When Matthew turned 13 last October I allowed him to join FaceBook. Our church had recently talked Todd and I into joining and Matthew was excited about this social networking tool. We explained the rules carefully…only people that we know personally can be accepted as friends. In the beginning his only friends were family, our church and pastors that we know around the country. Then it expanded to kids from his school in Alabama, neighbors, other people in fulltime ministry or just folks we knew from churches where we had ministered. For a while we were quite pleased that he was reading from some great folks…people who were passionate followers of Christ. Personally I have enjoyed catching up with folks I have known and seeing how the Lord has been working in their lives. I loved FaceBook! I also loved the closer connection with folks in our church. Wow! This is so great!
In no time at all kids his current school found out he was on FB and requested to be friends. Matthew has always been shy and introverted and he was happy that so many kids wanted to be “friends” with him. Every day he had multiple friend requests and his number skyrocketed to 150 friends. What also grew was the time I needed to monitor his FB. When I go on his FB I view the info page of each friend, postings and what their friends post. My reaction was soon shock and then it was a Help Lord prayer. So many of these kids indicated on their info page that they attended a Christian school, were believers and loved God. Yet their postings were the opposite of what one would expect…ungodly language and behavior. Written out for everyone to see were curse words, talk about sex, disrespect toward parents and teachers, cyber bullying to other kids, etc. The kids were even bold enough to curse at my son and write hateful language on his wall. During this 2 week period that I was awakened to the full reality of the situation my son was in, one of the kids talked my son into giving her his password. I can’t believe he did it but he trusted her to help him out with something. What she did was go into his address list and choose about 15 people at random to post obscene messages to. The people chosen were a few from our church and other pastors. All of this happened within a 2 week period. Todd and I quickly went into damage control mode and contacted each person to share what had happened. We also sat Matthew down and gave him an ultimatum…disengage the whole FB site or block every kid that was a bad influence. We also explained why we had made this decision. He chose to block 58 kids.
Matthew was allowed to keep some friends from school. Those that post typical teen stuff about school, movies, pets, sports, family night, etc. It is back to being a more wholesome site but I still monitor it. And he was allowed to keep all of his friends from Alabama.
Do not be misled, bad company corrupts good character. I Corinthians 15:33