Sunday, April 25, 2010

Heads Up! It's Not a Game

Well, dear readers, [if indeed the plural form is not an exaggeration here], you can't say these Percolator blog posts ['Yeah, my mom thinks she's a coffee pot...']are too homogeneous...they are probably nothing if not diverse.

So, from the innocent content of children at a symphony concert [my just-previous post], I delve once again -- briefly -- into another layer of the underbelly that constitutes our cultural milieu...which, of course, is now defined as "global."

As I have mentioned before, please feel free to take a pass on any installments here that seem just too discouraging...and this might be one.

But, as a 'prehistoric' parent who too often is left in the dust when it comes to current techno-culture, I offer this as an advance warning...or, if this is not news to you, consider providing me with additional useful information of this ilk [I mean, ick!]

I am talking about yet another internet website that is blazing new trails in the cyber-world of social networking. It's called Chatroulette [as in 'chat' and roulette wheel--isn't that charming?]and evidently has gone 'viral' in terms of its popular growth, particularly among teenagers.

The following is a copy and paste excerpt from my source here, the London Daily Mail:


"It's the fast-growing, latest fad among teenagers - a quick and easy way to communicate online with people from all over the world.

"It works literally like roulette. Users log on, press a big button labelled 'Next' and it then randomly connects you to any one of a number of people across the world currently logged on. The gimmick is the fact that all of the users have webcams - so they can 'meet' the random strangers...

"...It was the idea of 17-year-old Russian schoolboy Andrey Ternovskiy. He launched it in November last year and his business quickly grew virally from 50 users to 50,000 in its first month.

"One million people now visit it each day. However, what may have started as the innocent game of a Moscow schoolboy has quickly become a potential tailor-made portal for perverts and paedophiles - proving once again that the internet is putting the lives of our vulnerable teenagers in jeopardy.

"The images I encountered were shockingly pornographic, and it disturbs me profoundly to think that my 16-year-old has been exposed to them, even if she does have the street smarts to move swiftly on if she encounters anything unseemly...

"...The site is little more than a haven for exhibitionists and voyeurs...

"...It's not a game, it's porn, and pornography is addictive, corrosive and promotes unhealthy sexual stereotypes and behaviour for girls and boys. It undermines dignity and respect for others by making sexual intimacy into little more than a spectator sport without love, commitment or responsibility."

So, there you have it. I used to like to think that 'forewarned is forearmed'...but I'm less convinced of that now. It seems more likely that the devolution of modern culture has achieved warp speed, and it is virtually impossible to stay either warned or armed.

I'll close here with a couple fundatmental truths [at least this is how I see it]:

(1) Parental vigilance will always be tiring and discouraging; but it is never unnecessary. What is, perhaps, most unnerving is how very early in life young children can stumble upon, or be goaded into, finding these sites. In some ways, they're another extension of the 'reality show' craze, only taken to a new, more personal level--one that redefines or even negates the concept of 'intrusion.'

(2) It is more crucial than ever before (IMHO)to try to instill a biblical 'values filter' into children to help them not only own a sense of morality, but also to help them apply it, by developing appropriate criteria that, coupled with convictions, can allow them to recognize harmful, devaluing content quickly and, thus, exit such sites.

(3) Let's keep reminding each other that no matter how vast and deep the morass becomes, God is bigger still. When we belong to Him, we are indeed indwelt by His Spirit--a limitless, undefeatable source Who is both eternal and victorious.

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