Experts Say Internet Porn Use Growing Exponentially...Even Among Christians

Agape Press Editor's note: The following story is based on actual events. Names and details have been altered to protect identities.

For the Martin family, the beginning of the end started while Josh was recuperating from knee surgery. At home alone for three weeks while his wife, Ellen, was at work and the children were at school, Josh spent hours on the Internet.

His online routine -- repeated several times a day -- included checking his e-mail, searching Ebaymotors for a wiring harness and other hard-to-find parts for his '84 Volvo, tracking the progress of his 401K, and monitoring five news sites. Following countless links from these sites meant he was regularly logging over eight hours online daily. So Josh had no idea when, where or how the porn spammers captured his e-mail address.

By the second week at home, Josh's inbox volume had increased to over 100 messages a day, many from porn sites. Some even included small teaser photos of young women engaged in unspeakable acts. Others were simple text messages with sexually provocative subject lines such as "I want to know what you are thinking."

Josh knew better. And what would the guys at church say? But he was sure no one would find out, especially if he deleted his browser history and trashed the e-mail.

How the whole thing went from checking out a couple of porn sites to instant messaging Michelle is a blur. After just a few sessions, their conversations went from small talk to sex talk. Josh's secret fantasy world was overtaking his real world.

Even when he returned to work, he would spend most of the day checking hiseE-mail and messaging his new soulmate. His boss noticed Josh's lack of productivity, but blamed it on a slow recovery from surgery.

Josh was the one who first suggested a face-to-face rendezvous. Michelle was quick to agree. A bogus business trip to Phoenix provided the perfect opportunity.

Josh had told Ellen his return flight was due at 10 a.m. Monday, and that he would be back in the office by noon. So, she was confused by the phone message from Josh's boss asking if he was sick.

It was nearly 11 p.m. Monday before Josh called. Ellen had imagined the worst, or so she thought. Tears of relief suddenly turned to numb shock as Josh announced in a voice remarkably devoid of emotion that he would not be coming home -- ever.

Emotional Crack

The addictive power of Internet pornography has been compared to crack cocaine, and even Christians are succumbing to the compulsion in huge numbers. "Internet porn is the number one plague in the church," says Doug Weiss, director of Heart to Heart Counseling of Colorado Springs, Colorado. "Five years ago I couldn't get into a church to talk about this issue," he said. "Now I can't get out. Pastors are overwhelmed."

While Weiss and others are helping men -- and growing numbers of women -- to break the chains of Internet porn addiction, a unique company associated with the American Family Association is working to keep Internet porn out of homes in the first place, while maximizing access to good online content.

Bsafe Online has developed the most powerful and accurate Internet filter available. The list of endorsements for Bsafe's technology -- branded under the name of afafilter.com -- include Promise Keepers, Campus Crusade for Christ, Crown Financial Ministries, Gospelcom.net, For Faith and Family, John Bramlett Ministries, Heart to Heart Counseling, Kanakuk Kamps and Dave Ramsey.

The endorsement from Ramsey was a particularly rewarding sanction to acquire. The nationally known radio talk show host had been so badly burned by advertising filtering products that he had sworn off ever endorsing another Internet filtering product.

"It took several months to convince Ramsey and his staff to even test the filter," said Glen Fradenburg, Bsafe chairman. "Now Ramsey is one of our most enthusiastic supporters. He reports not a single complaint since Bsafe began advertising on his show."

Bsafe's state-of-the-art Internet filter was developed by software programmers who had previously worked in missile defense technology. While it is still the company's stock-in-trade, Bsafe is driven by more simple ideas. "It's no longer a question of having good children or bad children; or having the self-control not to visit porn sites," Fradenburg says. "The sheer volume of horrendous material on the Internet means that if your computer is unfiltered, your family is going to be exposed.

"Unlike most Internet service providers who offer weak 'parental controls' mostly as a marketing strategy, Bsafe is committed to using our technology to making the home a safe place for families and children. It's the reason we exist."

Rusty Benson is associate editor of AFA Journal, a monthly publication of the American Family Association. This article appeared in the February 2004 issue.

American Family Association (http://www.afa.net)

Bsafe Online (http://bsafehome.com)

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