Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

October 27, 2013

ED VASICEK: It's a jungle out there

Obama can't dodge entanglement

(Continued)

“Noting that 20 million people have visited the site since it went live, Obama said even with the problems, healthcare.gov ‘is still working for a lot of people, just not as quick or efficient or consistent as we want.’”

With all the highly trained, competent information technology experts in our nation, you would think Uncle Sam could find competent web designers. Perhaps these glitches could not be avoided; either way, the fiasco fuels the stereotype of “incompetent government workers.” It’s a cyber-jungle out there.

Social media is its own sort of jungle. We hear repeated stories of predators contacting their future prey through Facebook or MySpace. Facebook, however, has taken a new route that carries with it a truly unique danger. For this information, I turn to the BBC:

“Facebook is allowing videos showing people being decapitated to be posted and shared on its site once again. The social network had introduced a temporary ban in May following complaints that the clips could cause long-term psychological damage. The US firm confirmed it now believed its users should be free to watch and condemn such videos. It added it was, however, considering adding warnings.

“One suicide prevention charity criticized the move: ‘It only takes seconds of exposure to such graphic material to leave a permanent trace — particularly in a young person’s mind,’ said Dr. Arthur Cassidy, a former psychologist who runs a branch of the Yellow Ribbon Program in Northern Ireland.

“‘The more graphic and colorful the material is, the more psychologically destructive it becomes.’

“Facebook allows anyone aged 13 and above to be a member.”

Facebook has been a relatively safe website for many teens. Although Facebook users will not be constrained to watch this video, remember this: Facebook use is most intense among teenagers, and teenagers feel the most pressure to follow fads. Not good. Social media can be a jungle, too.

Ed Vasicek is pastor of Highland Park Church and a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at edvasicek@gmail.com.

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