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MySpace-What's Wrong With It?

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MySpace.com has gotten a bad reputation with all the parents in my area, but I use it to encourage my friends to do right, and to uplift God. Still, my parents made me get off and wouldn’t even check my profile beforehand. How do I tell them I haven’t been doing anything wrong on it?—Want Them to Understand, 16, MD


Shayna Answers:

Dear Want Them to Understand,

It’s difficult when parents refuse to listen, or worse, won’t check out your story before making big decisions. It’s important to think about your parents’ reasoning before you try to change their minds, though.

Although this sounds strange, your parents may not actually be afraid of what you’re doing on MySpace.com. They might be afraid of everyone else—whose negative behaviors might put you or your friends in danger.

As you know, the Internet can be a venue for people to accomplish their dark motives anonymously. Your parents probably came to their conclusion after considering 1 Peter 5:8 along with many of the horror stories that surface about social networking sites. Even though your motives are pure, your parents know how easy it is to get sidetracked from a spiritual relationship—especially if you start forming casual friendships with people you don’t know in real life.

First Corinthians 6:12 warns that not everything that’s not expressly forbidden in the Bible is beneficial for us. First Corinthians 8:9 also reminds us that we can make other people stumble spiritually by engaging in behaviors that might seem innocent to us but are questionable to others.

MySpace.com and other social networking sites have become an important part of social development. I surmise that your parents believe that John 15:19 (Jesus has “chosen you out of the world”) is a really good reason for you not to be on MySpace.com even if everyone else is.

The most important part of any parent-teenager relationship is open communication. Many of your parents’ fears may be completely irrational, but some of them probably aren’t.

The only way your parents will realize they can trust you is to develop your relationship. The more time they’re able to spend with you and judge your decision-making skills, the more likely they will be to increase their trust in you. And if they can trust your decisions when you’re with them, they’ll also trust you when you aren’t.

Stepping up and taking responsibility in other areas of your life will help this process, as will being more vocal about your spiritual relationship. Danger is all around us in everything we do, but the more your parents realize that your relationship with God is strong and sincere, the more they’ll believe you’re working from pure motives, and that you have God’s protection.

You can ask a youth pastor or family friend to plead your case for you, but you might just ask your parents what their thoughts are. Make sure you listen attentively during this conversation and make eye contact so your parents know you’re being serious.

You and your parents may be able to work out a compromise when you reach the same level of understanding about how to navigate Internet dangers. Realize that it may take your parents time to warm up to MySpace. com. Let me tell you about a social networking site that your parents probably will approve of, Insight's own, theFlow. It's one of the fastest -growing Christian teen social networking sites. Just click here www.insightmagazine.org/theFlow. In the meantime concentrate on your relationships in real life. They’re as important, if not more important, than your online ones.

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