Today I opened up my Facebook news feed and felt my skin crawl.
A friend of mine had posted a link to an adult video, complete with a pornographic thumbnail for everyone to see. Or rather, some malicious code had infiltrated his Facebook account and done the dirty work for him.
Now I know my friend would never do something like this and I emailed to tell him about the dirty post. He probably clicked on an innocuous link which led to a site with malware waiting to be activated. It’s a common hacker trick and can happen to the best of us.
The danger this poses, however, is immense.
What if my son (or any other 11-year-old for that matter) accidentally saw this online? What if he clicked through and actually watched this thing?
All it takes is one dirty image or video to awaken unholy passions in a child.
I really want to prevent that from happening, with all the practical power I have.
Which explains why my wife and I have chosen not to allow our son an FB account. We’ve talked to him about it and told him that while some of his friends are on Facebook, a lot of stuff can happen on there that can damage the soul, especially if you’re a kid.
He can be on Facebook when he’s older.
I don’t expect him to fully appreciate this right now but I’m grateful he accepts our counsel and decision.
I’m also happy that he cooperates with our attempts to monitor his internet usage. Maybe he secretly resents me in some way for this (it doesn’t look like it, thank God) but even if he does, I’m not gonna sit on my thumbs for the sake of popularity. I know “brooding cyber-fascist” isn’t one of the more cherished job descriptions of a loving father, but I’ll willingly take the heat.
You see, my son’s mental and spiritual health – and perhaps entire future – is at stake. I know this because I know the effect porn can have on a young mind.
I was first exposed to pornography when I was about 9 or 10 years old. My friend had unearthed a couple of adult VHS tapes buried in his dad’s cupboard which we watched, unattended, stunned. It was inexplicably beguiling; shock, intrigue, and lust instantly coursed through my veins.
We knew we had seen something forbidden. But I had no idea of the long term effect it would have on me: my perception of sex, future relationships, and very pursuit of God would all be seriously tainted. I thank God for His gospel of grace which sets us free and cleanses us from sin. But boy, I wish I had never seen those tapes.
I feel sorry for my tender, young self whenever I think back to those days. I wish I had a time machine so I could travel back and redeem the younger me. To cover my eyes, destroy those tapes, and point me in a different direction.
But I don’t have a time machine. All I have is present time. And the eyes and minds I can protect are those of my two kids.
Which is why, in the battle for my children’s purity, Facebook can definitely wait.