from my own heart and values, so this is easy for me to say.

I think i should stop there. my view as always will be a long distance from others that reply to your blog. I know the repercussions of speaking my mind when people to not wish to hear.

Glad you and all your beautiful children are well elle :)

Elizabeth said...

Lots of great input here ladies. I appreciate the participation in discussion. :-)