Staying ahead of the curve

So you have the BIG idea that the Church or community needs to develop. Discuss that idea here. Maybe you just want to make a suggestion on a new forum topic. Let us know.
maethows
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Staying ahead of the curve

Postby maethows » Thu Nov 08, 2007 6:52 am

During a couple of our leadership meetings last Sunday, we were discussing the pornography and unchastity epidemic. One point that was brought up was that of parents and priesthood leaders being behind the curve when it comes to current trends in youth interests and activities. Many of those that are currently in their twenties grew up when they were the only people in their families and wards that knew anything about computers, dialup bulletin boards (anyone remember those?), and the growing Internet. Pornography has historically been an early adopter of technology – well, so are the youth.

Now we're at a point where parents and priesthood leaders are aware of the prevalence of pornographic material on the Internet. Wonderful counsel has been given and this issue is on the forefront of many people's minds – especially those bishops and stake presidents that continue to counsel increasing numbers of individuals with such problems.

But what about new trends in youth interests and activities? We have finally caught up with the last decade, but what about the present and the future?

Some new trends in technology and youth culture include cell-phones (with multimedia capabilities and text messaging) and social networking sites such as MySpace and FaceBook. Well, anyone that has perused social networking sites can tell you that there is a lot of questionable and damaging activity going on there. There are reports that youth are using the camera functionality on their cell-phones inappropriately and sending the results to one another.

What is to be done? We can't just get rid of the Internet and cell-phones. The youth want ways to communicate, share with one another, and express themselves – not bad desires in reality. So, to scratch the itches the youth have, do you think the Church can provide functional and safe alternatives to some of these trends?

What about a Church social-networking site? To become a user you have to have a membership number and confirmation date. This would help validate the ages and genders of those that use the site (child predators, etc.). There could be a link off each page to report inappropriate content or activity as determined by Church standards and site policy. Non-members could join in as well if the account is validated by a bishop or stake president – thus providing a filter and age/gender/etc. validation. The contents of youth pages could be filtered from anonymous access to help protect them further from online predators – but the visibility of adult pages could be controlled by the users themselves. Beyond this, let them be creative and give them the ability to customize their pages, add multimedia, etc.

I'm sorry, but I don't have any ideas for protecting the youth from themselves when it comes to cell-phones. Any suggestions?

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WelchTC
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Postby WelchTC » Thu Nov 08, 2007 7:25 am

You have hit upon why it takes us at the Church so long to figure out a strategy. The technology changes so rapidly. It is hard to understand where the Church should play a role and where it should not. However, I do think that there are many things that parents can do. I am encouraged by some trends from the cell phone industry that allow monitoring or blocking cell phone access at different times or to different locations. Also, some services now offer GPS tracking and notification. For example, parents can set up "zones" via a web interface and as the child moves from zones to zones, the parent receives an SMS or email of where the child is.

Tom

maethows
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Postby maethows » Fri Nov 09, 2007 2:58 pm

I agree - it's hard enough for those of us in the industry to keep up, I have no idea what it must feel like for everyone else. And that brings me to what you said about there being things parents can do. You are right. There are some things parents can do, and parents can't neglect their responsibility. But solutions are not immediately apparent to the parents though. Parents want to do something, but more times than not, they feel helpless. That's why I think it would be nice if the Church could find a way to:

1. Keep parents aware of current trends, steps they can take, signs to watch for, etc.
-and-
2. Provide safe and appealing alternatives for the youth.

Since technology is so dynamic, the Church's approach to both of the above has to be dynamic as well. As new trends and dangers arise, it would be great if the Church was right there, ready to provide parents and local leaders with what they need. I have read the information provided on the site about pornography, articles given by GAs, etc., but it doesn't seem like the members around us are aware of what is there (sorry, I know I'm delving into a content discussion, so I'll end with that).

The idea of providing safe alternatives to dangerous activities isn't at all new. Think of them as the electronic equivalent of after-school programs.

Eric Werny-p40
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It Comes Down To The Parents

Postby Eric Werny-p40 » Fri Nov 09, 2007 9:29 pm

A Nationally known insurance company has been offering free of charge, video monitoring equipment
to be installed in cars, to monitor the driving habits of teen drivers. The local agent told me that he has
really pushed it, but so far he has had no takers. NOT ONE INSTALL!!

Could it be that the parents don't want their poor driving e-mailed to themselves? Show me not my sins to my children.

Here is my take on this:

The Church provides the guide, the direction and the way. Every tool of life has been provided But members are not paying attention. Each member has his own version - i.e. The Church of Jenny Jones of Latter-day Saints. The members have taken Christ out of their lives, and they worry to much about what the world thinks.

How many members can recite all the books of the Bible and Book of Mormon?
What about our Articles of Faith?
Can we name all of the twelve?

If the members of the Church would do the simple things, and just live the basics, things would be so
different. We're worried about not looking bad in to our peer, that we have left the Christ centered life behind. So what if your had a bad hair day..don't worry what they think, get back on track and stay where you need to be, at your Masters feet.

Parents need to take their families back, and forget trusting the ARM OF FLESH.

Thanks for allowing me my weekly Rant.

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mkmurray
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Postby mkmurray » Fri Nov 09, 2007 11:17 pm

Your points about individual (and family) responsibility are very valid. I just want to remind everyone to keep the focus of the thread on technology.

It's one thing to mention that a specific application of technology might be unnecessary or ineffectual. But I don't want this thread to wander into a discussion of doctrine, policy, or moral issues.

Thanks.

maethows
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Postby maethows » Tue Nov 13, 2007 11:58 pm

mkmurray wrote:Your points about individual (and family) responsibility are very valid. I just want to remind everyone to keep the focus of the thread on technology.

It's one thing to mention that a specific application of technology might be unnecessary or ineffectual. But I don't want this thread to wander into a discussion of doctrine, policy, or moral issues.

Thanks.


Right. So, back to the original problem: Would the development of safe alternatives to current trends (i.e., a Church-developed social networking site) be unnecessary or ineffectual?

aaron.mosiah.curtis
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A few questions on social networking

Postby aaron.mosiah.curtis » Wed Nov 14, 2007 5:37 am

mfellows wrote:Right. So, back to the original problem: Would the development of safe alternatives to current trends (i.e., a Church-developed social networking site) be unnecessary or ineffectual?



1) if the Church developed a social networking platform, would this be universally open, or would it be restricted to members of the Church?

2) How do you propose the Church monitor the content to make sure that it meets the standards outlined in For the Strength of Youth?

3) How would you promote adoption of such a service, to overcome some of the challenges the local unit web sites have faced?

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thedqs
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Postby thedqs » Sat Nov 17, 2007 8:06 am

My own personal view and answers

Aaron wrote:1) if the Church developed a social networking platform, would this be universally open, or would it be restricted to members of the Church? ?


Restricted to members, mainly because the information is all verifiable and you limit each member to one account.

Aaron wrote:2) How do you propose the Church monitor the content to make sure that it meets the standards outlined in For the Strength of Youth??


This is the hardest part since as it grows you'd need more moderators if you would go with that form of moderating, but you could also get the community to help enforce it among the members. Members here on the forums catch most of the issues before the moderators can even log on. Have the community help.

Aaron wrote:3) How would you promote adoption of such a service, to overcome some of the challenges the local unit web sites have faced?


Seems to be that social networking is a power unto itself to draw in the crowds, the problem would be more of how do you limit the addiction to the site and sponsor in-person connections and relationships.
- David

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Postby Emporikos-p40 » Sat Nov 17, 2007 4:12 pm

I think that more people need to be educated on how to block those kinds of things out via firewalls, router configurations, etc. The more people learn how to avoid things, the better chances we have to avoid them.

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Falling behind

Postby The_Earl » Tue Nov 20, 2007 1:38 am

I think trying to find a technical solution to this problem is a red-herring.

You are behind the curve.

You will always be behind the curve.

The simple answer is just to keep your youth accountable for what they do. This does not matter if they are using their cell phone or myspace page, or if they are meeting strange people at the mall, or passing notes in class.

I run my own firewall at my house. I have debated setting up a proxy server, or a logging server to keep track of the web and IM traffic on my home network. I have come to the conclusion that I will never be able to keep up with it all. I could also follow my children around and do background checks on all of their friends and friends parents. At what point do I stop?

I HAVE to be able to trust my children outside of my immediate control. I HAVE to be able to know what is going on with their lives so I can help them in a situation they can't handle themselves. I simply cannot afford to try to build a wall around them because eventually they will have to go outside the wall.

When I was a teen, my parents were very specific about knowing where I was, and who I was with. They also had me check in with them periodically when I was away from home. I was not allowed to go to certain places alone. I was not allowed to associate with random people. I was not to tell strangers where I lived, or that I was home alone answering the phone. Why is the world so different today? Why do we distinguish between friends that we talk to on the computer, and friends we talk to at school?
Are cell phones really that different than the old-school landline? Do you know who your kids sent pen-pal letters to?

I have a longer rant that has lots of scriptural references and whatnot, but I tried to keep it this side of the line.

Thanks
The Earl


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