Online Social Networking

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Not surprisingly, the rapid proliferation of online social networking websites has presented Christians with newer, faster, and more convenient ways to keep in touch with friends and family. New technology now lets people keep in touch and increase their circle of friends around the clock. Unfortunately, the new technology can't eliminate abuse and danger associated with socializing online. The better social websites require users to approve and accept new friend requests. Still the programs will always expose individuals to information and characters that contradict Bible values and teachings. Users of the many available programs can post updates and photographs of daily activities on their accounts either by computer or telephone. For some internet social networking accounts nothing is off limits. Anything can be posted. Other networking sites have strict rules governing what is appropriate and what is not. Family, school, interests, children, and church activities are popular topics. Networking can also allow a person to extend party invitations to friends if they choose. These types of sites are open to just about anybody with an email account. Very little information is required to sign up. Keep in mind, that online social networking allows just about anyone to monitor another person's activities. That includes work, spouses, church members, and children. So, it's important to set a good example.

Although most websites are geared toward adults, some online social networking sites target teenagers. Actually, there are a few social websites that are designed for pre-teens as young as five or six years old. Christian parents concerned with what their children are doing or who they are socializing with online now have an entirely new set of problems to deal with. Obviously, some websites are not appropriate for young children and internet predators are an ongoing problem. Cyber bullying is a new term many parents may not have heard of, but is a real and serious problem. Threats and intimidation can be difficult for children to handle alone or to even talk about with their parents. But there are methods and techniques concerned parents can use to keep watch over and protect their flock. "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Sheppard shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." (1 Peter 5:2-4)

One online group concerned with protecting children has posted guidelines for parents. Common sense and oversight are important. Keep the computer the child will be using in a private area of the home so monitoring of activities will be easier. Also, the safety group recommends that parents sign up for the same online social networking sites that their children use. Parents should tell their children that they are using the website. Doing this gives responsible adults a chance to see who the child's circle of friends and casual contacts are. Young children may not know what is appropriate to post online, so parents and guardians must teach then to keep some information private. Full names and addresses should never be posted. Children many not understand that some information may be embarrassing or could expose them to unnecessary harassment, if posted. Actually, some posts could be dangerous. Better online social networking sites allow posted information to be edited and removed from the child's website. Administrators can change privacy and security settings for any account on the computer. As long as the administrator's password is private, other account holders will not be able to adjust the settings. Privacy settings prevent users from accessing certain information and photographs. Violence or sexually explicit material can be blocked out using privacy settings. In fact, specific websites can be blocked completely.

Christian parents are generally interested in teaching strong moral values and ethics. Unfortunately, information posted through online social networking sites may contradict parent's values and Biblical teachings. Review any service a child is interested in before allowing them access. Then set rules concerning computer and online social networking use once the child has registered. Restrict when and where children can access the online networking site. Children are constantly bombarded with new information, words, and concepts. Answer a child's questions as completely as possible. Don't be afraid to use the Bible when responding to a child's concerns or questions. Also, monitor a child's behavior. A sudden or extreme change in any child's behavior can be an indication of a problem. Teach children to trust their instincts. If a child feels something is wrong, they must tell a parent as soon as possible. Computers and the internet have been responsible for new words being introduced into the vocabulary. Cyber bullying is one of those words. Basically, cyber bullying is threats made against a child and posted online. Bullying can be in the form of an email, online social networking message, or instant message and can be anything from starting a rumor to threats of physical harm. According to online sources, it's possible for one person to pose as somebody else and send threats. This action could result in a child being unfairly accused of bullying or starting rumors. Parents must take these threats seriously and notify authorities as soon as possible. Commonsense and constant over sight are the two most important factors in keeping children safe while using internet social networking websites.

Online Social Network Sites

People using online social network sites are better able to promote and advance their professional pursuits as well as their leisure time pursuits. "Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt:"(Exodus 3:16). To reiterate, on online social network sites individuals are able to expand and enhance their social interactions in addition to being able to promote professional website operations. In other words, power brokers and entrepreneurs derive benefits from these sites as well as teens and homemakers.

Therefore party and sales announcements, as well as those of hobby enthusiasts and researchers, are now equally at home on these websites that started out exclusively intended for social interaction. But where youngsters and teens are concerned: parents ought to warn them against publically advertising the location of a party, for instance. Because of course young people must be made to understand the great danger involved with alerting and inviting people of every age - and type - to come into personal contact with them. Also on the subject of youth, where Internet marketing is concerned, while it is true enough that these online social network sites can provide a very lucrative environment for promoting and conducting business: their commercial benefit lasts only as long as the base membership chooses to continue utilizing them. And since young people tend to abruptly shift to another 'hot' networking site, according to experts in this field, it is imperative that a marketer remains as updated as possible on details of current youth trends and influences.

In any case, online social network sites can lend powerful assistance to Internet marketers and professionals. Indeed, the smaller the business, the more significantly positive the effect of the new networking contacts on that particular commercial endeavor. In other words, the value of a social network can be a great enhancement throughout the entire life of a business. So consequently, one should have a basic grasp of what these sites actually consist of. To begin with, online social network sites are made up of what are known as 'nodes.' In this case, nodes are the websites; and as these virtual nodes multiply and develop, they come to form an online social network as the user members interactively engage on the site. Likewise, when this member interaction is within the online dating arena an individual's possibilities for finding desirable candidates expand on a global level.

One advantage of these online social network sites is the steady traffic flow. And this traffic can be utilized on a steady basis for cultivating contacts for all kinds of purposes, not just advertising and dating. Generally, the aim of visitors is to 'go out' and relax in the same way people do in the real social world. And business-wise, these websites offer the advantages of various tools and services that ease the conduct of business which is very popular. And of course, an individual is best advised to use the most visited sites because of the advantage numerous visitors confer by increasing the chance of lucrative contacts being targeted and subsequently the recipients of a successful pitch.

To start with, it is important to optimize the page's ability to captivate, convince, etc. in ways that end up enhancing the business' original homepage by, for example, redirecting traffic to that online business location. Once on the business' main site, potential consumers can be affected by advertisements, special offers and promotions, live chats with company professionals, and so forth. Next on the list should be working to keyword enrich the online social network site page's content. And last but not least, maintaining a blog will significantly upgrade the value of a person's network page. Where children and parents are concerned in relation to these online social network sites, many experts advise parents to stay in touch with where and how children are participating. Admittedly, most children do not wish to include the parents in their online lives. Therefore, it may become necessary for parents to find a way to quietly investigate the matter on their own. For example, young people often list themselves according to which school they attend, so entering the school in the network sites' search engine is one way to proceed.

Unfortunately, there are certain drawbacks connected with the use of online social network sites that particularly pertain to young people. For example, teen profiles and geographical locations are also available to adults with evil intent only pretending to be another youngster. An additional drawback for teens is that many are unaware that every single thing they post will end up being studied in the future as well, for example, during the college admissions process of evaluation. Therefore, parents should initiate a discussion about the illusion many young people have that what they post involves only their friends. Because it is important for young people to keep in mind that merely deleting something and placing it into the virtual 'trash bin' does not mean the post has actually gone anywhere at all - not even when the trash bin has also been 'emptied.'

So in conclusion, as has been said, the popular and ever growing web phenomenon of online social networking sites is an extremely effective tool for initiating - and cultivating - all kinds of personal and professional contacts.



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