A recent debate in the House of Lords has revealed the need to tackle internet pornography and its impact on people in the UK. In the light of the worrying escalating number of “cyber sex addicts”, the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev Richard Harries, appealed for a consensus to clearly define obscenity and whether or not adults should have access to obscene or pornographic material.
Rev Harries said a possible 200,000 people are now “cyber-sex compulsives”. By next year, the turnover for pornographic websites is expected to reach $5 billion a year. He said that child pornography has become the main problem, with 5 million images of child abuse circulated on the internet, featuring around 400,000 children.
According to the prominent Christian charity 'Care' in the UK, around 3.8 million British home users logged onto an adult site in June 2001 and 1 in 5 Internet users under 17 are logging on to sexually explicit sites. Among the working people, 6% of employees use their work computer for sexual purposes about 1 to 10 hours per week and 70% of all adult Internet traffic occurs during the 9-to-5 working day.
Christian Charity Care held a conference to address internet pornography earlier this month. With the theme “In Search of Intimacy”, 300 church delegated gathered and discussed the threat of internet pornography to Christian faith, Christian life and the Church.
On the conference, Addiction Expert David Partington sharply pointed out that this is one of the problems the Church has to deal with, “Thousands - if not tens of thousands - of men, and some women, will exit the Church leaving all sorts of excuses.”
“But God has answers. And contrary to what most people expect, they are basic biblical answers,” Partington continued.
In addition, Belfast-based child abuse specialist Dr Alice Swann condemned that the pornography industry has constructed a hellish ‘world of destruction’ which mars the image of God in people’s lives.
Internet pornography viewers are very likely to get addicted. Very often, the addicts find guilt within themselves and towards their spouse, however, they are also too shameful to seek help.
Rob Parsons, Family Executive Director of Care, gave an emotional plea for purity as people seek closer relationships with God and each other and emphasised the love of God for those who fall.
Parsons told the conference, “Nothing you do can make God love you more... and nothing you can do can make him love you less. When you were his enemy, he loved you.”
Care’s General Director Nola Leach spoke of the charity’s deep concern for helping those who struggle with internet pornography. Currently, on the official website of Care, there are many online resources to educate the public about pornography addiction and offer possible solution for getting rid of the habit.
To tackle the problem, the Bishop of Oxford, Rev Harries said, “Most of these sites are situated abroad. There is no escaping the need for international co-operation, followed by international action.”
In addition, he urged Internet service providers to do more to vet the Pornography Web pages on their systems.
Care, has recently introduced a special software called The Covenant Eyes. As the addicts sign up for The Covenant Eyes Programme they will be asked to provide the names of two “Accountability Partners”, whom they have accountable relationships.
The “Accountability Partners” will receive by email regularly an accountability log, which is a record of all of the sites the addicts visited, including the web addresses and amount of time they spent online. The programme effectively reduces temptation of internet pornography and eliminates secrecy so as to help the addicts to stay away from their old habits.
Churches Awaken To Tackle Internet Pornography
"But God has answers. And contrary to what most people expect, they are basic biblical answers"
Published 25 October 2004