On Tuesday, the Virginia Crime Commission decided to recommend no legislative remedies regarding "sexting," an obscene and predatory version of text messaging. The same day, The Family Foundation participated in a Capitol press conference (see coverage at  Richmond Times-Dispatch) with Attorney General Bill Mims, Enough is Enough and the Interfaith Center for Public Policy to announce a joint venture to educate churches on Internet safety.

The Internet is an expanse of exploration and offers a joy of discovery and learning, but it also has a dark side populated by hardcore pornography and sexual predators. Keeping children safe while they explore the Web is a full time job. To help parents, Enough is Enough produced "Internet Safety 101," a DVD program that helps parents understand the dangers of the Internet and how to protect their children.

As technology advances, the threats to children have moved far beyond chat rooms and My Space, to cel phones and even game systems like PS2 and Xbox. Unfortunately, too few parents are equipped to monitor everything that their children see online, or on their cel phone. "Internet Safety 101" provides the tools necessary for child protection.

At the news conference (see WHSV.com), we announced a joint effort between ourselves, the Attorney General's officePastors For Family Values (our pastors outreach ministry), and the Interfaith Center for Public Policy, where we will distribute 1,000 Internet Safety kits, upon request, to churches across Virginia. Churches can then use the material to train their congregations to better understand the threats that exist and how to combat them. We also will conduct a joint training for pastors and other church leaders on Thursday, March 4, 2010, in Richmond.

Here's a quote from Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb from the news conference (see WTVR.com/CBS6):

Over the years, The Family Foundation has urged the General Assembly to pass stronger penalties for child pornography and to do as much as possible to protect our children and our families on the Internet, but with the freedom that exists on the World Wide Web, we know that this goes far beyond anything government can really do. We as parents must take the necessary steps to protect our families. With the assistance of churches, we can educate and inform thousands more families, protect thousands more children, and hopefully, even save some lives. The materials produced by Enough is Enough are timely, they are effective, they are powerful, and they will absolutely help families in Virginia deal with the dangers that lurk on the Internet.

Clearly, these issues go beyond simply passing new laws (see WWBT/NBC12.com). We as parents, families and churches must do more to ensure that the experiences our children have on the Internet are safe. Our hope is that churches in our network will take advantage of these free resources and help their congregations learn the ins and outs of Internet safety.

If you’d like more information about this material for your church please call John Smith in our office at 804-343-0010 or e-mail him at john@familyfoundation.org.

InternetSafety2(Photo courtesy of the Office of Attorney General.)