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Toys Parents Should Purchase with Caution

  • Mark Earley Prison Fellowship President
  • Published Dec 13, 2005
Toys Parents Should Purchase with Caution

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 dangerous.

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 for children. 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 pornography.

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.

Copyright © 2005 Prison Fellowship

BreakPoint is a daily commentary on news and trends from a Christian perspective. Heard on more than 1000 radio outlets nationwide, BreakPoint transcripts are also available on the  Internet. BreakPoint is a production of The Wilberforce Forum, a division of Prison Fellowship: 1856 Old Reston Avenue, Reston, VA 20190.