I’ve watched a few families face painful problems that might have some roots in young children’s easy access to the Internet. A too-common scenario is a young girl or boy with unmonitored, wide-open access to the Internet, sometimes on their own computer, soon exposed to pornography sent from new “friends” met in chat rooms. (Sadly, this can happen even when parents try to monitor things and establish rules, but I think it’s much more likely when the monitoring and controls are lax.) This can lead to unwholesome remote relationships with extensive damage done before parents realized anything was going on. The damage, in my opinion, includes grotesque misinformation about human sexuality and romantic relationships, setting children up for all kinds of problems later. Those problems include promiscuous behavior that is likely to lead to unwanted pregnancy, disease, heartbreak, and numerous missed opportunities for happiness and success in life.
The world we live in has become so foul in some areas that a few minutes of unmonitored access to some regions can cause lasting spiritual and psychological harm, just as a brief moment of using harmful drugs can permanently harm an individual. There are good reasons why our leaders in the Church repeatedly warn us to avoid pornography, a vice which can be like an addictive drug, one that alters how we view the world and tragically misinforms us, damaging relationships and making our souls more callous and insensitive to the things of God.
Parents, it is vital that you do all you can to keep this plague out of your home and to protect your children from exposure. Be careful about the access children have via computers, cell phones, and television. Talk with them and warn them about the dangers out there and what to do if they encounter something vile. Stay close to them and help them learn how to navigate the dangerous currents of our era.