Overcoming Online Dangers

“My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.”

Proverbs 1:10

Last weekend, a young girl casually mentioned something to me about a message she’d received online from her friend that morning. He couldn’t sleep and was bored since no one else was around, so he was hanging out online. I groaned inside at the thought of this recipe for disaster.

You’re probably aware of this fact, but the Internet is a dangerous world for adults and young people alike. Parents can’t afford to ignore what their sons and daughters are absorbing during their online activity, but far too often, moms and dads neglect this vital issue. Young people desperately need the protection and wisdom which only their parents can provide. Exposure to pornography can easily ensnare anyone, the young or the old, even those considered most dedicated to Christ.

Parents should possess a healthy sort of fear in regard to this issue. I’m not talking about a fear that has you cowering in terror, but a fear that motivates you to take proper precautions. Think for example how you trained your children to avoid common dangers when they were very young. As a parent, you probably had a healthy fear of bicycle accidents, sexual predators, and busy roads, and that fear compelled you to require the wearing of a bicycle helmet, to explain what to do when approached by a stranger and how to look both ways before crossing the street. An awareness of the dangers posed by the Internet should provide you with similar motivation to prepare and protect your children appropriately.

In his book The Fight of Your Life: Why Your Teen Is at Risk & What Only You Can Do about It, speaker and author Jeffrey Dean provides parents with valuable advice for parenting wisely in face of 21st century dangers.  He says, “No one may ever fully know what your teen is doing online. But the simple truth is that your teen’s online life is either honoring to God or dishonoring to God. Everything your teen says, shows, types, and posts online lets the world know who your teen lives for. Work to instill in your teen an online lifestyle that proclaims, ‘I am a follower of Christ.’”  

In regard to helping young people maintain integrity in their online activity, Dean offers moms and dads the following practical steps:

  • Understand Your Teen’s Vulnerability
  • Place the Computer in a High-Traffic Area
  • Limit Your Teen’s Use of the Internet
  • Use a Filter
  • Check Your Computer’s History
  • Take Extreme Measures When Necessary
  • Communicate

In the following video clips, Randy Alcorn, author and founder of Eternal Perspective Ministries, attempts to convey to parents the dangers presented by unrestricted Internet access. He may step on some toes in the 2nd video especially, but I encourage you to thoughtfully consider what he has to say. The pursuit of purity requires radical commitment.

 

Check out these Internet filters (Filtering for iPhone & iTouch also available):

Related Articles: Parenting for Purity and Boys & Girls, Birds & Bees

Photo: tuco egg