One thing I have covenanted to do for myself and for my marriage is to NEVER chat (IM) with or private message back and forth with the opposite sex. Couples that get involved in such things, destroy the trust that has been built in the relationship. That is the exact opposite of what you want to do. You want to BUILD trust in a marriage, not do things to eat away at it or ultimately destroy it. Married people who chat with the opposite sex are teetering on the brink of the destruction of their marriage. Even if it is a "harmless" friendship. We've all heard the horror stories of men and women alike.... "they met someone online." God have mercy!
Also, am I the only one that is troubled over the numbers of Christian young people using Myspace? Now before anybody maligns me for this, I know many responsible adults use facebook to keep up with family members and old friends who may have moved away. I'm not talking about that sort of thing. I'm mainly talking about Christian young people who get online, join Myspace, and then post uncensored pictures and chat about everything under the sun, all without parental control. They post pictures of themselves with their boyfriend or girlfriend in compromising ways. Ways that damage their testimony with others who might happen on their page.
I asked a young person the other day, "do you guys ever talk about anything spiritual on there? Do you kids that all go to the same church ever say anything about the Lord? Or do you ever say anything to help these other kids in your youth group in their walk with the Lord?" I'm not saying I think they need to get on their and have online Bible studies with each other. I'm all for having fun - good grief, we do our fair share in this family, that's for sure! But from what I've seen of it, most young people on there are just horsing around and playing on the edge of sin. I just don't think the kids really put any thought into the fact that many people will see pictures that they post, and read things that they talk about. And the effects can be far more reaching than they realize.
I don't know.... I just find it all extremely troubling these days.
So what can Christians do to protect themselves while surfing the worldwide web? Here is an excellent safe traveling guide for traveling the super highway.
RULES FOR THE ROAD
Safe Traveling Guide
For The Super Highway
PROTECTING YOUR TESTIMONY
Simple, but helpful safeguards for protecting your heart and mind from diverting from a healthy Christian Focus.
- Open Door Policy Keep the computer in a public place with the screen facing the doorway or other viewers. If needed, commit to never using internet while alone in a room.
- Use Filtering Services Subscribe to a reliable filtering service that supports your own personal values.
- Be Accountable Request the help of a friend to monitor your activity regularly checking your web history to personally hold you accountable.
- Use Wisdom Be committed to use the Internet for only constructive and helpful ways that will not interfere or weaken your spiritual journey with Christ.
PROTECTING YOUR EFFECTIVNESS
Safeguards to prevent Internet usage from interfering with healthy priorities and productivities of a purposeful life.
- Use Self Control Avoid all unnecessary surfing or other web activity unrelated to your task at hand while on the job, or working on a specific project.
- Verify Important Information Be cautious in accepting Internet information as factual, accurate, and reliable.
- Honor Legal Expectations Honor local, state and federal laws regarding communications, modification of materials, unauthorized materials or fraudulent copying.
- Be Respectful Respect the interest and guidelines of the company, church, or institution that you represent in ways that honor faithful Christian principles.
- Be A Good Steward Define and limit the amount of leisure time allowable for web activity in correlation with the primary goals of your life and standards of Christian stewardship
PROTECTING YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
Helpful ways to nurture and promote healthy relationships through Internet usage.
- Create A Schedule Work out a schedule limiting your usage to times that are most acceptable with those whom you are in close relationship.
- Know Your Contacts Block instant/personal messages from all people you do not know and do not answer unknown contacts. If you are married, do not answer instant/personal messages from members of the opposite sex.
- Watch New Relationships Be cautious and accountable to someone who cares about you should any new relationship develop through e-mail, chat rooms, or Instant Personal Messages (IMS).
- Care Deeply Find ways of helping others develop healthy standards for Internet usage who you know are using it recklessly and inappropriately.
- Review Your Activities Review your Internet and e-mail activities regularly with those whom you are in close relationship to help you be a responsible user.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10