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Yeah, it's unfortunate that these community sites are being equated with the notion of "blogs" in general. There is a real risk of the baby being thrown out with the bathwater isn't there? There has been a lot of focus on these community site and out youth in our stake. We posted on it here and here.

I think it is imperitive to warn of the dangers of the internet, including blogging. Parents should be shown what is out there on the net. But, as they say, a little knowledge is more dangerous than a lot of knowledge (do they say that?). Parents should also be shown that there are good things on the internet.

myspace is definitely filled with crappy stuff, i'm afraid for any youth that go on there. My 20 year old sister in law has a myspace account and it is linked to a friend of hers, who just came out of the closet. He now has all kinds of g@y p0rn links on his site.

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I think this article is a little over the top. But an interesting question - what happens to the bloggernacle once one of the GA's recommend not participating in such things?

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Speaking of the dangers of the internet :-) Sorry about that.

I honestly doubt that there will be a recomendation not to blog. There will probably be a caution not to blog. Even if there were such a recomendation, I'm not sure that it will effect the 'nacle that much. There will be a few users that will leave (and a few rebels that will join :-)).

I meant to say that there will probably be a caution about the dangers of the internet and perhaps a caution about blogging. Not a "caution not to blog".

In our stake a while back, there was a special combined meeting in the wards to warn parents about "blogging". Specifically focusing on MySpace and revealing personal info, blogging was still warned against. They mentioned it was from the regional authority I think.,

Interesting.

I would be surprised to see any specific mention of blogs (though The Brethren don't consult with me on General Conference topics). The problem with getting that specific is clear from how many equate internet sites like My Space with blogs. The 'nacle is far from that type of experience.

We are taught that by their fruits we will know them, i.e., whether good or evil. We're also taught to seek after anything that is virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy. That includes a great deal of the internet including blog sites.

We've gone from D & C Section 98's prohibition of hot drinks, to interpretations that include anything caffeinated, or even chocolate. We certainly don't need to open up the "blog" debate as well.

Bloggernacle != MySpace

I don't think the linked article is too over the top. It's pretty grim, but given the number of parents who I suspect have no idea what their kids are really doing online, and the number of kids who have no idea who they're talking to online, it's an appropriate tone to take.

I don't ever go to the Meridian site; I'm afraid my head will explode, and then who would be here when Little Boy got home from school?

Anybody care to summarize, please?

I can appreciate the angst that people experience wrt the internet (i.e. it's not just internet users that are experiencing angst as the article suggests). Circles of influence become almost random and loss of influence/control is real. At the same time, we're exposed to ideas and people that can enrich us far beyond pre-internet opportunites.

Nevertheless, the discussion of blogs and other forms of technology-assisted networking is going to be dealt with by the church as it becomes increasingly a real part of its members lives. It will have to be...because, as Pres. Bush has said: the oceans are no longer large enough to protect us.

The saints have historically retreated from the world when outside forces threated to assimilate the church. Railroads bridged the intial physical gap...and now the internet is bridging the mental gap. Information can now flow freely into the minds of individual members. The only question is...what will the saints do next to assure survival?

I feel we need to protect the children from this lure just like you need to screen your site of trolls.

It is a simple matter of control and it is the parents responsibility to monitor where their children go on the web or in the material world.

In our home the PC is in the living room where the monitor can be seen by anyone walking by. It is a simple safe guard that helps the children not to go where they know we wouldn't want.

As for the Church I think they can just encourage parents to be knowledgeable of this new world and be good parents. We don't need a cop on every corner of our life.

Ann, since I want your child to have a mama to come home to, the article is written by a law enforcement officer who gives some good, strong, tough-love parenting advice about protecting kids from sexual predators and online bullying, etc. But he heavily peppers that advice with LDSisms about "the Adversary" (he who shall not be named), and he never mentions any beneficial aspects of blogging.

At first I was defensive, then I realized that this article was referring specifically to adolescent blogs. I think there could be a huge danger to kids, in many ways.

At first I thought they were referring to us as liars and that put my back up.

But for kids, if I were/was a parent of a teenager blogging, I'd be right there over his shoulder every step of the way.

It could do for kids the same thing it does for me, validate and stimulate intellect, entertain and create a sense of belonging. But boy, it could so go the other way.

How do you convince the members and leaders of a large conservative Christian church to take action against the dark side of the internet whose negative influence is growing at a faster rate than missionary baptisms?

If they were serious, they would actively campaign for moral issues such as the "Adult Entertainment Tax" initiative, etc.

Instead everyone in the church just sits quietly on their duff while the darkside grows in leaps and bounds.

2006 will see not one but two new evils go unchallenged - chat rooms and ipod video streaming.

http://eagletroop.blogspot.com

I don't think the article is "over the top" at all. We keep talking about how rape and sexual abuse is so pervasive in our society, and then we're unwilling to consider that, once again, the criminals may be the most cutting edge folks out there?

Sorry, but this seems a little naive to me. I absolutely agree with everything the article said. Teenagers are venturing out into the wide world complete with their openess to knew ways of doing things, fearless sense of engagement, and unassailable belief that they are indestructible.

They are prime targets for opportunists.

I have to admit, that I never read a "personal experience" posted on the bloggernacle, without a small degree of skepticism.

Whether its a young lady talking about her abusive uncle, a guy talking about his horrible family, or someone sharing a intensely spiritual experience, I always have to wonder: Who is this person really? Why are they telling me this? Is this story really true?

You'll hear something like this: "The other day in the Celestial Room, I received direct revelation that the church isn't true."

You know, I don't have much choice but to act as if the person is being sincere, but ... there's a very real possibility that the person is a simply bald-faced liar. There was no Celestial Room experience, no revelation, simply an immature 15 year old kid trolling for attention. I never banish this possibility from my mind.

Bannergate simply illustrated that this kind of thing can indeed happen here. But I wouldn't be surprised at all if several of the bloggernacle regulars turn out to be simply making up a lot of it.

Now, some people have more credible web identities than others. Kaimi Wenger, for example, has a direct link to his faculty profile at a US law school.

Myself however ... well, I could be anybody. I've used my full name for quite some time and posted a lot. Those who bothered to pay much attention to me (not that I would recommend it) would probably get a certain degree of consistency. Those who post regularly eventually build up a degree of trust.

But what about the odd poster who shows up on an FMH discussion on sexual abuse, says "oh you poor thing! Send me an email and I'll be happy to talk to you about it."

Hmmm.

Sympathetic ear?

Or sexual predator?

I'm fully open to the possibility of it being either.

The article's content is just plain common sense. I think we need to talk about this more.

Beijing,

I agree that there is a ton of positive to be said about blogging. After all, I've been doing a lot of it myself (it also seems like a fantastic advertising method for a small business).

But you have to agree that the conversation on the bloggernacle about blogging doesn't often bring up the stuff this guy is talking about.

I can't remember Times and Seasons ever discussing the risks that sexual predators might be trolling for fresh victims. The closest we ever came to a discussion of these issues was during bannergate.

Isn't it time for a bit of course correction?

Ah, Bannergate. Funny how often that comes up in B'nacle conversation as a cautionary note.

Seth, please note that in my short post I didn't talk down the article -- it does raise some legitimate questions. That doesn't mean people can't overreact or draw unwarranted conclusions, of course. And any discussion of the propriety of online discussion of LDS topics has to recognize positive effects as well as negative ones. Given how aggressively the Church has gone about establishing its own online presence (with LDS.org, the new Joseph Smith site, and online family history tools, just to name a few efforts), it's clear we can't simply tar the whole medium with suspicion (not that I think you were doing that, Seth).

Seth, I'm baffled by your comment addressed to me. All I did was summarize the article and mention a viewpoint that was conspicuously lacking from the article. I stated no position regarding conversations we should or shouldn't be having. Go ahead and start the discussions you feel are needed, in the appropriate places, with my blessing (not that you need it).

I think I was more addressing your remark that the officer never touches on the more beneficial aspects of blogging. I just wanted to inject some perspective that we, in this community, rarely discuss the negative aspects of blogging.

If my tone was a touch aggressive, it's probably just due to the fact that the article struck me rather forcibly. I was simply wrapped up in my own thought process and only gave the other posted comments here a cursory read. Unfortunately, I don't have enough time to read some posts as carefully as I should. I often simply respond to whatever my first impression of the post was, misguided or not.

Seth, I know what you mean -- on busy group blogs, I rarely read the whole string of comments before I throw in my two cents worth at comment #47 or something. Comment threads here at DMI aren't as long as elsewhere, but we are all busy, aren't we?

Seth, sometimes, I don't even read cursorily, I just skip them. Especially since I started at Wal-Mart.

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