Online Dangers

We have heard the stories of old men posing as young teenagers to win the confidence of young girls.  It is scary.  The fact of the matter is you just never know if people online are who they say they are until you meet them in person (which can be dangerous if they turn out not to be who they say and even then they might not be who they say they are).  Though this may not be as sinister as that, it can still get you into trouble.

In my last post I talked about what I think is a cult portion of GCM.  If there is a cult within, you usually don’t know that at first do you?  You think you are with like-minded people, but before you know it you don’t have an opinion of your own anymore.  You have become part of the cult and their opinions have become yours.  When/how did this happen?  Ahhhh, the dangers of online friends!  You just never know.

Husbands

A word of warning to husbands of GCMers.  Did you know one of the rules of GCM is that your wife is not supposed to let you read anything posted on the forum pages.  Here is their rule number 14.

14. No letting anyone else, including your husband, read or post to the board with your account or use your account for any reason.

I can only imagine this rule was put there so women will feel safe to talk about anything,  but I hope that GCMers will think about this rule a bit more.  First and foremost, it probably isn’t the best idea to keep things from your husband especially since this forum is often a big part of someone’s life.  I have seen firsthand how one-sided they can be in their response to problems in another person’s life and that causes A LOT of problems!  Do you really want them posting about your marriage on the world wide web?  Your parenting ability?

Second reason to rethink this rule: women tend to have a lot of words they speak each day and not all of them are good and edifying.  Sometimes it is good to have a husband read something to make sure you are being kind and theologically sound and to be sure you are reading something the correct way. Husbands often look at things a different way.  For example, a GCMer might take offense at something that was written.  If she ran it past her husband first, the husband could show her a different viewpoint from how she read it.  The GCM wife would see there is nothing to be offended by, thereby avoiding unnecessarily hurt feelings.

Secrecy

Husbands, did you know that there are layers of secrecy on the GCM forum? I don’t know how many.  There is the public part of the forum where you could get on and read.  Then there is a section that only members can get on.  But there is at least one more private layer you can get on.  I think I only saw stuff (oops, my sister broke rule number 14) from the first private layer.  I can’t imagine what is even on the second layer of privacy.

Maybe there shouldn’t be this much secrecy on a website.  You never know who is really on it anyway.  So do you really want just anybody reading what you write about personal matters, GCMers?  Maybe a forum is not the best place to air all your laundry.  Maybe you shouldn’t be posting anything personal on a web forum?  Does your husband know what you are posting about your family online?  If not, I would highly recommend you let him in on your little world.

A last note about online dangers.  Time goes by quickly when you are online!  It can rob us of time actually spent with our spouses and children.  GCMers are you spending too much time online and not enough time with your family?  It is one thing to get on and get ideas about how to do something, quite another to be on and on and on and on and on and on.  Husbands of GCMers, do you feel like your wife is too preoccupied with the forums and not enough time with you and the kids?  GCMers talk to your husband.  Ask him if he thinks you are on too much.  Husbands, if your wife is on too much, tell her.  If you have concerns about the site, talk to your wife about them.  And may your marriages be strengthened in the Lord!

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
(Ephesians 5:15-16 ESV)

“O LORD, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!
(Psalm 39:4 ESV)

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10 responses to “Online Dangers

  1. Did you ask your husband’s permission for creating this blog? Did you ask him to evaluate what you have written here? If you have not- I highly suggest you do so, so as not to be sconsidered a Pharisee.

    • Yes, thank you for asking! I also spoke with my pastor and elders about it too! I have every post looked at by several people before I post to make sure I am not off in my theology and to make sure I am saying things in love.

  2. Thanks for this post. I left GCM several years ago and now, looking back, I totally see the cult-like behavior. I spent way too much time online at GCM, and it was encouraged. I’ve peeked at it from time to time and there are always posts congratulating each other for time spent online. Some members have tens if thousands of posts, if not more. Spending time online rather than IRL is encouraged.

    I lost so much precious time that could have been spent with my kids. Time I will never get back. 😦

    • I am sad that you lost so much time online, but rejoice that you realized it and made a change!!! I would be interested to hear more about what you see as problematic (and especially cult-like) on the site. I want to get the warning out there!

      I didn’t know that they congratulated one another on time spent on the site. I would think since they are a parenting site, they would congratulate one another on all the time spent with their children!

      Thank you for your post. It is encouraging when I get a message from a former GCMer who has seen what is really going on.

  3. I’m surprised that anone finds simple privacy so offensive. I was always under the impression that it was gossip to repeat to one’s husband the confidences of one’s friends. Posts at GCM are written to other members (all of whom can be identified by profile information and past posts) therefore there really shouldn’t be any need of a ‘rule’ to remind readers to keep what they have read as confidential as they would keep a comment merely said among friends.

    Of course, any woman is free to have her husband pre-read the things she has written and intends to post, if she feels she could use his advice. Her own words are her own to share as she likes… the words of other women are not hers to share.

    A husband who would prefer that he, himself not be a topic for conversation need only ask his wife to limit what she talks about. If she chooses not to live by that request, that is her freedom, and nothing to do with GCM itself.

    There are many things on the private layers, such as comfort around miscarriage, dealing with the aftermath of sexual assault, situations of infidelity, legal troubles, personal emotional struggles, and even real names and family photos — things a person would really only want to share with a small and trusted group of friends. People make their own choices and take their own risks about sharing personal details, if they want to, where they want to.

    (Yes, my husband knows I chat about my family both in real life and onlne. He trusts both my judgement and my discression and has never felt the need to supervise me in this matter.)

    • You wrote, “I was always under the impression that it was gossip to repeat to one’s husband the confidences of one’s friends.” Do GCMers do this in the opposite order – repeat to one’s friends the confidences of one’s husband?

  4. There is a difference between seeking advice about a situation that directly involves you (such as your own marriage) by sharing some details in an anonnymous way… that’s seeking counsel for personal problems that happen to involve other people, and protecting their privacy as much as possible. I can see where that *might* cross the line into gossip from time to time, and we should be as careful as possible about it.

    But just plain-ordinary letting your husband read-in on the personal information of your friends who have not expressed any desire in him knowing what they have said, and who are not asking for his help? When they posted it on a member-only board to express their clear desire that it not be shared outside the membership? That’s 100% gossip. (Unless you are in emotional turmoil because you are in a conlict *on* GCM and require your spouse’s support with the situation, in which case you could explain your problem to him, and provide perhaps a few quotations while preserving privacy as much as possible.)

  5. Pingback: Cult-like Mentality | exposegcm

  6. Wow, I forgot about rule 14! In our marriage, we have an agreement that neither of us will have online activity that the other doesn’t have FULL access to. This is so important as it helps build trust in marriage.

    I can see the intent behind the owner writing rule number 14 (to help women feel a sense of security/privacy). But it’s a fine line when you’re explicitly telling women to withhold info from their husbands. I think most women have the decency and common sense not to carelessly allow members of their household set at the computer and read about others’ private lives online.

    • That is a most excellent rule you and your husband have!!!

      Yes, I too can see where the owner would want rule number 14, but too often it crossed the line into gossip and even libel.

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