Google and porn have been hooked up since… well… since the company first started crawling the Internet. Just a quick search on the ubiquitous web portal can bring unwitting (and witting) web sleuths face to face with the seedy red-light district of the online world. “Safe search” options can prevent some of this, but with massive revenue from web and mobile advertising pouring into Google’s coffers, safe search became not-so-safe.
Here’s why PornHarms.com, a Christian group fighting the disastrous impact of pornography, put the company on its “Dirty Dozen” list:
“Google AdWords is a very profitable wing of Google that provides online advertising to companies and individuals. Google AdWords prohibits the promotion of pornography where sexual organs are shown, but we have found that this rule is not often followed and Google frequently approves pornographic ads. Furthermore, the policy should be that Google does not promote pornography in any way.”
After many groups complained about Google’s loose standards regarding its ads and faulted it for not protecting children, the behemoth finally responded:
“Google sent an email out alerting their advertisers—particularly pornography and other adult themed websites—that they will be implementing their new advertising policy which eliminates pornographic and sexually explicit ads. In addition, it seems Google will also no longer link to sites that contain such materials, no matter how benign their advertising.”
Pastor and blogger Jarrid Wilson added his voice to those praising this decision. For him, porn isn’t simply a theoretical problem. It’s in our faces:
“As a pastor, pornography is an addiction that I’ve helped many people find freedom from. This is a joyful day for anyone who sees the harm in which the porn industry provokes for its viewers, and for those involved in its cultivation.”
Still, Google hasn’t addressed the other concerns PornHarms.com has pointed out. YouTube continues to provide unfiltered access to thousands of explicit clips, and the company does not adequately police sexual content on the GooglePlay app store for Android devices.
With all that’s available on the Internet from Google and other companies, parents must be vigilant in protecting their children. One thing that Felicia Alvarez recommends is watching out for the 9 most dangerous apps for kids on their smartphones:
“The bad guy’s not just at the bus stop anymore. He has entrance right into your kid’s bedroom and hand-held cellphone device. Sexual predators can target your children even when your child is in the room down the hall. And sexual predators aren’t the only problem. Cyber-bullying and exposures to sexually inappropriate content are additional concerns.
“New apps are constantly being created, so it’s important to monitor what your child downloads. Being aware of the online tricks predators use will help you know what to look for.”
What about you? What impact has porn had on your family or friends? How can Christians stay safe in the virtual jungle? What are some of the dangerous sites and apps?