MYSPACE FOR MOMS AND DADS
Connie Neal / Zondervan Reader Appeal: Parents
Genre: RELIGION/ Christian Life/ Family THE REVIEWPerhaps it’s inconceivable only to me, but, somehow, I’ve found myself the parent of a teenager this past year. And right on cue, my son is asking for all of the adolescent accessories—email accounts, a cell phone, and a TV and Internet access in his bedroom. I’ve conceded on the email account but the rest will have to wait. A teen should come with a Surgeon General’s Warning. “Caution: Raising a teen may result in sleepless nights and increased anxiety levels.”
If you’re the parent of a teen, you owe it to yourself to introduce yourself to Connie Neal. Connie is an author and speaker who specialty is understanding “the intersection of parenting and pop culture.” Connie is the deep breath that every parent needs to take before hyperventilating over all the challenge of raising godly children in the American culture.
Connie’s latest book, MYSPACE FOR MOMS AND DADS, is designed to help busy parents understand the Internet phenomena known as social networking. “Social Networking” is using home computers and the Internet to connect with peer and to make new friendships. Some of the more popular social networking websites include Myspace and Facebook. Parents might be aware and wary of social networking due to a rash recent news stories that detail how sexual predators have used Myspace to connect with teens and lure them into face-to-face meetings. Connie uses her calming logic and sanity to calm parents and to give them the tools they need to navigate this new world of social networking. Connie defuses the emotional charge surrounding social networking with her methodical treatment of the book. Part One explains what the history of social networking. Part Two walks as parent through the mechanics of setting up a “Myspace” account. In Part Three, Connie explains the draw of Myspace on teenagers. Teens use social networking to meet God-given developmental needs. Connie helps you connect with your teens’ needs by reminding you of their basic relational needs to connect and to express themselves. Finally, Connie offers a Christian framework to Christian parents decide if Myspace is right for their teens.
One of the most valuable features of the book is a section that trains parents how to customize the Myspace profile to reduce the risk of teens encountering unsafe people or on-line “friends” with unchristian values. Parents will also be equipped with the proper questions to ask their teens to help monitor their healthy use of Myspace. Readers familiar with Connie Neal’s writing know that she is biased toward engaging culture and for using cultural trends to train discerning teenagers. Connie’s “Walking Talk in
Babylon” is her manifesto calling parents to train children capable of interpreting and discerning the cultural messages that surround them. Don’t expect to hear a simplistic “Myspace is good” or “Myspace is evil” from Connie. Instead, she’ll give you the information you’ll need to engage your teenager regarding this important issue.
After reading MYSPACE FOR MOMS AND DADS, I’m not ready to give my teen permission to join for now. However, this will be a valuable guide to refer to when my oldest is a bit older and wiser. You can connect with Connie on Myspace at www.myspace.com/momsanddads