Tools needed: White board and marker, pens/pencil blank paper.
Start lesson out by writing on the board that no one can talk. Do not tell the students what to do with their paper and pens as some will figure it out.
Write some of the following, “I have seen your Facebook or MySpace account, I know what you said. I saw the text.” or something along those lines (before teaching this lesson you should check the internet for your students if you feel comfortable doing this don’t be surprised by what you find, you do not have to do this).
Write “It hurt my feelings, I can’t believe you said that. Was it true what you said?” (Erase after each time you write as if you are e-mailing or texting). As students start responding by writing on their paper and asking things like “Who me”? or “What are you talking about?” Continue to write vague responses.
Write scripture on the board related to days of our youth such as I Tim 4:12. Have them read it and then write on their paper a response as to what it means. If someone writes the correct response tell them that they are right but don’t indicate why it’s right.
Write the words, angry, mad, upset, followed by gossip, lies, no emotion. The purpose of the lesson is to get the young people to realize what they put on the internet and what they text can affect many people. Some say things by electronic means that they would never say in person. God realizes that as young people we do things without full understanding of its lasting consequences. Adults do read what they put on the internet and some do for the wrong purpose. A good site to review before this lesson is Netsmartz.org.
The teens responded well to this lesson and some even tired of the writing and reading even though a good estimated average for them is 120 text a day. Some of our teens had text some hurtful things to other teens and I was aware of some of the teens putting personal info on their profiles.
I used the time to talk about internet safety, how to report and the importance of talking to their parents even when they receive unsolicited text, e-mails or images. Many law enforcement agencies will present internet safety classes to your teens or their parents. This issue is tearing apart youth groups and churches with Facebook being the main contributors. Talk to your teens about the internet not being reality and how texting doesn’t share true emotions or express an individual’s true intent. (My background, School Resource Officer for 15 years, Juvenile Investigator for 10 years, Teen Youth Leader for about 15 years, I have enjoyed your site and used it many times)