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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Off Topic: I'm "breaking up" with Facebook

Yep, I’m “breaking up” with Facebook. A blog post from explains what I mean:

“Breaking Up” With Facebook

January 14, 2008 on 6:00 am | In Facebook, MySpace, Relationships, Social Networking

A recent essay in the New York Times (December 2, 2007) talked about the growing popularity of social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, and others where the word “friends” is used to describe email relationships with folks we barely know. Humans are gregarious creatures and fare better belonging to networks of family, community, spiritual groups, clubs, and so forth - all of which are sustained through face-to-face contact.

The bottom line is that the more time we spend online, the less time we spend having true relationships complete with challenges, vulnerability, risks and profundity. These are not real-world relationships with depth. These on-line relationships are shadows and facsimiles which ultimately amount to little more than casual, superficial experiences.

One mother, Jene, who listens regularly to my radio program, sent me this letter her 21 year-old son wrote to Facebook. I suggest you show this to all your children and read it twice yourself if you are hooked to on-line pseudo-friendships:

“As a mother of two young adults, I’ve witnessed their obsessive involvement with the many electronic forms of communication that are all the rage in recent years…email, instant messaging, texting, and the several web-based social networks like Facebook and MySpace. All are useful communication tools, but often counterproductive in really getting to know people.

It came to my attention that my 21 year-old son took a bold step recently and closed down his Facebook account by writing a breaking-up letter and posting it as a good-bye. When he shared it with me, I was touched, relieved, and very proud of his stand. I asked him if I might share this with you. His grin, soft laugh and nod of his head spoke volumes:

‘Facebook, we need to have a DTR (defining the relationship) talk…It’s not all your fault, it’s mostly mine…This is the end of you and me, Facebook. I’m leaving you because I have spent more time browsing your pages than I have been spending in the pages of The Good Book. And I can’t live like that anymore. I’ve let you become a monster…you’ve taken too much of my time and my thoughts. Maybe it’s just my lack of self-control or discipline, but you’re addictive to me. I’m ashamed of the number of times I check you daily. If I were able to grasp how much time I have spent swimming though your endless ocean of profiles, I would be able to bear the guilt.

Here’s why: because of your profiles, I’ve become lazy. Because of you I found myself talking with person after person, asking them questions that I already knew the answers to. On many levels I’ve substituted and even avoided personal interactions with people because of your artificial and superficial means of communication. You have diluted my perception of true social interaction.

You’ve made me a coward. There’s a difference between a Facebook friend and an actual friend. Everyone knows the difference, but when one tries to reach across the barrier from Facebook friends to actual friends it just isn’t the same.

Facebook, you’re not all bad. You have your benefits. I must admit, you allow me to network and keep in touch with people with whom I normally wouldn’t have been able to…but at what cost? Wasting time Facebooking people I’ll never meet has distracted me from meeting the person sitting next to me in class, or has kept me from calling up and hanging out with an old friend because Facebooking is just as good? I beg to differ.

In some form or another, you’ve hindered my investment in the relationships with those genuine people hiding behind the idealistic profiles they’ve made of themselves. Let’s face it, I don’t perceive myself in the same way someone else perceives me. From now on, I only want to know people for whom they truly are; not for what you (Facebook) says they are. I just can’t trust you.

‘This might seem radical, but I have to make up for lost time. This hurts me just as much as it hurts you, but I have to take a stand.

Logging out for good,


I am so very impressed with Kyle’s maturity and good sense.

~End of Dr. Laura’s post.~

The reason why the “break up” with Facebook is because of Elder Bednar’s talk I heard on Sunday, May 3, 2009. Below is the Church News article that tells about it:

Elder Bednar Warns of Dangers on Web

By Greg Hill
Church News
Monday, May. 04, 2009

REXBURG, Idaho -- Speaking of "things as they really are," Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints counseled young adults during a Church Educational System fireside to beware the virtual reality of cyberspace.

From Brigham Young University-Idaho Sunday evening, Elder Bednar addressed members of the church ages 18-30 as well as those graduating from high school this spring. The fireside in Hart Auditorium also was broadcast via satellite to meetinghouses in many other areas of the world.

Obtaining a physical body is an essential part of earth life, Elder Bednar stated, and it gives God's children the chance to have experiences that otherwise would not be possible.
He said, "Our relationships with other people, our capacity to recognize and act in accordance with truth, and our ability to obey the principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ are amplified through our physical bodies."

He noted that Lucifer, who because of his rebellion against God, does not have a body, "attempts to influence us both to misuse our physical bodies and to minimize the importance of our bodies."

About misuse of their bodies, he told the congregation, "You know what is right and what is wrong, and you have the individual responsibility to learn for yourself ... the things you should and should not do."

Then he turned to a discussion of ways people minimize the importance of their bodies through technology.

"Sadly, some young men and women in the church today ignore 'things as they really are' and neglect eternal relationships for digital distractions, diversions and detours that have no lasting value."

He pointed out the difficulties caused in marriages "because of the addicting effect of excessive video gaming or online socializing." He added that such addictions could also be devastating for academic and vocational achievements.

Elder Bednar acknowledged the value of technology in creating virtual reality. Such value includes doctors simulating complicated surgeries, pilots simulating emergency landings, and architects and engineers simulating the construction of buildings resistant to natural disasters, all without endangering human life, he said.

Those simulations are made possible because of the high degree of fidelity between the simulation and reality, he said.

"However," he said, "a simulation or model can lead to spiritual impairment and danger if the fidelity is high and the purposes are bad, such as experimenting with actions contrary to God's commandments or enticing us to think or do things we would not otherwise think or do 'because it is only a game.'

"I plead with you to beware of the sense-dulling and spiritually destructive influence of cyberspace technologies that are used to produce high fidelity and that promote degrading and evil purposes."

If a person allows it, the adversary can use modern technology to lead to a disconnect from the physical body, Elder Bednar said.

"Please be careful of becoming so immersed and engrossed in pixels, texting, ear buds, Twittering, online social networking, and potentially addictive uses of media and the Internet that you fail to recognize the importance of your physical body and miss the richness of person-to-person communication. Beware of the digital displays and data in many forms of computer-mediated interaction that can displace the full range of physical capacity and experience."

He said, "Beware! To the extent personal fidelity decreases in computer-mediated communications and the purposes of such communications are distorted, perverted, and wicked, the potential for spiritual disaster is dangerously high. I implore you to turn away immediately and permanently from such places and activities."

~End of article about Elder Bednar’s talk~

Fyi, I’m not logging out for good. I’m keeping my Facebook account open to post pictures once in a while and I will “visit” Facebook from time to time.

I’m looking forward to having more time to garden, sew, practice the piano and read….


1 comment:

Katie said...

This is very good Kathleen. I think I needed to hear it. I have been addicted to Facebook lately and I spend way too much time on the computer. There is definitely some wisdom here and I think the key is self control. Let's see if I have any!