Technological Toys: Are You Gift-Wrapping
Courtesy of BreakPoint Online
with Charles Colson
Every year my wife, Cynthia, and I look forward to picking
out Christmas gifts for our six children. Like any parents, we
try to give them things that they will like, but avoid things
that are not good for them. But a few weeks ago I discovered that
one of the hottest retail items this year may be one of the most
I realized this when I read an article by a former "BreakPoint"
writer named Daniel Weiss in the Washington Times titled:
"Christmas, Porn, and Children." Dan points out that
many of the most popular gadgets this year "come with ready
access to hardcore pornography."
For instance, there's the Apple Video iPod, capable of downloading
and storing up to 150 hours of video. Porn industry giants such
as Hustler, Penthouse, and Playboy, writes Dan, are formulating
content for the new handheld as we speak. And he says another
porn site, called SuicideGirls, "reportedly sold 1 million
downloads of nude models within a week of the video iPod's debut."
Then there are the new high-tech camera and video phones, which
are capable of wireless Internet access without filtering software.
These phones can capture and store up to three megabytes of digital
images. And the Sony PlayStation Portable is also Internet-ready
and can be used to download pornographic pictures and video without
any filtering from any wireless technology.
Appallingly, porn producers designed and released films for Playstation
Portable within weeks of its launch. And keep in mind, PlayStation
is intended for children.
Many parents have no idea that their kids have technological
toys that can access porn—or that they may be online viewing
filth when their parents think they are just playing a game.
What can you and I do about it? First, do not buy these porn-ready
gadgets. If your child needs a cell phone, buy the non-video kind.
Second, contact the companies that sell these things and demand
they provide parental controls. Third, contact the FCC and insist
that it develop guidelines for these new technologies.
But the most important thing you and I can do as parents is to
familiarize ourselves with the technologies we are buying for
our kids. Before you leave Best Buy or Circuit City with a new
game, before you sign a contract on that new cell phone, learn
what the thing can do and find out about the controls—or
the lack of controls. You should also talk with your kids about
responsible use of any electronics they already own.
If we do nothing, things will only get worse. In Europe and Asia,
wireless companies are already making huge profits from mobile
That is why we must fight the porn industry and its libertarian
supporters harder than ever. How absurd when a nation decides
that an adult's so-called "right" to view porn, anytime
and anywhere, trumps a child's right to be protected from it.
As philosopher Roger Scruton warns, societies endure only when
they are devoted to future generations. But "they collapse
like the Roman Empire when the pleasures and fancies of the living
usurp the inheritance of those unborn"—or of children
who become the intended consumers of the porn industry.
Note: This commentary was delivered by Prison Fellowship
President Mark Earley.
From BreakPoint, Copyright 2005 Prison Fellowship
with Chuck Colson" is a radio ministry
of Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with permission of
Prison Fellowship, P.O. Box 17500, Washington, DC, 20041-0500."
Heard on more than 1000 radio stations nationwide. For more information
on the ministry of Chuck Colson and Prison Fellowship visit their
web site at http://www.breakpoint.org.
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