by Mel cross posted from her blog When Cows and Kids Collide
All quotes from the book in blue text.
Welcome to the dangers of online relationships per the Botkin Sisters! Let’s dive in because there is a LOT to cover here:
Jessie is 18, sweet, naive, and longing for love and attention, but too shy to talk to the boys she knows. Online is easier. So is Omar, a wonderful charming new cyber friend. Within months, he’s convinced her that no one could ever love her like he does that he’s even urging her to “escape” from her home, and has bought her plane ticket to the city where he lives… (pg. 192).
- I do think that CP/QF would have fewer problems with love-stricken teenagers getting in odd relationships if those same teens were being actively encouraged to seek out career training or advanced education. In those situations, people like Jessie could learn how to talk naturally to boys without any of the bother of worrying about romance.
- Is the plane ticket one-way or two-way? Does Jessie have enough life experience and ready cash or credit to bail on Omar if she’s getting weird vibes? If it’s a two-way ticket and Jessie’s reasonably mature, this might not be the end of the world.
- Does Jessie have enough life experience to know if she’s getting weird vibes – at home or away? If not, that needs to be remedied quickly.
We’ve also known of several tragic Jessie-and-Omar type situations, where girls met boys online and ran away to be with them. Some of them were dissatisfied with real life and were pursuing alternative existences online. Some of them or hungry for love, and knew it would be inappropriate to chase after it with the good Christian boys they knew. Some of them never meant for their wholesome online friendships to go that far, but late at night, in the privacy of their own computer screens, one thing led to another… And although these romances are spawned in the virtual world, they don’t always stay there. After all, the girls that run away to meet up with these Romeos don’t do it in virtual cars. (pg. 199)
- Notice that the Botkin sisters can’t actually explain what makes a “Jessie-‘n-Omar” situation tragic. Let’s fill in the gaps for readers.
- Is Omar abusive? It can be hard to determine the intentions and character of a person through online interactions alone, so Jessie is taking something of a risk going to visit a stranger in a strange city.
- Is Omar married? (Yeah, that’s the one Debi Pearl pulled.) Again, it’s harder to determine if Omar is taking you to places other than popular, busy destinations where his affair might be found out if you don’t know the city. You also might be meeting him in an area that he knows that people who know him well won’t likely be.
- Are your parents going to go crazy and kick you out for going to meet Omar? If you can’t support yourself independently, think carefully about the potential fall-out of your behaviors especially if you are a legal adult.
- So which one was Omar when Jessie went to visit him? Got me; the Botkin Sisters never fill in the details.
- I have a sneaking suspicion that the Botkin Sisters have never actually talked to a real friend who left home to meet a guy. I could be wrong, but the “reasons” the Botkin Sisters came up with sound canned.
Online relationships tend to become sticky, or even dangerous, for two reasons:
1. We do online what we wouldn’t do in real life. For instance, some girls who insist that they only believe in courtship, not dating, will allow themselves to be wooed, charmed, flattered, and romanced online everyday. As another example, girls who have told us that they would never initiate a conversation with a young man will instant message that same young man at all hours of the day and night, post effusive compliments on his blog or Facebook wall, or try to engage him in a long, drawn-out email discussions. We wouldn’t stalk in real life – why is it ok on the Internet? Does the Internet bring out a different side of us… Or does it bring out the real us?
2. We don’t have the same accountability that we do in real life friendships. In real life, we’re generally (hopefully) surrounded by family and friends when we are interacting with young men. But online interaction is generally private and one-on-one. In this personalized, private world, there’s no parents to help us monitor our conduct, or keep an eye on the young man’s. And their parents could tell us if we were striking immodest poses or assuming false personalities in real life, they may have no idea what image we are presenting online. And we’re in a very dangerous place when we feel like no one is watching. (pg. 200)
- I’m not really fond of how the Botkin Sisters save up every conversation they’ve ever had with fans of “So Much More” to be derided and used in their next book.
- The use of the words “dangerous” and “stalk” are patently absurd in this context. The extent of activities in these paragraphs are “talking online” and “flirting in public”. Those activities, alone, do not often end in disaster.
- If you are not mature enough to monitor your own behavior to be inline with your own beliefs, you are not old enough to be dating. Easy-peasy.
- I can’t figure out what magical life event moves “girls” and “boys” from being completely unable to distinguish the intentions of the opposite sex to being “men” and “women” who can instantly distinguish the intentions of people courting their kids. If you are in your 20’s and can’t read people, it’s unlikely that you are going to get much better without specified practice.
- Geoffrey Botkin has messed his kids up good. Anna Sofia is 25 when this book was published and Elizabeth was 23. By that age, the sisters are more than old enough to decide what their “real” personalities are without needing Daddy or Mommy looking over their shoulder.
If our parents are going to help us in this area of our lives, they need to be in on this world of ours. Please ask your parents to be part of your online life. You should know their preferences regarding emailing, blogging, instant messaging, social networking, and even texting.
- This is great advice for the pre-teen crowd. Teenagers should already be aware of the family rules about communication. Adults don’t need parental permission to IM someone….
In our family, we and our parents came up with a policy that we girls don’t have young men as personal pen-pals. Any correspondence we do have with young men is shared with our parents, and we girls read each other’s (sic) mail. In general, we try to use the internet as “the new marketplace” , “the new library” and “the new newspaper” instead of “the new mall” or “the new youth group”. It’s another place to learn and work, not another place to hang out (and especially not the way to go out in public without our parents) . The internet is a useful tool for extending our real life work – it’s not a “time out” from that real life. (pgs 200-201)
- How’s that been working out for you as a career move?
- You have a public FB page that gets updated every 4-6 months.
- You update your website annually or less.
- Your last podcast is over two years old.
- The rights to your first book are owned by a now defunct company which has to be hurting your royalties
- You haven’t published a new book in 5 years.
- Please tell me that Anna Sofia and Elizabeth can go out without a parent tagging along. That’s actually MORE restrictive than the Duggar “Have a sibling tag along with you!” method of child control.
Mel is a science teacher who works with at-risk teens and lives on a dairy farm with her husband. She blogs at When Cows and Kids Collide She is also an very valuable source of scientific information for us here at NLQ. Mel is also blessed with the ability to look at the issues of Quiverfull with a rational mind and break them down to their most basic of elements.
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