Idol Chatter

With the beginning of Holy Week upon us and Easter just around the corner, the dark days of Lenten abstinence are coming to an end. I thought giving up email for Lent–OK, just checking once a day for work purposes and anything urgent–was laudable. But some students gave up something far more precious to the typical teen/early-twentysomething this Lenten season: their online profiles on MySpace and Facebook.

Katie Hawkins at CNN reports that some “young and devout Christians” this year are breathing sighs of relief that Easter is almost here, because they “are anxious to return to what they gave up for Lent.”Just like with email in my case–which I find disruptively addictive and unproductive–high school kids and college students have been taking Lent as a time to try and shake their online profile habits:

Many users describe the popular social networking sites as addictive, which is why they say giving up these 21st-century temptations is a sincere sacrifice. Members on both sites create profiles and add each other as friends. They can also share messages, photos, videos and personal blogs.

“It’s been hard, especially in the beginning,” said Kerry Graham, who says she gave up Facebook for Lent. Her boyfriend challenged her to do so, describing her as a “Facebook fiend.” During the first days of Lent, the 23-year-old graduate student admits she had to stop herself from typing the site’s Web address nearly every time she checked her e-mail.

Another teen commented:

“Some of my friends think it’s silly, since people usually give up food,” said 16-year-old Emily Montgomery, who says she’s given up her access to MySpace. “I wanted to give up something that’s really hard for me.”… Montgomery says she spent an average of two hours a day on MySpace, logging onto the site at least four times a day. She’s using Facebook as a substitute during the 40-day period.

I’m not sure that substituting Facebook for MySpace really counts as a true Lenten offering. But then, who am I to talk? Despite all attempts at keeping my promise to check email only once a day, I’ve gone on a few benders this Lent, where I’ve not been able to resist logging in say, oh, 30 times. (Those days were few and far between, though. I swear.)

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