Church silent on tech topics?

Steve Kryger

The ABC reported last week that children as young as 11 are accessing pornography.

Sydney University Department of medicine psychologists Professor Raj Sitharthan and his wife Dr Gomathi Sitharthan surveyed 800 people about their pornography use...

"The starting age to view porn was between 11-13 years, which actually surprised us, given that at such an early age people do seem to have some form of access to sort of look at porn material," Professor Sitharthan told the ABC's 7.30.

11 years old! This is frightening, isn't it? What is also frightening is that most parents assume that it's 'other kids' that are doing this. As I speak at schools and churches on the topic of 'keeping kids safe online', I'm constantly shocked by the general ignorance of parents - 'digital immigrants' - when it comes to issues of technology.

I don't say this to offend parents - in fact, I sympathise with them. Speaking personally, the prospect of one day raising a child in this ever-changing world is daunting, and is one that I can only consider pursuing in God's strength. 

The internet constantly provides new opportunities and challenges. For example, the internet was originally only available only on desktop computers. Then it was on laptops. Now it is available on mobile phones and other mobile devices. This explains why porn is so accessible. As the study explained:

"It's quite easy. You can be sitting anywhere at any time and access porn even via your telephone, mobile phone," Dr Sitharthan said.

Even moving past the problem of porn, there's a need for the church to speak to these issues of technology as they impact on our daily lives. In a recent Barna Study on how technology is impacting families, David Kinnaman...

“...expressed the need for the Christian community to expand its concept of stewardship. “Perhaps technology should be added to discussions about stewardship. Technology is as old as craftman’s tools. But today’s digital and emerging technologies are in a different class than hundreds of other hobbies or interests because they have come to significantly define the use of time, the development of talent, and the allocation of money.”

This is an important challenge for Christian leaders. 

The internet is changing every aspect of our lives, and presents distinct challenges for Christian living.

  • How we read the Bible.
  • How we relate to our friends.
  • How we find a spouse.
  • How we spend our time.
  • Howe we look for information.
  • How we are entertained.
  • How we seek significance.

The list goes on. 

There is no area of our lives that technology, and the internet in particular, doesn’t reach into. There is a growing need to equip Christians to honour God in this  constantly evolving tech-saturated world.

How do you think this can best be approached?