I need a WT Article or 2 on Internet and Facebook quotes too... :)

by AllTimeJeff 5 Replies latest jw friends

  • AllTimeJeff

    Hi all. My old disease ridden computer that has WT Library on it doesn't work, and I haven't downloaded it for my new computer. I was wondering if someone would be so kind to copy and paste the last 2 KM articles on the GB's spooky "dangers of the internet" esp where apostates are concerned.

    I am writing, and need it. Thanks!

  • AllTimeJeff

    This is the start of the blog, and I need some reference material.... I appreciate the help if you can.

    Why Jehovah's Witnseses Are Discouraged to Avoid the Internet

    At a recent series of Circuit Assemblies, the Governing Body put out warnings on what in their view is the latest danger from Satan, designed to break the faith of Jehovah's Witnesses everywhere.


    Yes, thats right, apparantly, the GB is concerned because a lot of people are having "Facebook sex". They are meeting old friends who aren't Jehovah's Witnesses and getting it on.

    Now, this IS news. Because most people who are on Facebook, or Twitter, or clearly not having sex, as evidenced by the fact that they are actually typing status updates or playing games like Farmville.

    So why would the Governing Body lie about this?

    Because the real reason they want their flock to stay away from Facebook, or the internet in general, isn't because an orgy could break out. It is because they don't want their flock exposed to ideas that differ from the GB's. They don't want former JW's to point out the lies and inconsistencies of GB doctrine, thus sowing doubts that are legitimate, that expose the GB for the lies that they tell. They don't want to arouse curiosity in their flocks about what others are saying about JW's.

    That's all its about.

    There is more where I really go for their stubby, brainless knees. The references would help. Thanks.

  • JerkhovahsWitless

    Eh, I'm not sure if I'm posting what you're looking for or not. I hope its the right stuff.

    *** km 11/99 pp. 3-6 Use of the Internet—Be Alert to the Dangers! ***
    Use of the Internet—Be Alert to the Dangers!
    1 Jehovah’s people enjoy wholesome association with one another. They enjoy sharing experiences from the field ministry and appreciate hearing about events that occur in connection with Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Kingdom work around the globe. They like to be informed about anything outstanding that may happen to our brothers, such as a crisis or a natural disaster, and they want to know if there is something they can do to help. Such interest shows the unity of the brotherhood, proving that we do indeed love one another.—John 13:34, 35.

    2 Today, we hear about world events quickly. Radio and television broadcasts give live coverage of events in full detail to audiences all over the globe. The telephone also makes it possible to communicate immediately with people around the world. In communications a recent phenomenon that is taking the world by storm is the Internet.—See Awake!, July 22, 1997.

    3 The invention of the telephone opened the way to fast personal communication worldwide. Although the telephone is very useful, caution is needed in the way it is employed, as it can be a tool for improper association or activities, and overuse of the telephone can be expensive. Television and radio have potential in the field of education. Sadly, though, much of the programming is morally corrupt, and attention to it is a waste of time. Wisdom dictates that we be very selective in the use of television and radio.

    4 The Internet enables one to communicate inexpensively with millions of others throughout the world, and it opens the door to vast amounts of information. (Awake!, January 8, 1998) The indiscriminate use of the Internet, however, can expose a person to great spiritual and moral dangers. How is this so?

    5 Many are concerned about readily available information that shows how to build weapons, including bombs. Industry complains about the amount of time workers waste using the Internet. Much has been stated in our publications about the obvious spiritual dangers encountered on the Internet. Numerous Web sites present violent and pornographic materials that are entirely unsuitable for Christians. (Ps. 119:37) In addition to these dangers, there is a more insidious danger that Jehovah’s Witnesses in particular need to be on guard against. What is this danger?

    6 Would you invite a stranger into your home without first finding out who he is? What if there was no way to find out? Would you allow such a stranger to be alone with your children? This is an indisputable possibility on the Internet.

    7 Electronic mail can be sent to and received from people you do not know. The same is true when you converse electronically in a forum or in a chat room. Participants may at times claim to be Jehovah’s Witnesses, but often they are not. Someone may claim to be a youth when he is not. Or a person may even falsely claim to be of a certain gender.

    8 Information passed on to you may come in the form of experiences or comments about our beliefs. This information is passed on to others who, in turn, pass it on to still others. The information is generally not verifiable and may be untrue. The comments may be a cover for spreading apostate reasoning.—2 Thess. 2:1-3.

    9 With this danger in mind, if you use the Internet, ask yourself: ‘What do I use it for? Is there a possibility that I could be harmed spiritually by how I am using it? Could I be contributing to the spiritual injury of others?’

    10 Web Sites of “Jehovah’s Witnesses”: Consider, for example, some Internet sites set up by individuals who claim to be Jehovah’s Witnesses. They invite you to visit their sites to read experiences posted by others who claim to be Witnesses. You are encouraged to share your thoughts and views about the Society’s literature. Some give recommendations about presentations that could be used in the field ministry. These sites offer chat rooms for individuals to connect to, allowing live communication with others, similar to talking on the telephone. They often point you to other sites where you can have on-line association with Jehovah’s Witnesses around the world. But can you tell for certain that these contacts have not been planted by apostates?

    11 Having association via the Internet may not be consistent with the recommendation found at Ephesians 5:15-17. The apostle Paul wrote: “Keep strict watch that how you walk is not as unwise but as wise persons, buying out the opportune time for yourselves, because the days are wicked. On this account cease becoming unreasonable, but go on perceiving what the will of Jehovah is.”

    12 The Christian congregation is the theocratic means through which we are fed spiritually by “the faithful and discreet slave.” (Matt. 24:45-47) Within God’s organization, we find direction and protection to keep us separate from the world as well as motivation to keep busy in the work of the Lord. (1 Cor. 15:58) The psalmist indicated that he experienced joy and a feeling of security among God’s congregated people. (Ps. 27:4, 5; 55:14; 122:1) The congregation also provides spiritual support and assistance for those associated with it. Therein, you can find a group of loving, concerned, and caring friends—people you personally know who are ready and willing to help and comfort others in times of distress. (2 Cor. 7:5-7) Congregation members are protected by the Scriptural provision for disfellowshipping those who sin unrepentantly or who promote apostate thinking. (1 Cor. 5:9-13; Titus 3:10, 11) Can we expect to find these same loving arrangements when associating with others via the Internet?

    13 It has become apparent that the opposite is true. Some Web sites are clearly vehicles for apostate propaganda. Such Web sites may claim otherwise, and those who sponsor a site may give a detailed explanation to affirm that they truly are Jehovah’s Witnesses. They may even request information from you in order to verify that you are one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    14 Jehovah wants you to exercise discernment. Why? Because he knows that it will safeguard you from various dangers. Proverbs 2:10-19 opens by saying: “When wisdom enters into your heart and knowledge itself becomes pleasant to your very soul, thinking ability itself will keep guard over you, discernment itself will safeguard you.” Safeguard you from what? From such things as “the bad way,” those leaving upright paths, and people who are immoral and devious in their general course.

    15 When we go to the Kingdom Hall, there is no question that we are with our brothers. We know them. No one requires authentication of this because the brotherly love manifested makes it obvious. We are not personally required to provide credentials to prove that we truly are one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It is here that we find the true interchange of encouragement that Paul spoke about at Hebrews 10:24, 25. Web sites that encourage on-line association cannot be depended on to provide this. Having in mind the words of Psalm 26:4, 5 can alert us to dangers that could easily be encountered when using Web sites on the Internet.

    16 There are no limits or checks on the kind of information that is maintained by and accessible to Internet users. Often, children and teenagers are easy targets of crime and exploitation in this environment. Children are trusting, curious, and anxious to explore the relatively new world of cyberspace. Parents therefore need to supervise their children and give them sound Scriptural guidance about using the Internet, just as they would guide them in their choice of music or movies.—1 Cor. 15:33.

    17 Sadly, some who were once our brothers and sisters have had to be disfellowshipped because of association that started by meeting worldly individuals in chat rooms on the Internet and eventually led to immorality. In shocked disbelief, elders have written that some had actually left their husbands or wives to pursue a relationship that began on the Internet. (2 Tim. 3:6) Other individuals have disowned the truth because of believing information provided by apostates. (1 Tim. 4:1, 2) Given these very serious dangers, does it not seem reasonable to be cautious about becoming involved in chat sessions on the Internet? Certainly, exercising the wisdom, knowledge, thinking ability, and discernment spoken of at Proverbs 2:10-19 should safeguard us in this.

    18 Noticeably, there have been a number of individuals who have created Web sites ostensibly to preach the good news. Many of these sites are sponsored by indiscreet brothers. Other sites may be sponsored by apostates who wish to lure unsuspecting ones. (2 John 9-11) Commenting on whether there is a need for our brothers to create such Web sites, Our Kingdom Ministry, November 1997, page 3, stated: “There is no need for any individual to prepare Internet pages about Jehovah’s Witnesses, our activities, or our beliefs. Our official site [www.watchtower.org] presents accurate information for any who want it.”

    19 Study Aids via the Internet? Some have felt that they are rendering a service to the brothers by posting researched information in connection with various theocratic activities. For example, a person may do research based on a public-talk outline and then post this, thinking that such information will benefit those who need to prepare the same outline. Others will post all the scriptures for an upcoming Watchtower Study or provide source material for the Theocratic Ministry School or the Congregation Book Study. Some may offer suggestions for field ministry presentations. Are such really helpful?

    20 The publications provided by Jehovah’s organization stimulate our minds with upbuilding thoughts and train us “to distinguish both right and wrong.” (Heb. 5:14) Can we say that this is achieved if others do our research for us?

    21 The Beroeans were spoken of as “more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica.” Why? Because “they received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11) Although Paul and Silas preached to them, they could not make the truth their own without becoming personally involved.

    22 Using another person’s research for a talk or for other meeting preparation really defeats the purpose of personal study. Is it not your desire to build up your own personal faith in God’s Word? Based on personal conviction, you can then make public expression of your faith—in your talks, in comments at the meetings, and in the field ministry. (Rom. 10:10) Using another person’s research does not fit the description given at Proverbs 2:4, 5 to personally ‘keep seeking and searching for the very knowledge of God as for hid treasures.’

    23 For example, when looking up scriptures in your own copy of the Bible, you can briefly review the context of each scripture. You can ‘trace all things with accuracy,’ as did Luke when he wrote his Gospel. (Luke 1:3) The extra effort will also help you to be skillful in looking up scriptures in the ministry and when giving talks. Many have stated that they are impressed with Jehovah’s Witnesses because they know how to use their Bibles. The only way that this can apply to us is if we make it a practice personally to look up scriptures in our own Bibles.

    24 Using Our Time Wisely: Another consideration in this regard has to do with the amount of time spent creating, reading, and responding to information posted on the Internet. Psalm 90:12 encourages us to pray: “Show us just how to count our days in such a way that we may bring a heart of wisdom in.” Paul stated: “The time left is reduced.” (1 Cor. 7:29) And further: “Really, then, as long as we have time favorable for it, let us work what is good toward all, but especially toward those related to us in the faith.”—Gal. 6:10.

    25 Such counsel highlights the need for us to be judicious in the use of our time. How much more profitable it is to spend time reading God’s Word! (Ps. 1:1, 2) That is the best association we can have. (2 Tim. 3:16, 17) Parents, are you teaching your children the value of using their time wisely in Kingdom pursuits? (Eccl. 12:1) Time spent in personal and family Bible study, meeting attendance, and field ministry far outweighs time spent browsing the Internet, expecting to gain benefits.

    26 In this regard, it is the course of wisdom to focus our attention on spiritual matters and on those things relevant and essential to our lives as Christians. This calls for the making of well-considered choices respecting the information that merits our time and thought. As Christians, that which is relevant to our lives was summed up by Christ, who said: “Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33) Are you not happiest when your life is filled with Kingdom pursuits rather than any other activity?

    27 Internet E-Mail: Although sharing personal experiences or thoughts among family or friends who live far apart is appropriate, is it really loving to pass these on to others who may not know your family or friends? Or should these be posted on a Web page for just anyone to read? Are these personal messages to be copied and sent indiscriminately to people whom you may or may not know? Likewise, if you receive messages from others that were clearly not intended for you, is it loving to pass them on to still others?

    28 What if the experience you pass on is not accurate? Would this not be sharing in perpetuating an untruth? (Prov. 12:19; 21:28; 30:8; Col. 3:9) Certainly, keeping “strict watch that how [we] walk is not as unwise but as wise persons” would move us to consider this. (Eph. 5:15) How happy we are that the Yearbook, The Watchtower, and Awake! are filled with verifiable experiences that encourage us and motivate us to keep walking in “the way”!—Isa. 30:20, 21.

    29 There is also another danger. The apostle Paul said concerning some: “They also learn to be unoccupied, gadding about to the houses; yes, not only unoccupied, but also gossipers and meddlers in other people’s affairs, talking of things they ought not.” (1 Tim. 5:13) This argues against spending time and effort passing on frivolous information to our brothers.

    30 Think, too, of the amount of time that it takes to keep up with a large quantity of E-mail. Interestingly, the book Data Smog stated: “As one spends more and more time online, e-mail quickly changes from being a stimulating novelty to a time-consuming burden, with dozens of messages to read and answer every day from colleagues, friends, family, . . . and unsolicited sales pitches.” Further, it states: “Many electronic glutizens have picked up the very bad habit of forwarding every entertaining nugget they receive—jokes, urban myths, electronic chain letters, and more—to everyone on their electronic address book.”

    31 This has been evident in the E-mail circulated among many of the brothers—such items as jokes or humorous stories about the ministry; poetry presumably based on our beliefs; illustrations from various talks heard at assemblies, conventions, or at the Kingdom Hall; experiences from the field ministry; and so forth—things that seem innocent enough. Most routinely forward such E-mail without checking the source, making it difficult to know who really is the originator, which ought to make one wonder if the information is really true.—Prov. 22:20, 21.

    32 Such often-frivolous messages are not the kind of healthful words that Paul had in mind when he wrote to Timothy, saying: “Keep holding the pattern of healthful words that you heard from me with the faith and love that are in connection with Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim. 1:13) The “pure language” of Scriptural truth has “the pattern of healthful words” based mainly on the Bible’s theme of the vindication of Jehovah’s sovereignty by means of the Kingdom. (Zeph. 3:9) We should make every effort to devote all our available time and energy to support this vindication of Jehovah’s sovereignty.

    33 Since we are deep into the time of the end of this system of things, this is no time to let our guard down. The Bible warns us: “Keep your senses, be watchful. Your adversary, the Devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone.” (1 Pet. 5:8) It further states: “Put on the complete suit of armor from God that you may be able to stand firm against the machinations of the Devil.”—Eph. 6:11.

    34 If misused, the Internet can be a means by which Satan overreaches those who are seduced by its power. Although it may have limited usefulness, there is danger if it is not viewed with caution. Parents especially need to be concerned about their children’s use of the Internet.

    35 Keeping a balanced view of the Internet is a protection. We appreciate the timely reminder by Paul: “Let . . . those making use of the world [be] as those not using it to the full; for the scene of this world is changing.” (1 Cor. 7:29-31) Having these things in mind will help keep us and our families from becoming distracted by all that the world has to offer, including what is available on the Internet.

    36 It is imperative that we stay close to our brothers in the congregation and use the remaining time wisely, thus making ourselves available for the advancing of Kingdom interests. As this system nears its finish, let us “no longer go on walking just as the nations also walk in the unprofitableness of their minds,” but let us “go on perceiving what the will of Jehovah is.”—Eph. 4:17; 5:17.

    *** km 7/07 p. 3 Question Box ***
    Question Box
    ? What are the dangers of using the Internet to associate with someone we do not know?

    A number of Web sites have been designed for people to meet and correspond over the Internet. Many of these sites allow individuals to create and post their own profile, which may include pictures and other personal information. People who view the profile can then make contact. Such Web sites are very popular among young people, and some youths in the congregation have used them to interact with others who claim to be Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    It is easy for a person whom we meet over the Internet to be deceptive about his identity, his spirituality, or his motives. (Ps. 26:4) An individual claiming to be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses may actually be an unbeliever, a disfellowshipped person, or even an active apostate. (Gal. 2:4) Reportedly, many pedophiles use such Web sites to find their victims.

    Even if we are convinced that those with whom we are corresponding are in good standing in the congregation, conversations in such a setting can easily drift toward unwholesome material. This is because people tend to be less inhibited with individuals they have not met personally. They may also view online communication as private and feel that whatever they say will not come to the attention of others, such as their parents or the elders. Sadly, a number of youths from Christian households have been ensnared and have become involved in obscene speech. (Eph. 5:3, 4; Col. 3:8) Others have included sexually provocative pictures of themselves, suggestive nicknames, or links to sexually explicit music videos in their computer profile.

    In view of the foregoing, parents should monitor their children’s activity on the computer. (Prov. 29:15) It would be dangerous to invite a stranger into our home or to allow him to be alone with our children. Similarly, it is dangerous for us or our children to make friends with strangers over the Internet, even if they claim to be Jehovah’s Witnesses.—Prov. 22:3.

  • JerkhovahsWitless

    Here's a few others not from the KM.

    *** g97 7/22 pp. 10-13 The Internet—Why Be Cautious? ***
    The Internet—Why Be Cautious?
    THE Internet certainly has potential for educational use and day-to-day communication. Yet, stripped of its high-tech gloss, the Internet is beset with some of the same problems that have long afflicted television, telephones, newspapers, and libraries. Thus, an appropriate question may be, Is the content of the Internet suitable for my family and me?
    Numerous reports have commented on the availability of pornographic material on the Internet. Does this suggest, though, that the Internet is merely a cesspool full of sexually perverted deviants? Some contend that this is a gross exaggeration. They argue that one must make a conscious and deliberate effort to locate objectionable material.
    It is true that one must make an intentional effort to find unwholesome material, but others argue that it can be located with much greater ease on the Internet than elsewhere. With a few keystrokes, a user can locate erotic material, such as sexually explicit photos including audio and video clips.
    The issue of how much pornography is available on the Internet is currently a hotly debated subject. Some feel that reports suggesting a pervasive problem may be exaggerated. Yet, if you learned that there were not 100 poisonous snakes in your backyard but only a few, would you be any less concerned for your family’s safety? Those who have access to the Internet would be wise to exercise caution.
    Beware of Those Who Prey on Children!
    Recent news coverage has shown that some pedophiles join on-line interactive chat discussions with young people. Posing as young children, these adults have slyly extracted names and addresses from unsuspecting youngsters.
    The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) has documented some of this activity. For example, in 1996, police found two South Carolina, U.S.A., girls, ages 13 and 15, who had been missing for a week. They had gone to another state with an 18-year-old male they met on the Internet. A 35-year-old man was charged with luring a 14-year-old boy into an illicit sexual encounter when his parents were not home. Both cases began with dialogue in an Internet chat room. Another adult, in 1995, met a 15-year-old boy on-line and boldly went to his school to meet him. Still another adult admitted to having sex with a 14-year-old girl. She had used her father’s computer to communicate with teenagers via on-line bulletin boards. She too met this adult on-line. All these youngsters had eventually been persuaded to reveal their identities.
    Need for Parental Guidance
    While cases such as the above are relatively infrequent, parents must nevertheless examine this matter carefully. What resources are available to parents to protect their children from being targets of crime and exploitation?
    Companies are beginning to offer tools that range from rating systems similar to those for movies, to word-detection software that filters out undesirable content, to proof-of-age systems. Some approaches block material even before it reaches the family’s computer. Most of these approaches are not foolproof, however, and can be circumvented by various methods. Remember, the original design of the Internet was to make it resistant to disruptions, so censorship is difficult.
    In an interview with Awake!, a police sergeant who supervises a child exploitation investigation group in California offered this advice: “There is no substitute for parental guidance. I have a 12-year-old child myself. My wife and I have allowed him to use the Internet, but we make it a family affair and place careful safeguards on the amount of time we’ll spend.” This father is especially cautious regarding chat rooms, and he places firm restrictions on their use. He adds: “The personal computer is not in my son’s room but in an open area of the home.”
    Parents need to take an active interest in deciding what use of the Internet, if any, they will permit for their children. What practical and reasonable precautions should be considered?
    Staff writer David Plotnikoff of the San Jose Mercury News offers some useful tips to parents who decide to have Internet access at home.
    • Your youngsters’ experience is most positive when they work with you, as they learn the value of your judgment and guidance. Without your direction, he warns, “all the information on the Net is just like water without a glass.” The rules you insist on are “an extension of the common-sense things you’ve told your kids all along.” An example would be your rules regarding speaking to strangers.
    • The Internet is a public place and should not be used as a baby-sitting service. “After all, you wouldn’t just drop your 10-year-old off in a big city and tell him or her to go have fun for a few hours, would you?”
    • Learn to recognize the difference between Internet locations for playing games or chatting and places for getting help with homework.
    The NCMEC pamphlet Child Safety on the Information Highway offers several guidelines to young people:
    • Don’t reveal personal information such as your address, your home telephone number, or the name and location of your school. Don’t send photos without your parents’ permission.
    • Inform your parents immediately if you receive information that makes you feel uncomfortable. Never respond to messages that are mean or aggressive. Tell your parents right away so that they can contact the on-line service.
    • Cooperate with your parents in setting up rules for going on-line, including the time of day and length of time to be on-line and the appropriate areas to visit; stick to their decisions.
    Bear in mind that precautions are also beneficial for adults. Some adults have already become ensnared in unwanted relationships and serious problems because of their carelessness. The mystique of chat rooms—the lack of eye contact and the anonymity of aliases—has lowered the inhibitions of some and created a false sense of security. Adults, take note!
    Keeping a Balanced View
    Some of the material and many of the services found on the Internet have educational value and can serve a useful purpose. Growing numbers of corporations are storing internal documentation on their internal networks, or intranets. Emerging Internet-based video and audio conferencing have the potential for permanently changing our travel and business-meeting patterns. Companies use the Internet to distribute their computer software, thus reducing costs. Many services that currently use personnel to handle business transactions, such as travel and stock-brokerage services, will likely be affected as users of the Internet are empowered to handle some or all of their own arrangements. Yes, the effect of the Internet has been profound, and it will likely continue as an important medium for sharing information, conducting business, and communicating.
    Like most tools, the Internet has beneficial uses. Yet, there exists the potential for misuse. Some may choose to explore the positive aspects of the Internet further, while others may not. A Christian is not authorized to judge another’s decisions on personal matters.—Romans 14:4.
    Using the Internet can be like traveling to a new country, with many new things to see and hear. Travel requires that you display good manners and take sensible precautions. No less is needed if you should decide to get on the Internet—the information superhighway.
    [Blurb on page 12]
    “The personal computer is not in my son’s room but in an open area of the home”
    [Blurb on page 13]
    The Internet is a public place and should not be used as a baby-sitting service
    [Box/Picture on page 11]
    The Need for Courtesy and Caution
    Learn the rules of courtesy and protocol. Most Internet service providers publish thoughtful and acceptable guidelines for conduct. Other users will appreciate your sensitivity and good manners.
    Some discussion groups debate religious or controversial matters. Be careful about posting comments to such discussions; likely your E-mail address and name will be broadcast to all in the group. This often results in time-consuming and unwanted correspondence. Indeed, there are some newsgroups that are unfit to read, let alone interact with.
    What about creating a discussion group, or newsgroup, for fellow Christians? This may present greater problems and dangers than initially expected. For example, individuals with ulterior motives have been known to misrepresent themselves on the Internet. Currently, the Internet itself does not enable individuals appearing on it to confirm identities. Furthermore, such a group can be compared in some ways to a large, ongoing social gathering, taxing the time and ability of its host to provide necessary and responsible supervision.—Compare Proverbs 27:12.
    [Box/Picture on page 13]
    How Valuable Is Your Time?
    In this 20th century, life has progressively become more complicated. Inventions that have worked to the advantage of some have often turned out to be time wasters for many. Further, immoral and violent TV programs, pornographic books, degrading music recordings, and the like are examples of technologies that have been misused. They not only eat up precious time but also damage people spiritually.
    Of course, a Christian’s first priorities are spiritual matters, such as reading the Bible daily and getting well acquainted with priceless Scriptural truths discussed in the Watchtower and Awake! magazines and other publications of the Watch Tower Society. Everlasting benefits come, not from surfing the Internet, but from using your time to take in knowledge of the only true God and of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to apply it zealously.—John 17:3; see also Ephesians 5:15-17.


    *** g 3/07 p. 3 Youths Online! ***
    Youths Online!
    Imagine your child wandering the streets alone at night.
    Imagine your teen organizing a party in your home that you know nothing about.
    Imagine your son or daughter making copies of the keys to your house and distributing these to total strangers.
    IF YOUR child has access to the Internet, the above situations may not be as far-fetched as they seem. “The Internet provides an unprecedented number and variety of meeting places, from message boards to instant messaging to so-called social networking sites,” says Science News magazine.
    Young people have quickly adjusted to life online. Indeed, in 2004 nearly 9 of every 10 people in the United States between the ages of 12 and 17 used the Internet, which is accessible in virtually every corner of the globe.
    Few people would deny the usefulness of the Internet. But no one should be oblivious to the dangers it poses. For instance, many youths are wandering alone in the online neighborhood, and some are creating social networks with people whom you—and even your child—would never invite into the home.
    Some naive young ones even post inappropriately personal details, thoughts, and images on the Internet. According to Professor Zheng Yan of the State University of New York, youths “often don’t realize how many people have access to that information, including sexual predators.”
    Let us take a closer look at what many young people are doing online. This will enable us to see potential problems, to determine just what our children are looking for, and to see how we can help them satisfy their legitimate needs. It will also help Christian young people meet the challenge of remaining faithful to God during these difficult times.—2 Timothy 3:1-5.

    *** g 3/07 pp. 4-7 Helping Youths Meet the Challenge ***
    Helping Youths Meet the Challenge
    THE world, its lifestyles, and its fads have always undergone change. Largely because of modern technology, changes are even more pronounced today. What was in yesterday is out today, and what is popular today will be obsolete tomorrow. These rapid changes have a marked impact on young people.
    A Social Revolution
    In recent years, technology has sparked a revolution that has had a profound effect on youths. For example, in many lands the cell phone and the computer have become a lifeline of the adolescent social world. Social networking sites have opened up a whole new world of possibilities. “You can be relatively friendless in real life and then suddenly have hundreds of friends online,” says a 19-year-old girl in Australia.
    Few would deny that the cell phone and the Internet have numerous benefits. For many people, however, these tools seem to have become addictive. University Professor Donald Roberts notes that some students “can’t go the few minutes between their 10 o’clock and 11 o’clock classes without talking on their cell phones.” He says: “It seems to me that there’s almost a discomfort with not being stimulated—a kind of ‘I can’t stand the silence.’”
    Some youths even admit that they feel hooked. “I’m totally addicted to instant messaging and my cell phone, because they’re how I keep up with my friends,” says 16-year-old Stephanie. “When I get home, I go online immediately and stay on . . . sometimes till 3 A.M.” Stephanie’s monthly phone bill is anywhere from $100 to $500. “By now,” she says, “I owe my parents more than $2,000 in excess charges. But I’m so used to having my cell with me all the time that I can’t live normally without it.”
    The problems can be more than financial. While doing a study on family life, anthropologist Elinor Ochs found that when a working parent came home, the spouse and kids were often so absorbed in what they were doing that 2 out of 3 times they did not even say a greeting! They just kept on monitoring their electronic gadgets. “We also saw how difficult it was for parents to penetrate the child’s universe,” says Ochs. She adds that during the study parents were observed actually backing away, retreating from kids who were absorbed in whatever they were doing.
    Online Social Networks—Harmless?
    Many parents and educators are concerned about the amount of time youths spend visiting what are called online social networks. These are Internet sites that allow members to create a Web page and enhance it with pictures, videos, and diaries, called blogs.
    One attraction of such sites is that they enable members to keep in touch with friends. Another is that setting up a Web page allows a youth to express his identity, to “make a statement.” The appeal is understandable, for adolescence is a time of learning about oneself and revealing one’s feelings in a way that reaches and moves others.
    One problem that arises, though, is that some individuals create a Web-site persona that reflects who they want to be rather than who they are. “There’s a kid in one of my classes who says he’s 21 and lives in Las Vegas,” states a 15-year-old boy. Both youths live about a thousand miles [1,600 km] from that U.S. city.
    Such deception is quite common. “You can do anything on the Net,” confides an 18-year-old Australian girl. “You can become a whole different person because no one really knows you. You feel confident. You can make up things so that you seem to be more interesting. You can put pictures of yourself wearing things or doing things that you would never wear or do in real life. You can write things you would never say in person. You feel as if you can get away with anything because you’re hidden. No one knows who you really are.”
    As with any mode of communication, online social networks can have legitimate uses as well as potential abuses. As a parent, do you know what your children are doing online? Are you making sure that your children are using their time wisely? (Ephesians 5:15, 16) Furthermore, misuse of the Internet can expose a youth to a number of serious dangers. What are some of these?
    The Darker Side of Cyberspace
    The anonymity of the Internet makes it a hunting ground for child predators. Youths can unwittingly become ensnared if they give out personal information online or agree to meet a person with whom they have been corresponding. Some people argue that “children face more serious threats of violence or abuse in their own homes or on the playground,” says the book Parenting 911. “Yet there is something insidious for most parents about sexual provocateurs being able to reach into their homes through a screen and tamper with the innocence of their children.”
    There are other ways communication technology has been exploited. Some youths have engaged in “cyberbullying”—relentless online teasing, ostracizing, harassing, or threatening. Web sites have been set up purely to humiliate someone, while e-mail, chat rooms, and the like have become conduits for slander. The director of an online safety group believes that up to 80 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 14 have been directly or indirectly affected by cyberbullying.
    Granted, bullying is not new. But now rumors, gossip, and slander can travel much farther and infinitely faster. It often gets far nastier too. In some cases, cell phones with a built-in camera have been used to take rude and potentially embarrassing photographs and videos, perhaps in a school locker room or shower. These images have then been placed on the Internet and sent to any number of eager recipients.
    Growing Public Concern
    Such matters prompted the Department of Law and Public Safety in New Jersey, U.S.A., to send a letter to parents and guardians, urging them to “help us respond to an emerging concern regarding the inappropriate use of the Internet among children, both in and out of school.” The letter expressed particular apprehension over the posting online of personal information and photos. Sites divulging such details are often magnets for unscrupulous youths and adults. “As a parent,” the letter stated, “you need to know that concerns over these issues are very real, and that you can play an important role in keeping your children safe by getting more informed and involved in your children’s use of the Internet.”
    Yet, some parents know surprisingly little about what their children are doing online. One mother, who closely monitors her 16-year-old daughter’s online activities, states: “Parents would be absolutely horrified and embarrassed if they knew what their children were posting and discussing.” According to an Internet safety expert, some young people are posting photos that are sexually very suggestive.
    Negative Effects
    Is all this alarm merely the paranoia of overconcerned adults who have forgotten what it is like to be a teenager? The statistics suggest otherwise. Consider: In some areas, nearly a third of boys and girls between 15 and 17 years of age have had sexual intercourse. More than half of teens between 13 and 19 say that they have had oral sex.
    Has technology contributed to these sobering statistics? Undoubtedly. “Cellphones and the Internet, which offer teenagers an unparalleled level of privacy, make hooking up that much easier,” says a New York Times Magazine report. Indeed, setting up a clandestine meeting with a member of the opposite sex takes little more than a few keystrokes on the computer. In one survey, more than 4 out of 5 girls admitted that they are not as careful as they should be while online.
    Some who are looking online for a date or a hookup get more than they bargained for. ‘We have seen an increase in sexual assaults,’ states Jennifer Welch of the Novato Police Department in California. She says that many victims first contact their future assailant online and then agree to meet in person.
    Beware of the “Wisdom of the World”!
    Teen advice columns in newspapers and magazines tend to take a soft stance when it comes to young people and sex. Although they give a nod of approval to abstinence or moral purity, their main goal is to encourage “safe” sex rather than no sex. ‘We can’t stop them,’ the reasoning seems to be, ‘so at least we can teach them to be responsible.’
    In an article posted on one respected Web site for teens, the issue of whether to have sex or not boiled down to three factors: (1) the risk of pregnancy, (2) the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease, and (3) the importance of deciding if both parties are emotionally ready for the experience. “In the end, it’s your decision to make,” the site says. Only a passing reference is made to discussing the matter with a parent. And there was not even a mention as to whether such sex is right or wrong.
    If you are a parent, surely you want something better than the fickle and foolish “wisdom of the world” to guide your children. (1 Corinthians 1:20) How can you help them to navigate their way through adolescence and avoid the dangers discussed in this article? The answer may not be as simple as unplugging the computer or taking away the phone. Surface solutions rarely reach the heart. (Proverbs 4:23) Consider, too, that your children may be using such devices as the cell phone and the Internet to address certain needs that you as a parent may be able to address far more effectively. What are some of these needs?
    Rather than simply condemn the Internet, parents would do well to familiarize themselves with the sites that their children frequent. In this way, children can be helped to ‘train their perceptive powers to distinguish right and wrong.’ (Hebrews 5:14) Such parental lessons will serve the children well as they enter adulthood.
    The term “hooking up” can mean anything from spending time together to having intercourse. In this context, it refers to having sex for physical gratification with no emotional attachment.
    [Blurb on page 4]
    “When I get home, I go online immediately and stay on . . . sometimes till 3 A.M.”
    [Blurb on page 5]
    “You can do anything on the Net. You can become a whole different person because no one really knows you”
    [Blurb on page 7]
    “Parents would be absolutely horrified and embarrassed if they knew what their children were posting and discussing”
    [Box/Picture on page 6]
    Social Networking—One Girl’s Story
    “I began to use our school Web page to interact with fellow students and teachers. I started with one hour a week. Soon I was on every day. I felt so addicted that when I wasn’t on the Internet, I was thinking about it. I couldn’t concentrate on anything else. I got behind in my schoolwork, I wasn’t listening at Christian meetings, and I even ignored my real friends. My parents finally realized what was going on and limited my use of the Internet. That was hard for me. I was very mad. But now I’m happy that things worked out this way, and I have adjusted very well. I never want to feel addicted again!”—Bianca.


    *** g05 5/22 pp. 12-14 Can Internet Dating Really Be Dangerous? ***
    Young People Ask . . .
    Can Internet Dating Really Be Dangerous?
    “On the Internet, you may not actually know who the other person is.”—Dan, 17.
    “People can lie on the Internet. It’s easy to put on a front.”—George, 26.
    INTERNET dating continues to grow in popularity worldwide. As the preceding article in this series discussed, Internet romances may blossom quickly, but they often wither when reality sets in. Still, there is a greater cause for concern than mere disappointment. Dating in this fashion may put you in serious danger—whether physical, emotional, or spiritual.
    How can something that looks so innocent and safe—a computer terminal right in your own home—actually present a danger to you? Some of the dangers are related to an important Bible principle. The apostle Paul wrote: “We wish to conduct ourselves honestly in all things.” (Hebrews 13:18) Now, this is not to suggest that it is dishonest to use the Internet or even that using the Internet will make you dishonest. However, we must recognize that other people often are not honest and that as the quotations at the outset of this article illustrate, the Internet seems to make certain kinds of dishonesty easier to practice and harder to detect. And when it comes to romantic attachments, dishonesty presents terrible dangers.
    For example, note the kind of dishonesty described in this Bible verse: “I have not sat with men of untruth; and with those who hide what they are I do not come in.” (Psalm 26:4) What is meant by “those who hide what they are”? Some Bible translations here read “hypocrites.” As one reference work notes, this expression can be applied to “those who hide their purposes or designs from others, or who conceal their real character and intentions.” How is such dishonesty practiced on the Internet? And what dangers does this present to those who are looking for romance?
    Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing
    A father named Michael was alarmed to learn at a seminar that a large proportion of children disobey parental rules against visiting dangerous Web sites. “What troubled me even more,” he says, “was the shocking realization that pedophiles can use the Internet to lure minors into debased sexual activities.” When youths use the Internet to meet new people, they can be in far more danger than they realize.
    Indeed, there have been news reports of adult sexual predators who pretend to be youths as they prowl the Internet seeking to prey on young ones. According to one study, “one-in-five kids who uses the Internet has been solicited for sex.” One newspaper also stated that 1 child in 33 between ages 10 and 17 were “aggressively stalked” through computer conversations.
    Some young people have found, to their surprise, that the “youth” with whom they shared a budding romance over the Internet was actually an adult prison inmate. Other young ones have unwittingly become involved with sexual predators. These vile people first “groom” a prospective victim, building trust through friendly on-line chat. In time, though, they seek to meet in person in order to carry out their perverted desires. Tragically, young people have been beaten, raped, and even murdered as a result.
    Wicked people do, indeed, “hide what they are” in order to find victims on the Internet. Such predators might remind you of Jesus’ illustration about false prophets who “come to you in sheep’s covering” but in truth are like “ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:15) Anonymous communication through the Internet can make it almost impossible to see through such deception. “When you talk with someone in person,” says George, quoted earlier, “you may learn something from his facial expressions and the tone of his voice. But on the Internet you don’t get any of that. It’s easy to be fooled.”
    Wise, indeed, is the Bible’s advice: “Shrewd is the one that has seen the calamity and proceeds to conceal himself, but the inexperienced have passed along and must suffer the penalty.” (Proverbs 22:3) Granted, not everyone you meet over the Internet is a dangerous predator. However, there are additional ways in which people “hide what they are.”
    The Dangers of Deception and Secrecy
    Not surprisingly, a common practice among those seeking romance on the Internet is to exaggerate or invent good traits and to minimize or conceal serious faults. Further, The Washington Post quoted an author as saying: “Internet dating can be bad because people get deceived.” It adds: “People often switch sexes. . . . Income levels, . . . race, criminal records, mental health histories and marital status often remain secret long into relationships.” To warn others, many people have reported painful experiences of being misled by Internet dates.
    Will people lie about something as important as their own spiritual side? Sadly, yes—some claim to be true Christians when they are not. Why all the deception? Again, one factor is that the Internet makes it easy. A young man from Ireland named Sean admits: “It’s very easy to pretend to be something you’re not when you’re typing onto a computer screen.”
    Many people take all this deception lightly, rationalizing that it is only natural to lie a little bit when embarking on a romance. Remember, though, that God hates lying. (Proverbs 6:16-19) And for good reason. Much of the pain and misery in this world stems from lying. (John 8:44) Dishonesty is the worst possible basis for any relationship, especially one that is intended to lead to a lifelong union. Worse, dishonesty is a spiritual danger; it damages the liar’s relationship with Jehovah God.
    Sadly, some young people have fallen into another sort of dishonesty. They have pursued relationships using the Internet and have hidden the fact from their parents. For example, the parents of a teenage son were startled one day when a young woman who did not share the family’s Christian beliefs arrived unexpectedly at their home after traveling over 1,000 miles [1,500 km]. Their son had been dating her on-line for six months, but they knew nothing about her existence until that moment!
    “How could this happen?” the parents asked. They thought, ‘Our son could not possibly have fallen for someone whom he had never met in person.’ In fact, their son had been deceiving them—in effect, hiding what he really was. Would you not agree that such deceptions are a poor foundation for a courtship?
    Choosing the Real Over the Virtual
    Internet dating may present other dangers. In some cases, an on-line friend can become more real than the people whom you see each day. Family, friends, and responsibilities become secondary. A young woman named Monika, in Austria, says: “I started to neglect important relationships because I spent much time on the computer with people I met on-line.” Troubled by this insight, she decided to quit using the Internet that way.
    Of course, many are able to make balanced use of the Internet. Communication by E-mail can be a very helpful way to stay in touch with friends and loved ones. Surely you would agree, though, that nothing is quite the same as face-to-face contact. If you are “past the bloom of youth”—the time when sexual desires are at their peak—and are interested in marriage, you are facing one of the most important choices you will make in your life. (1 Corinthians 7:36) By all means, make a responsible decision.
    The Bible advises: “Anyone inexperienced puts faith in every word, but the shrewd one considers his steps.” (Proverbs 14:15) Rather than believing all that is written to you by someone you have never met, consider your steps carefully. It is far wiser to initiate meeting and making friends in person. Find out if you are truly compatible, especially when it comes to your spiritual goals and values. Such a courtship can lead to a truly happy marriage.
    Some of the names have been changed.
    See the article “Young People Ask . . . ‘Should I Try Internet Dating?’” in the April 22, 2005, issue of Awake!
    [Pictures on page 12]
    Do you really know who is typing messages on the Internet?
    [Picture on page 14]
    When it comes to courtship, there is no substitute for meeting face-to-face


    Young People Ask . . .
    Chat Rooms—What Should I Know About Them?
    “Being shy, I can go into a chat room online and talk with people I normally would not talk to. They have no idea who I am.”—Peter.
    “In a chat room, you have the feeling that you can say whatever you want.”—Abigail.
    CHAT ROOMS are “areas” on the Internet where users can have live, two-way conversations via text messages. Chat rooms can accommodate large numbers of people, who can read and respond to each other’s messages.
    Some chat rooms are particularly appealing to youthful Internet users. Millions of young people from a variety of cultures exchange opinions daily on almost any subject. Some schools now tap this global resource. For example, with their teacher’s supervision, students in the United States might discuss social issues with fellow students in Spain, England, or elsewhere. Students may even chat about their class project with a qualified engineer, chemist, or another expert.
    Many people who visit chat rooms, though, are not there to discuss academic subjects. If you have access to the Internet, what dangers should you be aware of?
    A Hunting Ground for Sexual Predators
    “I was talking with some people in a chat room,” says Abigail, “when a man asked me if I knew any 14-year-olds. He wanted to have sex with them. He said that he was willing to give them money for sex.”
    Abigail’s experience is not an isolated one. The problem of online predators is so widespread that some governments have produced guides on how youths can be protected. For example, a publication of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the United States warns of individuals who immediately engage in sexually explicit talk. It also warns of those who “gradually seduce their targets through the use of attention, affection, kindness, and even gifts.”
    Describing the specific methods used by some of these predators, the FBI guide says: “They listen to and empathize with the problems of children. They will be aware of the latest music, hobbies, and interests of children. These individuals attempt to lower children’s inhibitions gradually by slowly introducing sexual context and content into their conversations.”
    It is not just perverted adults who pose a danger. You also need to beware of youths who are ignorant of or who deride the Bible’s moral standards. Consider the experience of a young man named Cody. He was chatting with other youths online when a girl invited him into a private chat area. She then asked him a sexually suggestive question. Cody had the self-control to terminate the conversation immediately.
    Because of a natural interest in sex, you may find it extremely difficult to react the way Cody did. Peter, mentioned earlier, admits: “I thought I had enough self-control to terminate a chat session if the subject turned to sex. But time and again, I found myself hanging on and chatting about sexual subjects. I felt bad later.” You may wonder, though, ‘If I hide who I am in a chat room, is there really any harm in talking about sex online?’
    Are Online Sex Discussions Harmful?
    The Bible talks openly about sex. (Proverbs 5:18, 19) Admittedly, humans have an increased interest in sex during youth. So you should talk about sex. You need answers to your questions on this important subject. However, the way you satisfy your curiosity about sexual matters will have a profound impact on your happiness, both present and future.
    If you choose to chat online about sex, even if it is with people who say they are your friends, your experience could well end up being like that of a young man described in the Bible. Out of curiosity, he wandered near the house of a prostitute. At first, she just talked to him. Once his desire was aroused, though, talk was not enough. “All of a sudden he is going after her, like a bull that comes even to the slaughter, . . . just as a bird hastens into the trap.”—Proverbs 7:22, 23.
    Similarly, talking about sex online could easily lead to your going after greater gratification. “I was chatting online with someone,” recalls a teen named Philip, “when an immoral picture popped up on my screen. The person I was chatting with had sent it to my computer.” Once your desire to consider sexually explicit material has been aroused, you may be tempted to pursue your interest further, such as in an adult chat room. Many who fall into the trap of viewing pornography go on to commit immorality and suffer the inevitable consequences.—Galatians 6:7, 8.
    People who want to talk about sex with you online do not have your best interests at heart. These strangers want to lure you into immoral talk—and possibly actions—to gratify their own desires. In an attempt to protect his son from a sexually exploitive person, King Solomon wrote: “Keep your way far off from alongside her, and do not get near to the entrance of her house, that you may not give to others your dignity, . . . that strangers may not satisfy themselves with your power.” (Proverbs 5:8-10) The principle behind this advice might be applied this way: Do not get near chat rooms where sexual topics are discussed so that you do not give your dignity to strangers who just want to satisfy themselves at your expense.
    “Those Who Hide What They Are”
    You may say, though, that you do not want to talk about sex online. Like Peter and Abigail, mentioned previously, you might see a chat room as a place where you can express yourself anonymously, without fear of embarrassment. Even so, there is another danger that you should be aware of.
    The anonymous nature of chat rooms could tempt you into becoming deceitful. Abigail says: “I would start conversations with people and then take on a personality to fit the conversation.” Like Abigail, you may be tempted to assume a different personality to fit in with a certain chat room group. You might conform to their standards of language or adopt their interests in an attempt to make new friends. Conversely, you may see a chat room as a place to express ideas and feelings that you think your parents or friends would disapprove of. Either way, you end up deceiving one group or the other. By pretending online to be someone you are not, you are deceiving your chat room contacts. On the other hand, if you do not express your real feelings and ideas to your family and friends, you are deceiving them.
    While chat rooms are a relatively recent phenomenon, the tendency for humans to lie and deceive is as old as history itself. The Bible reveals that the original liar, Satan the Devil, pioneered the tactic used by some chat room visitors. He disguised his real identity before telling his first lie. (Genesis 3:1-5; Revelation 12:9, 10) You can avoid being duped by liars by following King David’s example. “I have not sat with men of untruth,” he wrote, “and with those who hide what they are I do not come in.”—Psalm 26:4.
    As noted earlier, some chat rooms may serve a useful purpose. Nevertheless, youths who want to please Jehovah must exercise extreme caution in their use of this modern communication method. If you need to access one, such as for a school project, ask your parents or perhaps another mature adult to sit in on your session. A future article will highlight two additional reasons why you should be cautious about logging on to chat rooms. It will also discuss how you can deal with specific problems that might arise even if you are cautious about their use.
    Some names have been changed.
    The book Questions Young People Ask—Answers That Work contains sound, Bible-based advice regarding sex before marriage, masturbation, and other similar topics.
    Some chat rooms classed as adult theoretically limit access to those over a certain age. This is usually because the topics discussed and the pictures shared are pornographic. However, surveys reveal that youths as young as nine lie about their age to gain access to adult chat rooms.
    Since you cannot verify whom you are conversing with in a chat room, the person you are talking to may be pretending to be of the opposite sex, though actually being the same sex as you are.
    A Parent’s Guide to Internet Safety recommends that users never reveal their name, address, or phone number to strangers they meet in a chat room!
    [Picture on page 20, 21]
    Online discussions can be dangerous

  • JerkhovahsWitless

    The Bible’s Viewpoint
    The Internet—How to Avoid the Dangers
    IN A remote village in India, a farmer checks the price of soybeans in Chicago, U.S.A., to determine the best time to sell his crop. At the same moment, a pensioner smiles as she reads an E-mail from her grandson, a traveler sees the weather forecast at his destination, and a mother finds helpful material for her child’s homework—all through the Internet. With an estimated 600 million people connected worldwide, the Internet revolution has transformed the way the world communicates and does business.
    Especially has the younger generation, sometimes called the Cyber Generation, embraced the Internet. Increasingly, students use it to replace the library as a primary source of news and research. “In a nutshell, these students are . . . virtually 100 percent connected,” said Deanna L. Tillisch, director of a study involving college seniors in the United States. Yes, the Internet is a valuable tool in our modern society.
    Generally, the more powerful a tool is, the more dangerous it can be. A gas-powered chain saw can accomplish far more than a handsaw; yet, it must be used carefully. The Internet is likewise extremely powerful and useful, but we must exercise caution when using it, as it also poses serious dangers. Concern about these dangers has caused more than 40 member nations of the Council of Europe to draft an international treaty aimed at the protection of society against cybercrime.
    Why all the concern? What are some of the dangers that are of particular concern to Christians? Should they cause you to avoid using the Internet? What guidance does the Bible provide?
    Need for Caution
    Centuries ago, the Bible warned of dangers posed by evil men described as “master[s] at evil ideas” and “scheming to do bad.” (Proverbs 24:8) The prophet Jeremiah described them as “wicked men” whose “houses are full of deception.” Like birdcatchers, they “set a ruinous trap” to catch men and “gain riches.” (Jeremiah 5:26, 27) Technology has provided modern-day “wicked men” with deceptive traps of new dimensions. Let us consider some schemes that can present grave dangers for Christians.
    Internet pornography is a 2.5-billion-dollar-a-year industry. The number of pornographic Web pages has grown at the explosive rate of nearly 1,800 percent over the past five years. It is estimated that there are currently over 260 million of such pages, and the number continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. “Pornography is becoming so prevalent on the Internet that it is now difficult to avoid unwanted exposure, and this makes cybersex addiction more likely,” said Dr. Kimberly S. Young, executive director of the Center for On-Line Addiction.
    The Bible tells us that “each one is tried by being drawn out and enticed by his own desire.” (James 1:14) Viewing anyone with a computer as a potential victim, peddlers of pornography employ a variety of tactics to appeal to each one’s “own desire,” that is, “the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes.” (1 John 2:16) Their intent is to entice—or as Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words explains, “to lure by a bait”—unsuspecting Internet users whom they “try to seduce.”—Proverbs 1:10.
    Like wicked men in Bible times, pornographers frequently employ deception. It is estimated that as part of an aggressive effort to attract new customers, some two billion pornographic E-mails are sent each day. Often the unsolicited E-mails have subject lines that make them appear harmless. However, opening one can launch a barrage of immoral images that is difficult to stop. Requests to be removed from the mailing list may result in a deluge of further unsolicited pornographic messages.
    A birdcatcher carefully places seeds along a path. An unsuspecting bird pecks at one tasty seed after another until snap! the trap is sprung. Similarly, curiosity leads some to nibble at sexually stimulating imagery. And the viewers hope that no one is watching them. Finding it arousing, some return to this exciting and powerful imagery with increasing frequency. Shame and guilt may plague them. In time, what was once shocking becomes ordinary. For those inclined to view pornography, the Internet is like fertilizer that causes desires rapidly to grow into sinful actions. (James 1:15) Eventually such individuals may develop “a ‘dark side’ whose core is anti-social lust devoid of most values,” reports Dr. Victor Cline, a clinical psychologist who has treated hundreds of patients who were caught in this snare.
    The Dangers of Chat Rooms
    Internet chat rooms can be time wasters and are increasingly associated with relationship breakdowns. Expressing frustration over the amount of time his wife spends on-line, one man wrote: “When she gets in from work, the PC goes on and it can be five or more hours before she logs off. Our marriage is suffering as a result.” Yes, time spent on the Internet is time spent away from your mate and family.
    Angela Sibson, chief executive of the marriage guidance service Relate, says that the Internet “is a gateway to other relationships. They can be very potent and break up existing relationships.” What starts as a friendly on-line conversation in a chat room can quickly become something more serious. Intent on engaging in immoral relations, those “cunning of heart” use “smoothness of the tongue” to tell potential victims what they want to hear. (Proverbs 6:24; 7:10) Nicola, a 26-year-old victim from the United Kingdom, explains: “It was like a love bombardment. He kept saying how wonderful I was and I fell for it.” Dr. Al Cooper, editor of Sex and the Internet: A Guidebook for Clinicians, says that we need to “warn people about the slippery slope that starts with online flirting and too often ends in divorce.”
    Children are even more vulnerable to exploitation and harm by “computer-sex offenders.” Using “crookedness of speech” and “deviousness of lips,” pedophiles target inexperienced children. (Proverbs 4:24; 7:7) Engaging in a practice known as grooming, they shower the child with attention, affection, and kindness to make the youngster feel special. They seem to know everything a child is interested in, including that one’s favorite music and hobbies. Minor problems at home are accentuated in order to drive a wedge between the child and his or her family. To fulfill their evil desires, predators may even send their target victim a ticket to travel cross-country. The results are frightening.
    Bible Principles Can Safeguard You
    After assessing the dangers, some people have concluded that it is better for them to avoid using the Internet altogether. However, it must be acknowledged that only a small percentage of sites on the Internet pose a danger and that most users have not experienced serious problems.
    Thankfully, the Scriptures provide guidance to “safeguard” us from danger. We are encouraged to acquire knowledge, wisdom, and thinking ability. Such qualities will ‘keep guard over us’ to ‘deliver us from the bad way.’ (Proverbs 2:10-12) “But wisdom itself—from where does it come?” asked God’s ancient servant Job. The answer? “The fear of Jehovah—that is wisdom.”—Job 28:20, 28.
    “The fear of Jehovah,” which “means the hating of bad,” is the basis for developing godly attributes. (Proverbs 1:7; 8:13; 9:10) Love and reverence for God, along with a healthy respect for his power and authority, result in our hating and avoiding the bad things he hates. Clear thinking ability, coupled with godly knowledge, helps us recognize dangers that can poison our mind, heart, and spirituality. We come to abhor selfish and greedy attitudes that can wreck our family and destroy our relationship with Jehovah.
    So if you use the Internet, be aware of the dangers. Be resolved to keep God’s commandments, and avoid flirting with trouble. (1 Chronicles 28:7) Then, if Internet dangers confront you, you will wisely flee from them.—1 Corinthians 6:18.
    [Box on page 19]
    “Let fornication and uncleanness of every sort or greediness not even be mentioned among you, just as it befits holy people.”—Ephesians 5:3.
    “Deaden, therefore, your body members that are upon the earth as respects fornication, uncleanness, sexual appetite, hurtful desire, and covetousness.”—Colossians 3:5.
    “This is what God wills, . . . that each one of you should know how to get possession of his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in covetous sexual appetite such as also those nations have which do not know God.”—1 Thessalonians 4:3-5.
    [Box/Pictures on page 20, 21]
    A female police detective specializing in Internet crime invited Awake! to see the dangers of Internet chat rooms. She entered a chat room, posing as a 14-year-old girl. After just a few seconds, a number of individuals made contact. The strangers asked such questions as: “Where are you from?” “Are you a girl or a boy?” “Can we talk?” Several responses were from suspected sexual predators whom the police were tracking. That shows how easily a pedophile can get into a chat room with your child!
    Some parents think that children are safe when using chat rooms because their conversations are accessible by everyone in the chat room while the discussion is taking place. However, once in a chat room, you can be invited to have a one-on-one conversation. Referring to this practice, sometimes called whispering, the United Kingdom’s Internet Taskforce on Child Protection warns: “This is like stepping out of a party full of people into a private room and having a separate conversation with a stranger.”
    It is also important for parents to understand that most pedophiles want to do more than chat with a child. A paper prepared by the Internet Crime Forum reports: “Contact initiated in chat rooms may well be developed through other media, such as email and (mobile) phone.” A report from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation states: “While talking to a child victim on-line is a thrill for a computer-sex offender, it can be very cumbersome. Most want to talk to the children on the telephone. They often engage in ‘phone sex’ with the children and often seek to set up an actual meeting for real sex.”
    To accomplish this, computer-sex offenders will give out their phone number. Should your child call them, caller ID will reveal the child’s phone number. Other predators have toll-free numbers or tell the child to call collect. Some have even sent the child a cell phone. Offenders may also send letters, photographs, and gifts.
    Children are not the only ones succumbing to the dangers of chat rooms. Using smooth speech to tell women what they wanted to hear, one man recently made six women in the United Kingdom fall in love with him at the same time. One of the victims, Cheryl, an attractive 27-year-old postgraduate student, said: “I just can’t explain it now. It became so intense it took over my whole life.”
    “Women find cyberspace comforting because they are not being judged by their looks,” said Jenny Madden, the founder of Women in Cyberspace. “But they also leave themselves very open to manipulation because there is a tendency, in chat rooms particularly, to give away a lot about yourself very quickly.”
    “All I have to do is turn on my computer and I have thousands of women to choose from,” said one man questioned for a University of Florida research study conducted by Beatriz Avila Mileham. She stated: “The internet will soon become the most common form of infidelity, if it isn’t already.” “We are hearing from therapists around the country reporting online sexual activity to be a major cause of marital problems,” said Dr. Al Cooper, editor of the book Sex and the Internet: A Guidebook for Clinicians.
    In view of these sobering facts, it is wise to take sensible precautions when using the Internet. Talk to your children, and teach them how to protect themselves from danger. Equipped with proper knowledge, you can avoid the dangers of the Internet.—Ecclesiastes 7:12.

  • jwfacts

    If you look at the titles of each Watchtower article that mentions the internet, almost every single one is in regards to some danger of the internet. The article may contain a paragraph saying the internet has value in a particular area, but then devotes the rest of the article to what is wrong with it. This is terribly one sided, as the internet is a wonderful tool that has far more advantages than disadvantages.

    Here are the titles over the last few years.

    *** w063/1p.24par.9“KeepYourSensesCompletely”***

    9 Internet Web sites designed to help single individuals find a marriage partner are becoming popular. Some view these as a way to get to know people whom they would not otherwise meet. However, blindly entering into a relationship with a stranger involves real dangers. On the Internet, it can be difficult to distinguish fact from fiction. (Psalm 26:4) Not everyone who claims to be a servant of Jehovah really is. Moreover, with online dating, a strong attachment can develop quickly, and that can distort one’s judgment. (Proverbs 28:26) Whether via the Internet or by some other means, it is unwise to cultivate a close relationship with a person whom one knows very little about.—1 Corinthians 15:33.

    *** g059/22p.19ChatRooms—WhatShouldIKnowAboutThem?***

    If you have access to the Internet, what dangers should you be aware of?


    A HuntingGroundforSexualPredators

    Are OnlineSexDiscussionsHarmful?

    “Those WhoHideWhatTheyAre”

    Final paragraph

    As noted earlier, some chat rooms may serve a useful purpose. Nevertheless, youths who want to please Jehovah must exercise extreme caution in their use of this modern communication method. If you need to access one, such as for a school project, ask your parents or perhaps another mature adult to sit in on your session. A future article will highlight two additional reasons why you should be cautious about logging on to chat rooms. It will also discuss how you can deal with specific problems that might arise even if you are cautious about their use.

    *** g057/8p.29WatchingtheWorld***

    Internet UseintheNetherlands

    “One out of every 5 children between 11 and 12 years of age has been harassed with sexual insinuations by a stranger while chatting on the Internet,” claims a study reported in the Dutch newspaper AlgemeenDagblad. According to questionnaires handed out to 660 parents and 220 children between the ages of 8 and 12, more than half the children who use the Internet have had an occasional “unpleasant experience” by being confronted with “irritating mail (spam)” or with pornographic images or other inappropriate information. Most of the children reported the encounter to their parents. The study further notes that 8 out of 10 parents are worried about the dangers that their child may face by using the Internet, that nearly half the parents said they would like to give close supervision to their children as they use the Internet, that 60 percent of parents keep the computer in the living room to monitor their children, and that children average nearly an hour a day on the Internet playing games, sending electronic mail, and chatting.

    *** g054/22p.18“ShouldITryInternetDating?”***

    Final Summary Paragraph – “You can avoid heartache by heeding the Bible’s counsel: “Shrewd is the one that has seen the calamity and proceeds to conceal himself, but the inexperienced have passed along and must suffer the penalty.” (Proverbs 22:3) However, disappointment and hurt feelings are not the only dangers you might face in computer dating. A future article will consider additional problems.”

    *** g055/22p.12CanInternetDatingReallyBeDangerous?***

    Young PeopleAsk . . .

    Can InternetDatingReallyBeDangerous?

    “On the Internet, you may not actually know who the other person is.”—Dan, 17.

    “People can lie on the Internet. It’s easy to put on a front.”—George, 26.

    INTERNET dating continues to grow in popularity worldwide. As the preceding article in this series discussed, Internet romances may blossom quickly, but they often wither when reality sets in. Still, there is a greater cause for concern than mere disappointment. Dating in this fashion may put you in serious danger—whether physical, emotional, or spiritual.

    *** g0412/8p.18TheInternet—HowtoAvoidtheDangers***

    Yes, the Internet is a valuable tool in our modern society.

    Generally, the more powerful a tool is, the more dangerous it can be. A gas-powered chain saw can accomplish far more than a handsaw; yet, it must be used carefully. The Internet is likewise extremely powerful and useful, but we must exercise caution when using it, as it also poses serious dangers. Concern about these dangers has caused more than 40 member nations of the Council of Europe to draft an international treaty aimed at the protection of society against cybercrime.

    Why all the concern? What are some of the dangers that are of particular concern to Christians? Should they cause you to avoid using the Internet? What guidance does the Bible provide?


    So if you use the Internet, be aware of the dangers. Be resolved to keep God’s commandments, and avoid flirting with trouble. (1 Chronicles 28:7) Then, if Internet dangers confront you, you will wisely flee from them.—1 Corinthians 6:18.

    *** g0411/22p.28WatchingtheWorld***

    Internet Suicides

    Divorce, unemployment, and drug and alcohol abuse continue to be cited as the main factors contributing to a “large increase in suicides among young men” in England and Wales, according to an article in TheTimes of London. But Internet chat rooms where young people meet and arrange suicides are causing increasing concern. “The internet itself attracts those most prone to suicide: young men. Seventy-five per cent of suicides are by men and 80 per cent of those are committed by men aged 15 to 24,” says the paper. There may be thousands of so-called death sites on the Internet. “Most participants in suicide websites feel unloved and already seem to be contemplating suicide, or have attempted it, and there is plenty of advice on how not to be talked out of it,” the article adds. Some sites encourage the potential suicide victim to follow through with his plans rather than change his mind.

    *** g045/8p.28WatchingtheWorld***

    Gambling Housewives

    In Britain “housewives in growing numbers are becoming hooked on internet gambling sites, spending hours every day running up thousands of pounds in debt,” reports London’s SundayTelegraph. Women who would hesitate to enter a betting shop find the Internet far less intimidating. What is more, they can fit gambling into their daily routine at home. Many are becoming addicted, but because of the stigma usually attached to female gambling, often they do not admit to having a problem. According to the paper, Professor Mark Griffiths, of the University of Nottingham, said that the trend reflects a “mass cultural shift that is taking gambling out of the casino and into the home or workplace.” He also observed: “If you are a problem gambler, . . . the chances are that you will get barred from casinos or betting shops. With the internet, there is no gatekeeper.”

Share this