Warning! Warning!

January 17, 2006    By: Kristen J @ 9:40 pm   Category: Life,Mormon Culture/Practices

I finally have a new calling. It’s a doozy, are you ready…I’m ward literacy specialist! I know, how am I going to keep up with it? There’s so much to do, especially in white, middle-class, suburbia. Ok, it’s not that bad, I am supposed to educate the ward members on internet safety. I gave my first presentation tonight to the young women.

Honestly, I was nervous about the whole thing. I wasn’t sure what angle to take and what would be appropriate for me to talk about with them. I didn’t want them to go home and say, “Sister J told us all about internet porn tonight. She told us not to go to this site, or this site, or this site. Sheesh mom, I’ve never even heard of those sites before tonight. Who knew?”

I didn’t want to take on “the sky is falling” role either. Remember the firesides they used to have about the dangers of rock and roll? G and I laugh about them now. I didn’t want to give a lecture to the girls that they would giggle over in 15 years.

In the end I set up a fake profile on MySpace and put a picture of a really cute teenage boy. I lied and said that he was a son of a friend who had just moved here. I then asked if they would befriend him. One of the girls said she would start sending him messages. After I sunk the hook I told them that the boy was really me and that I had lied to them about everything.

I showed them a picture of a creepy online predator and asked if they thought he was cute because chances are that’s who they were chatting with. I told them how easy it would be for me to figure out who they were and where they lived just by the information they were leaving on the computer and then I went over a New Era article with them on internet safety. Nobody said a word the entire time I talked. They didn’t even whisper to each other. I guess I had their attention.

I didn’t tell them that I have my own blog where I write a lot of things about my own life. Is that hypocritical?

[Associated radio.blog song: Green Day – Warning Warning]


  1. Now that’s a cool calling! Sounds like you’re off to a great start.

    No, I don’t think the omission is (hypo)critical. If you had told them to stay far far far away from the internet, because obviously worthy LDS don’t go there, then you’d have some ‘splaining to do =)

    Comment by Téa — January 17, 2006 @ 10:17 pm

  2. NBC’s Dateline has been doing a running series with perverted-justice.com which would be enough to scare the tar out of anyone with kids. I watched one of them with my wife and was amazed and disgusted, and its not like I am an internet tard. I dont think I would want to show the YW these things (well, maybe just the 16-18s, but definitely not the 12-14s), but if you were to show their parents one of these episodes, I am sure they would freak. If you do something like that though, be sure to offer immediate solutions, like NetNanny or CyberPatrol or some filtered internet service so people dont just spaz uncontrollably.

    I dont see any reason at all to tell the YW you blog, what is the point of that? Dont worry about it. I dont tell anyone about my website, except GD teachers who need help.

    Comment by Kurt — January 18, 2006 @ 5:00 am

  3. When I was young and new to Mormonism, I was pathetically grateful to be asked to do anything. I thought it looked like fun to be a big chees president of something.

    I said yes to every donation drive. One year I did Heart, Cancer, March of Dimes, and Penny Parade.

    I’m smarter now. I say, “Hell, no.” And if I have to I cuss worse to get them off my back.

    I don’t want any calling. None. I want to rest. But congratulations, whatever. Go with God.

    Comment by annegb — January 18, 2006 @ 7:00 am

  4. You know, I actually am pretty pleased with this calling. I have no desire to be the president of anything either. I was a little freaked before I did my first presentation because I wasn’t sure what was expected of me but now that that’s over I’m feeling pretty good about the whole thing.

    Kurt-Thanks for the info. I’ll definitely check that stuff out. Are you sure you’re not an internet tard? ;-)

    Tea-You’re right, I won’t worry about it anymore.

    Comment by Kristen J — January 18, 2006 @ 7:50 am

  5. I love your post. Good approach for the YW.

    Comment by LisaB — January 18, 2006 @ 8:05 am

  6. Thanks LisaB!

    Comment by Kristen J — January 18, 2006 @ 8:21 am

  7. I think your presentation should be made in every ward YW group. Perfect approach and hopefully they will realize the importance of your message.

    If you’re ever in Spokane, I’ll arrange it for you!

    Comment by don — January 18, 2006 @ 12:19 pm

  8. Whatever you can do to educate the youth about the Internet is very much appreciated.

    It amazes me the information that is out there, and if somebody trully wants to find out something about you, given enough time, and dilligence they can. Why make it easier for them by going into chat rooms and telling them. We are jaded enough as adults about what is going on around us and maybe we should be more cautious, let’s protect our children from the predators, by informing them what is out there. (More often than not they are more savy about the Internet than most of their parents so those of us who are of a more mature attitude and are also Internet savy need to take the lead and inform.) I applaud your ward leadership for giving you this calling, and I know I will suggest that a similar calling be made in my ward.

    Comment by George — January 18, 2006 @ 1:43 pm

  9. Oh, yes. I saw one of those Dateline episodes on that, and I was FLOORED.

    Comment by sarebear — January 18, 2006 @ 3:32 pm

  10. The kids are SO much more computer savvy than the parents. It’s a little bit frightening.

    It turned out to be a pretty fun presentation to do after all.

    Comment by Kristen J — January 18, 2006 @ 5:29 pm

  11. KristenJ, Ward Literacy Specialist has been my dream calling ever since I found out about its existence (which was a couple years ago, when my mom was called to do it). How do you get such a plum job? I’m considering asking flat-out if it’s available. Of course, with my luck, they’d just give it to me and not release me from my current calling…

    Comment by Allison — January 19, 2006 @ 12:47 pm