BY BRANDON A. PERRY
In just a few years it seems as though the world has been swept by the cultural phenomenal of social networking websites on the Internet.
MySpace, the largest networking website, reportedly has over 100 million accounts worldwide and attracts an average of 200,000 new registrations per day.
Many parents are still not familiar with social networking sites like MySpace, Xanga.com and Facebook.com, they are very popular among teens because they allow users to present personal profiles, monitor a unique network of “friends” and send chat messages- all for free.
Although MySpace has implemented measures to protect users under age 16 it has received criticism following a recent report by NBC News alleging that it has thousands of registered sex offenders as users, along with profiles, photos and footage showing teens drinking, using drugs, posing in underwear and engaging in sexual activity.
“Parents and teens alike should be shocked at the number of sex offenders that are lurking in the shadows of cyberspace, laying in wait for their next victim,” said Greg Thomas, co-founder of JCFaith.com, a new networking site.
Thomas is currently conducting a nationwide media blitz to raise awareness of the site, which was created by him and co-founder Ralph Russ as a safe, faith-based alternative for Christians.
“We wanted a safe, alternative where people of all ages, especially youth, could participate online without fear of predators,” Thomas said.
JCFaith.com has basically been designed to be a more family friendly website while offering similar amenities as its secular counterparts. Users can create profiles, publish their visual digital content (images, video, graphic art) and use various communications features.
The site also offers Bible resources, a church directory, music downloads and blogs. Members are encouraged to get involved in chat room prayer groups and Bible studies.
When asked how the creators of JC.Faith could promise that it is cleaner and safer tan secular sites, Thomas noted that it is consistently monitored by pastors and adults. Questionable messages and photos, though rare, are usually moved as soon as they are located.
“We feel as though young Christians have been searching for a fun, faith-based online community where they can grow their faith by interacting with other Christians in a positive environment,” said Thomas.
Evidently a thriving market exists for JCFaith.com. Since January it has welcomed over 100,000 unique visitors each month.
JCFaith has been joined by several other sites being presented as Christian options for online networking, especially Xianz, ChristUnion.com YourChrisitanSpace.com.
“MySpace and many of the other sites have been really letting anything go,” Robbie Davidson, co-founder of Xianz noted recently. “A lot of people have been looking for a fun but sage networking opportunity, and now they have that option.”