I wrote this Bible study -- based on The Afters silly song -- Myspace Girl -- for Interlinc's most recent music video loop (MVL 61)
Artist: The Afters
Album: Never Going Back to OK
Song: Myspace Girl
Writer: Kirk Moore
Ministry: Union Congregational Church, United Church of Christ
Location: Somonauk, Illinois
Relationships, Honesty, Social Networking sites
By the end of this study, students will have discussed and learned a little about safety when it comes to social networking. They’ll also learn about the importance of honesty and integrity in relationships.
Tell me everything you know about ________ in 1 minute or less: You can use this ‘Show and tell’ game to get an idea of the involvement level of your students on social networking sites. Invite volunteers to tell everything they know about the following in one minute or less:
(If you don’t know about any of the items from Xanga down, please brush up before this lesson. If you’re doing this Bible study as part of a ‘nostalgia from the turn of the century’ night in the mid 2050’s – then brush up on your history!)
Say: We’re in an age where information about just about anything is available on the internet. Many students today have hundreds of friends on their myspace or facebook account. Today we’re going to talk about the opportunities our connectivity has – as well as the downfalls. Let’s start with something light. We’re going to watch a fun video from The Afters. In their words, "Myspace Girl is inspired by the story of how our old bass player met his wife. We were hanging out and a burger joint called In-N-Out after a show in California. And our bass player saw a girl there who was friends with a guy from one of the other bands that played that night. They made eyes at each other all night but he never gathered the courage to strike up a conversation. He was convinced that she was "the one" and was so mad at himself for not talking to her. We just laughed and told him he was crazy to think that he was going to marry her. He did find out her name and searched for her on myspace. He got to know her first through her profile. He knew her favorite movies, music etc. and thought they had alot in common. They started messaging though myspace, talking on the phone and eventually got rid of their personal myspace sites and started a site together... hence the "ourspace." They are now married and are great together." (Alternate quote if you prefer a shorter one) "is inspired by a friend who met a girl at an In and Out Burger in LA, got to know her better via myspace and wound up marrying her."
Play Myspace Girl from The Afters
During the song, have students draw pictures of the low-tech animations from the video. Alternatively, have them describe the most romantic way to meet someone.
Say: "We adults are cringing right now as we hear a story about how a myspace romance worked out. We’ve heard so much about the dangers of social networking sites that we have difficulty seeing the good. Today, with your help, we’re going to try to sort things out."
Ask: (Keep track of conversation on a board or large paper pad) What do you think are the top benefits to being part of an online social networking community. (This may go on for awhile.)
Now, what do you think are the biggest dangers? (This may not go on as long.)
After students have had a chance to share their ideas, ask them to take what has been said and make a "top 8" list of benefits and another list of dangers.
(If it hasn’t been offered during the discussion, be sure to work these two nuggets in)
Never write on a blog, myspace, facebook, twitter etc anything that you’d be embarrassed to have a parent read.
A great idea when it comes to online identity safety is to protect your identity – be friends with people you’re friend with in the real world.
Say: The Bible doesn’t talk about being safe when it comes to online networking sites. It does, however, have much to say about being genuine and telling the truth – good advice when it comes to relationships with others. (Friends, romantic interests and parents, too!) Have four students look up Exodus 20:16, Colossians 3:9, Romans 12:9 and 1 Peter 1:22 and then read the verses aloud.
Ask: What do these verses teach us?
Exodus 20:16 (Uh . . . don’t lie.)
Colossians 3:9 (Hey! Same thing!)
Romans 12:9 (Love one another sincerely and genuinely.)
1 Peter 1:22 (Show sincere love for one another.)
Wrap-up: When it comes to online activity, be safe and smart about what you share with others. Be honest with your parents about what you do online. Most of all, in all situations, remember to live life truthfully and to base relationships on God’s genuine love.
Closing prayer: Loving and caring God, thank you for our relationships with others. Help us to use good judgment and to live our lives truthfully and to base our relationships with one another on genuine love. Help us to live as your children every day. Amen.