Safety in the Digital Age
The North American church is losing a war -- a war that we were for so long unaware that we were fighting. It is the fight against pornography and its destructive influences on individuals, families, and our collective future.
The United Kingdom hosts over 8 million pornographic web pages. Germany hosts over 10 million. The United States hosts over 244 million. While Asia exports technology and manufacturing. The Middle East exports oil. American exports pornography.
The average age of an American citizen’s first exposure to pornography is now 11-years-old. The fourth-most commonly searched term on the Internet for children under the age of 7 is “porn.” 90% of 8-16 year olds have viewed porn online. 80% of 15-17 year olds have had multiple hardcore (explicit) porn exposures.
The church has shaken its head at these statistics for years, but the sad truth is that these statistics do not vary within the church -- this hidden sin is wreaking havoc, destroying relationships and placing a secret guilt upon the shoulders of God’s people. We must take action to protect our homes!
A survey from Internet Filter Review reported that 47% of Christians admit pornography is a major problem in their homes. An Internet survey conducted by Rick Warren of Saddleback Church found 30% of 6,000 pastors had viewed Internet porn within the last 30 days. Another oft-quoted statistic is that 53% of men belonging to the Christian organization Promise Keepers visit pornographic sites every week.
We are losing this war, but we do not have to. The church must institute the following measures if we are to lift up holy hands towards God:
We must find someone to whom we are accountable -- someone who will ask the question, “Are you keeping your life pure?”
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray for another, that ye may be healed.” James 5:16
Our computer activity is often a hidden act. Open up to your spouses, parents, children, or accountability partners. Share your passwords with someone you trust and grant them liberty to examine your activity at a moment’s notice.
We need parents to no longer politely request that their children abstain from indecent web-sites and assume their innocence. We need parents to be parents, and if their children refuse to share their passwords and be as transparent as possible, then the only truly safe course of action is to ground them, take away cell phones, and remind them that these are privileges, not rights.
Every family should employ the aid of various Internet filters and safeguards to protect one another. The following sites offer several options:
• Net Nanny (netnanny.com)
• Covenant Eyes (covenanteyes.com)
• Family Shield (opendns.com/home/familyshield)
“Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.”
Colossians 4:2 (NLT)
The church has gotten off to a slow start, but the battle is not lost. We must remain vigilant, and face the issue of Internet pornography head-on. Our families, our future, and our effectiveness as the temple of God are at stake. Let us band together in prayer, fasting, and dedication. Eternity could depend on it.