(adapted from an article by Kristine Kruczek Mains, permission of B&H Publishing Group)
1) No IMing until homework is done.
2) Try to get in the habit of asking yourself on a regular basis: “Would what I am typing bring glory and honor to God? Would it make Him smile?”
3) If you have a profile, would someone who reads it figure out that you are a Christian after reading it? If the answer is no, why not?
4) Limit your buddy list to people you really want to talk to from time to time. A good general rule is this: if you haven’t had a face-to-face conversation with the person in the past six months, don’t include him or her on your buddy list. The exception might be camp friends, relatives or friends who have moved.
5) Consider cleaning up your buddy list at the end of each year. Delete anyone you have not IMed at some point over the past year.
6) Be careful about posting song lyrics in your profile or as your away message. If the lyrics are inappropriate, it can send a message about you to others.
7) Do people share gossip with you online? If so, don’t feel special. They gossip with you because they know you are a willing party, and that’s not a compliment!
8) Misunderstandings, fights with friends that need to be worked out, etc. should always be saved for face-to-face or, at a minimum, over the phone conversations
9) Be careful when clicking through to links on other people’s profiles. Many lead to inappropriate sites, and some can even give your computer a virus.
10) Always imagine that what you are about to type could be copied and pasted by the other person and used against you in the future. If what you are going to say is not something you are comfortable with others reading, don’t type it.
11) Never log onto a friend’s account or pretend to be someone you’re not.
12) Never copy, paste and forward someone else’s comments to another person unless you have permission.
13) Never talk to strangers online; and to be safe, never list your last name, school, phone numbers or any other personal information in your profile or away message.
14) If your friends use bad language, be brave and tell them to clean it up. If they keep using it, block them.
15) Make sure your screen name would bring glory to God. Stay away from using words like “hottie,” “pimp,” “sexy” and other words that are suggestive, crude, or would leave others with a poor impression of you and your character.
16) Remember that e-mail and IM messages are often misunderstood because you can’t read someone’s face or hear the inflection in their voice. Save your serious conversations for the phone or, better yet, face-to-face. And whatever you do, never ask someone out or end a relationship through IM! In fact, if you are old enought to date and are in a relationship, IM should not be used when discussing more serious matters pertaining to the relationship.
17) Remember that many parents have a program installed on their home computers that can track every IM conversation, every e-mail sent or received, every keystroke typed, and every Web site visited, and then send copies of it to the parent’s e-mail address. Whenever you e-mail, IM or send a text message to someone, there’s a good chance that his or her parents can see everything you type. Most importantly, God sees it!
18) If someone you don’t know tries to talk to you online, always tell your parents. This also goes for someone you do know that threatens you or says anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.
19) Don’t spend all your time IMing. Every now and then, pull away and talk to friends face-to-face!
Common Abbreviations in IMing
pos = parent over shoulder
mos = mom over shoulder
p911 = parent alert
paw = parents are watching
a/s/l = age, sex, location (often asked by predators)
nifoc = naked in front of computer
420 = code for buying or smoking marijuana
brb – be right back
btw = by the way
imho = in my humble opinion
sup = what’s up
idk = I don’t know
ltr or l8r = later
lylas = love ya like a sister
lylab = love ya like a brother
2ProphetU is an online magazine/website, started by Warren Wiersbe and Michael Catt, to build up the church, seek revival, and encourage pastors.