Part of what makes internet pornography such a pervasive problem is anonymity. People can observe porn regularly, with little financial burden, and they can do it from the relative privacy of their own homes. There is no awkward moment at the video store, no talking in low tones at the 7-11 counter (“No, not that one. That one.”). No one needs to know.
Enter MySpace. When the youth leaders and I sat down to talk about next year’s program, I was introduced to this beast. Most of you likely have a good deal of experience with this one (or it’s similar counterparts like Facebook). Upon learning that several of our youth frequent MySpace, I signed up for an account and waited to see what friends might come. Things like this tend not to shock me, but this one does scare me. The sexual suggestion and the possibilities of predation are simply too great.
MySpace removes the anonymity of the pornographic experience, but enables an electronic sexualized experience with multiple partners. Girls in their early teens have scantily-clad selfpics accentuating cleavage, etc. The pictures that many tend to post are of themselves while engaged in, shall we say, risky behaviors. And the comments/communication likewise tend to be rather sexually charged–in a pornographic way.
Take this little gem from the MySpace vaults. This is one of those endlessly circulating messages out there:
There’s at least 1 person on your myspace that wants to date you or sleep with you. So lets play friends w/benefits…
The rules are simple…
If you want to date the person who posts this send them a msg saying “I’m yours”
If you just want to sleep with the person and stay friends, send them a message that says “I’d hit it”
THE TWIST IS YOU HAVE 2 REPOST THIS!!!
& see who replies,
There is at least 1 person on your myspace that wants to date you.
Repost this as “friends w/ benefits”
Scared??? Absolutely. [sarcasm] This is exactly what everyone needs! Let’s have lots of meaningless sex. Let’s live out the pornographic fantasy. We can all just continue to live individualized autonomous existances and when the carnal urge hits us, we’ll just sate the beast together. It’s just sex. We can share the experience without getting ourselves bogged down with all the emotional/relational baggage that comes with it. That stuff takes more work than we’ve got time for anyway. We just don’t want to be tied down like that.
Better yet, let’s play this game. Let’s take our already sexually-supercharged lives and add a little gasoline to the mix. Let’s tell everyone we know whether or not we would like them to be our sexual drive-thru window. Why should MySpace have all the fun? Put it in an intra-office memo. Tell the guy in the cubicle next to you whether or not you’d “hit it.” [/sarcasm]
1 Cor. 7.9: “But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion.” This generation says that it’s best to be aflame with passion. This generation says that if you’re not aflame with passion there’s something wrong with you. This and subsequent generations, are being brought up to learn that boundaries are for puritanical morons.
I’m calling for self-control, but I’m also calling for parental control. Don’t just find out what your kids’ attitudes toward sex (etc.) are. Give them proper attitudes toward them. Instill healthy attitudes in them. And for their sakes, find out what their online behaviors are. You may be shocked at the double lives they’re leading.