Parents: Be careful that the toys you buy for your child this Christmas don’t have unlimited Internet access, or he/she could easily (an innocently) view pornography.
Wireless handheld devices, such as video cell phones, iPods, iPhones, PDAs, and PlayStations and other video game consoles are now conduits for all the good stuff–and all the pornography–available on the Internet.
The Religious Alliance Against Pornography and the National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families, of which the LDS Church is a member, has sent a strongly-worded warning letter to congregations across the United States. Here are key points from their warning:
- Lots of wireless gadgets are commonly put in the hands of children and youth and many of these devices are capable of accessing anything on the Internet.
- Don’t expect government or the wireless industry to protect your children. Companies are just now developing filters for wireless devices, and only T-Mobile, AT&T and Alltel provide any kind of Internet blocking tool.
- Wireless companies do not intend to warn parents at the time of purchase about the dangers of Internet pornography.
“Let’s be very clear. Wireless technology is not the enemy. Rather, the danger lies in the perverse misuse of the technology and the fact that safeguards are limited in both availability and reliability.”
The letter warns that every child will be impacted directly or indirectly because:
“Pornographers are continually on the offensive and are determined to seduce those not seeking pornography and force their immorality on us. They have learned how to manipulate innocent people from good sites to pornographic sites.
“Every child will have some peers or friends of peers that are plugged into the Internet through a wireless device (video mobile phone, PDA, video iPod, iPhone, PlayStation).
“Pornographic material is powerfully addictive and because those peers who will be impacted, will talk about it, and will offer access to the material.
“Young people and children are often more computer literate than their parents and grandparents and are inquisitive about sexual things.
“Children and youth are already putting pressure on their parents to have video mobile phones, etc. that can access the Internet. That pressure will increase significantly as the video mobile phone industry explodes. Within a matter of months almost every mobile phone will have Internet and picture capacity and we know that the wireless industry will produce a massive advertising campaign because they make their large profits through monthly Internet fees. Peer pressure to not be left behind will intensify.
“If your children don’t succeed with you in getting the Internet, some of their friends or peers will succeed with their parents. When they discover pornographic material, including its addictive nature and how it impacts their hormones, they will share it with others. Knowledge is power and they will become an ‘In Group’.
“When (not if) your child sees that material, because you have trained them in the Christian faith, he/she will likely be attracted and repulsed at the same time. Often the revulsion will wane and the titillation will come back and make it more difficult to say, ‘No’ consistently over a long period of time.”
Read more excerpts from the letter in the Church News of November 17, 2007.
For more information, see the National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families or my previous blogs on wise/safe use of the Internet.