Internet Safety

internet-safety-logo.gifInternet Safety is a topic that most parents are very concerned about. Because many of us feel like we are fairly savvy when it comes to cyber-technology, we may have a bit of a false sense of security. The fact that we have been driving for decades doesn’t create a false sense of security when it comes to sending our teenagers out the door with the car keys. We make sure they are adequately trained. We make sure they are safe, even defensive, drivers. We should, in my estimation, exercise the same degree of caution when it comes to the Internet.

Actually, we probably need to exercise more caution. Our children generally spend much more time in front of the computer Instant Messaging, blogging and chatting in a day’s time than they will behind the wheel in a week’s time. The dangers are likely to be just as great, if not greater, in this environment. Two bits of information dramatically impress this reality on our minds:

(1) One in five children who use computer chatrooms has been approached over the Internet by pedophiles. (Detective Chief Superintendent Keith Akerman, Telegraph.co.uk January 2002).

(2) 89% of sexual solicitations were made in either chat rooms or Instant Messages. (Pew Study reported in JAMA, 2001).

In preparation for an upcoming presentation I’ll be making I’ve spent a few hours today learning about some of the available resources. One of the best informational and educational sites I’ve found is i-SAFE.org. i-SAFE Inc., is the worldwide leader in the Internet safety education. Founded in 1998 and endorsed by the U.S. Congress, i-SAFE is a non-profit foundation dedicated to protecting the online experiences of youth everywhere. i-SAFE incorporates classroom curriculum with dynamic community outreach to empower students, teachers, parents, law enforcement, and concerned adults to make the Internet a safer place. I’ve actually been familiar with this group and their web site for some time now. I have found it to be extremely helpful.

If readers will take the time to become a certified i-SAFE user (about one hour) you will gain access to a large arsenal of very helpful information. While there is information available for parents and grandparents, there is also an excellent line up of resources for general Internet safety. Some of the resources available deal with chat abbreviations; cyber bullying (an educator recommended addition to the curriculum); cyber security exercises; identity theft information and intellectual property guidelines.

Another excellent resource is in the person of Mark Strohm, Jr. Mark is the elementary school principal at Delaware County Christian School in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. He is well informed about what is going on with our youth, as well as what their challenges are with respect to the Internet. He has put together a Cyber Safety Seminar, which is quite informative. Many readers of this blog are outside of Mark’s normal travel parameters, but you can likely find similar resource people in your neighborhoods. Mark and his wife Ellen also author a blog for parents. It is: Loving Limits, Encouragement and Hope for Parents. I recommend that you check out both of these sites.

In addition to the preceding resources, I’ve found the following sites to have valuable Internet Safety information and training materials:

Federal Bureau of Investigation

BlogSafety.com

NetSmartz.org

ProtectKids.com (highly recommended)

SafeKids.com

SafeTeens.com

Focus on the Family

Christianity Today Online

What other tools or resources can you share with us? We’d like to hear about them.

In the mean time, let us all unite our hearts in prayer for a our children who are faced with a virtual avalanche of temptations and dangers as they interact with others on the world wide web.

About a fellow sojourner

a sojourner in life, trying to follow in the steps of Jesus.
This entry was posted in Bible Study, Blogroll, Children, Christian Living, Christianity, Church, Family, internet safety, Life. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Internet Safety

  1. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for doing this. Last year, we had detectives come into our school. Their job is to catch internet predators and what they had to say was shocking. However, it was very apparent in the children’s attitudes and comments that they did not take them seriously.

    It is a very real danger to our children.

    His,
    Jennifer

  2. cwinwc says:

    We do need to be careful about what our kids are able to access via the Internet.

  3. Kathy says:

    IMHO – kids should not have computers in their rooms – the computer needs to be out in a family room where physical supervision is possible for the parents.

    The car analogy is excellent. If we take the same precautions with the internet it might help ease this problem of cyberstalking.

    Education is one piece, parental rule-setting and supervision is another. With some kids, it might be necessary to deny cell phone priveleges when internet rules are broken.

    It takes an investment of time on the part of the parents, teachers and churches, but we really need to up our attention to the dangers out in cyberspace.

    Thanks, Bill for bringing this subject up on your blog.

  4. Greg England says:

    Very timely. It’s not just the kids who need to be careful. The stats on people in ministry hooked into porn are staggering. I’ve know … I struggled with it until confessing it before our church family and allowing myself to be held accountable. I know you’ll do well on your presentation.

  5. Jennifer says:

    Greg,

    I appreciate your candor. I think that one of the ways that Satan tries to entrap us is by keeping us silent and shameful. I think it is high time that more was said in church about the dangers of pornography and sex outside of marriage as well. Sex was intended by its Creator to be a beautiful thing between a husband and a wife, but even most churches today are silent on it. It is the “taboo” subject so to speak. There is nothing taboo about it; rather, it only becomes taboo when it is twisted by Satan.

    After my husband left, I went to a christian counselor. She said that a vast majority of her clients were godly men hooked on porn. Wow. We can’t let Satan win this battle…and the first step is admitting we have a problem.

    His,
    Jennifer

  6. I add my Amen to the chorus here. I rarely let my girls online unless one of us parents are in the room with them. There are some nuts in this world.

    Greg I too appreciate your honesty and boldness. I will constantly lift you up in my prayers. Jennifer I have seen many men . . . and surprisingly these days a number of women who have gotten into the porn world. This is especially true of the younger generation. It is pushed in music videos, songs, by artists . . .

    Shalom,
    Bobby Valentine

  7. My dear blogging friends,

    It’s 11:15 p.m. here on the right coast as I sit down to read your comments. I have been on the go since much earlier today and have not had an opportunity to pop in here. I wish I’d been able to respond earlier. Each comment resonates with sincerity. I am so thankful for this little cyber family of Christians.

    Thank you, Jennifer, for your insights. How many more children will have to fall prey to these predators before our young people will take the warnings seriously? The Christian school where our children attend hosted an Internet Safety presentation a few months ago. It came about as a result of concerns about some of the students’ postings on “myspace”. A huge amount of advance notice was given, including a letter of concern from the Headmaster to all of the students’ parents. The attendance was disappointingly low. How can we get parents to take the dangers seriously?

    Thanks to you, Cecil for adding your shepherd’s perspective. How can we get our spiritual shepherds to insist that more teaching and training is done on this and similar topics?

    Yes, Kathy! Our family computer is in the family room where everyone can see what’s on the screen. Generally speaking, our children aren’t permitted to be online unless at least one other person is in the room with them. Everyone’s browsing history is saved and scrutinized often and carefully by my wife. We try to set limits with respect to the amount of time spent on the computer, but probably aren’t as strict as we should be. But, with three teenagers waiting their turn, it’s difficult to spend too much time online.

    My dear friend Greg… You are fast becoming one of my heroes. Your comments always cut to the heart of the matter under discussion. This time you have opened wide your heart to us and given us a glimpse into your inner self. I appreciate so very much, brother. Your transparency is an inspiration to many. Your willingness to share your struggle with pornography is an example of the true spirit of Christianity. When will we learn how to trust one another with our deepest needs so that we can pray about these things? Thank you, brother, for showing us the way. May you continue to experience God’s help and healing concerning this matter.

    Thanks, Jennifer, for the affirmation and encouragement you offered Greg. I continue to remember you in my prayers, as well. I pray that God will continually renew your strength; and, that He will enable you to soar on wings like eagles; run and not grow weary; and walk and not be faint.

    Thanks, Bobby, for adding your voice to the chorus AND reminding us that there are some nuts in the world! Thanks also for reminding us that there are some especially unique challenges facing the young people of today. Just think of everything they have seen and heard, wow! How shall the young secure their heart?

    God bless you all…those who have commented and those who have not. God knows your needs. May we all turn to God for the help and healing that we need!

  8. Jennifer says:

    The same concern over myspace erupted at my school, too. That is why I finally broke down and got a “space” myself so I could see what my students were up to. I was devastated and scared for them all at the same time. And like your children’s school, we had a meeting with detectives present and invited parents to attend. Very few parents came. Based on what I have seen on some of the sites of my school’s students, I venture to guess that either their parents don’t know they have a site OR they don’t ever look at them.

    His,
    Jennifer

  9. Greg England says:

    Jennifer, Bobby, Bill:
    Thank you for your support. I was amazed at how much power there is in accountability and giving people permission to ask me at any time how I’m doing. It broke Satan’s power. The further I move away from it, the less I even think about it these days. Have been free of it for a long while, but I don’t ever want to take for granted I can’t be entrapped again.
    God is gracious and merciful. My wife is very supportive. My elders (former and present) hold me accountable, and you my that permission as well.
    Greg

  10. Greg England says:

    Huh??? That last sentence should read, “…and you have my permission to do that as well.”
    –Greg

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