September 13, 2006

To block or not to block?

We're blocking both MySpace and Facebook at our firewall. Our youth pastor and his boss decided to do this because the school districts are doing it. Their argument is: Why should we be less restrictive than the schools? I'm conflicted about it.

Do you have web content filtration in your network? If so, do you block social networking sites? What are the pluses and minues?

By the way, Scoble says MySpace is for kids; Facebook is for adults. Makes sense.

9 comments:

Jon Edmiston said...

We currently do not block MySpace at CCV. We did at first but several of our youth staff mentioned that they were using their MySpace profiles as a way to Outreach to their attendees and their attendees' friends.

Dan said...

That was a point I was going to make, many churches have MySpace accounts and use it as a way to outreach through there youth. I would encourage you to talk about it with your boss.
I would agree that MySpace is getting worse in terms of spam and unsavoury stuff.

Patrick O'Hara said...

Clearly we need to pay attention to what is allowed through and what is not. Still I feel that MySpace has been targeted because it is not used by many adults. Why not block MSN that has a fair amount of filth on it? Because it also has news, a search engine, etc. I have two teenage daughters and I have struggled with wether I wanted them to have a MySpace account. I have allowed them to have accounts, with certain restrictions. The biggest one is that they need to be aware. I guess ultimately that is my point. The Internet is a great place, full of resources and oppurtunities. It is also a dark place with many dangers. It's a lot like the real world. Why filter the bands, youth groups and friends on MySpace because of the crazies, and others? I think this is an area where churchs need to be carefull, not only of being naive, but also of being overly tight.

Pat O

Kerner said...

When we installed public wireless at Schweitzer in the spring we had this same debate. Our ultimate decision was not to filter anything. Our young adult director uses myspace for outreach and we recently ran a series of Facebook flyers as advertising for our fall sermon series and Saturday night worship. Overall the response to both has been good, which makes me wonder if blocking is a good idea.

David said...

I just want to raise the point that Proxy servers and youth use of them is on the rise, and so whatever your firewall, especially if it is an advertized firewall ispretty easy to bypass by our net-savvy youth, and for adults who may "need" to get to firewalled sites.

Clif Guy said...

Our youth staff, the same folks that asked us to block MySpace for the students, also use MySpace themselves for some the reasons various commenters have cited. (Irony.) But keep in mind that their primary rationale was not whether it was especially bad stuff that needs to be blocked. Rather it was that the school districts around here all block it. So they figured if the students can't access MySpace at school, why should we be LESS restrictive at church?

Library Lady said...

They may not be allowed to access Myspace at school b/c of bandwidth and not "bad things." The number of youth playing w/ the website has a way of slowing down the network for faculty and support staff.

A recent PEW poll indicates there is a 41% usage by adults 30-64 on Myspace. I use this figure when I tell our students they might be chatting w/ an undercover adult so be wary of "pop-up" friends.

Myspace and Facebook are both blogs and there are now more blogs in the world than webpages! These social places are seen as fun by the teens and by limiting access you are limiting their fun...good Christian fun. If you surf myspace you will find millions of teens professing their faith not worshipping the devil.

I was drawn into Methodism through funtime at UMYF. Please, don't limit their access to christianity just b/c you don't understand the door they choose to walk through to find it. Maggie

Garrett Schaeffer said...

We initially did block it. We have since opened access to the sites but on a limited basis. Our pastors are allowed access but we do not allow guests or others to access it. We restrict it based on the network being used, being private or public.

Garrett

Clif Guy said...

Mark Stephenson of Ginghamsburg church mentioned to me that their youth staff put up a MySpace page and linked to it from their church site. Mark clicked the links he found on the MySpace site and within 2 clicks he got to pornography. So his solution was to make the MySpace page links all go back to the church youth site. Kids in the youth group can link to the MySpace site so it becomes another way to get kids to check out all the cool things happening at Ginghamsburg.