The Importance of Online Safety

Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family calls Internet Pornography the “New Crack Cocaine.” Just as with cigarettes, alcohol and drugs, many adult addicts of pornography started their addiction as young children exposed to pornography at an early age. To assist parents in protecting their children online, we provide free Internet filtering software. We realize that for parents, just having software is not enough, because parents need to be trained on all strategies for protecting their kids online.


The widespread exposure of youth to graphic pornography at an early age is unlike ever before in history. 9 out of 10 children aged between the ages of 8 and 16 have viewed pornography on the Internet, in most cases unintentionally (London School of Economics January 2002). The adult industry says traffic is 20-30% children (NRC Report 2002, 3.3). Youth with significant exposure to sexuality in the media were shown to be 2.2 times more likely to have had intercourse at ages 14 to 16 (Report in Pediatrics, April, 2006). Another major danger is online predators in that 1 in 5 children who use chat rooms have been approached by a pedophile online ( 1/02). The solution is not to keep children from the Internet, but instead to make sure that they use the Internet safely.


Just as many recent anti-drug and anti-smoking strategies have called on adults to take increased responsibility with their children, we believe adults can take increased responsibility for maintaining their own media sobriety to set an example for children. Nearly all adults addicted to pornography, had their first exposure to pornography through second-hand smut. Second-hand smut from adults is like second-hand smoke--when smut is around everywhere, it affects everyone around it including children. A recent study showed that children with high-access to second hand smut were 2.2 times more likely to have sex between the ages of 14 and 16 than other children. Because of the damaging effect of second-hand smut, we believe that society needs to start treating second-hand smut like they do second-hand smoke. Adults need to take responsibility for protecting their children from second-hand smut online, in the home and elsewhere. Because of this, we provide adults with a media sobriety covenant and recovery resources to help serve as a positive role model with children. We believe that adults suffering form pornography or media addiction should enter a recovery process just as with other addictions.


What are the dangers?

The primary dangers are: exposure to pornography, contact with sexual predators (pedophiles). Other dangers include: exposure to undesirable content such as hate sites, violence and gore, drug abuse promotion, profanity, and the occult; cyber-bullying (being harassed, threatened, or talked about negatively by people online); file sharing risks (downloading illegal or obscene material); objectionable communication (through email, chat rooms, instant messages). For more information, see the “Statistics” section in this manual under “Resources.”

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