We are experiencing an epidemic of people getting hooked by evils available on the Internet. Pornography is, of course, the number one problem. Sadly, many Christian counselors I talk to are reporting more and more cases of children and adolescents getting involved with these destructive behaviors. It is vital that fathers take the leadership role in modeling healthy behavior and in safeguarding their families from these problems. We must understand that the Internet can be used for a tremendous amount of good. Educationally, its research potential is profound. But like all good things, the Internet can be abused. The sexual perversions that are available on the Internet have been around since the beginning of time. But now, thanks to the Internet, we have quick and easy access to these perversions in the privacy of our own homes.
The first question I would ask dads is this, ” Have you become desensitized to the problem?” We have become so accustomed to the sexual messages all around us that we don’t focus on them much. Wake up and look around you! The sexual stimuli that are bombarding us have a profound effect — especially on young minds. Many experts say that the Internet is rewiring young people’s minds to be more sexual in perverted ways.
You need to be ready to talk to your family about God’s truth regarding sexuality. Don’t be confused by the lies of this world that might tell you that pornography is not a big deal and that everybody uses it. Don’t be fooled. Jesus tells us that even when a man looks at another woman with lust in his heart, he commits adultery.
Let me give you a battle cry. When Nehemiah was rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem, he knew that the enemy was going to attack at the weakest point. He said to them, “Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” (Nehemiah 4:14). We are in a fight for the very safety and moral health of our homes. Build a strong wall of defense.
Here are some practical things you can do to safeguard your family against the dangers of the Internet:
- Provide an Internet filtering service. LifeWay Online, for example, is an excellent service that helps block out unwanted e-mails and Web sties. Use this kind of tool in your defense.
- Never allow a computer to be put in a private place. Keep it in a public place that you can monitor.
- Don’t give your kids a password. This will help you to monitor the amount of time they are on the Internet. If you struggle with online pornography, let your wife control the password.
- Talk with your kids about what they do on the Internet. Some kids who get hooked on the Internet are bored, sad, lonely, and even depressed. If this is so, get help.
- If your wife sometimes struggles with the Internet, it may mean she’s lonely. What are you doing as the leader of your home to love and affirm her? Ask her to honor the same boundaries you set for yourself and the kids.
- Teach your kids about God’s plan for healthy sexuality. He intends for sex to be enjoyed by a husband and a wife in marriage. Give your children positive reasons why this is best. Explain that they may not yet know their future spouses by their current choices. Guide your children to pray for their future spouses.
- Discuss with your family the incorrect messages that our culture is promoting about sex. Talk about television shows, movies, magazines, and songs. Ask your children to compare them with the truth of Scripture.
- In all things be positive. Enjoy your wife and children. Encourage and affirm them. Take time every day to say how much you love and appreciate them. A loved and affirmed family is much less vulnerable to all kinds of problems.
- If you struggle with the Internet, remember that we all sin and fall short. Get some help. Don’t’ allow your own sin to prevent you from being the Christian leader of your home. Commit with a friend to hold each other accountable regarding Internet use. Follow the advice in James 5:16, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
- Finally, the best prevention is for a couple to model a healthy marriage. In Ephesians 5, Paul calls us to be Christlike in our love for our wives. Make sure your marriage is strong. And if there is any form of pornography in your home, get it out.
The average age that a child first sees pornography has dropped from age 11 to age 6 due mostly to the Internet. We are now seeing kids addicted to pornography by age 8 and 9. The number of cases is rapidly increasing.
True Story: Not Only Men Struggle Kathy (not her real name) has been married for 15 years. She has three children. Her husband works long hours. The demands of being a mother and working part-time to support the family are profound. Lately, Kathy and her husband have not had much time for each other. When her husband comes home, he is mostly tired and irritable. Kathy has been learning how to use the computer. One night she discovered ‘chat rooms.’ After several weeks of casual visits, Kathy met a man. At first the conversation was innocent, but as they got to know each other better, things got more personal. Eventually, they started talking about their marriages and frustrations, including sexual ones. Eventually, she agreed to meet this man, and they had an affair.
Everyone has the potential to experience mortal failure. Commit to purity in all relationships from the beginning. If you are currently in an immoral relationship, take steps to end it now. Disobedience to God’s rules is costly- in relationship to your family and to God.
Copyright © 2006 Dr. Mark Laaser, used with permission.
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