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Protecting our family in the age of the Internet
Dan Oakes, a licensed professional counselor, is shown with his family. Back row, from left: Kyle Black, Dan and Bryce Oakes. Front row, from left: Amanda Oakes Black, Naomi, Shannon, Lizzy and Becca Oakes. There are many dedicated professional counselors like Dan Oakes who can advise and help a troubled person. Do not hesitate to seek out their services to help a loved one heal. - photo by Sherry Young
The world poses some scary scenarios these days, and many of them are seen on the Internet and through other media sources. We live in a world of instant knowledge and awareness some good, some bad.

Grit and I, and many of our friends, often comment how we are glad that we are not rearing children in this day and age. Our hope is, even though our children were reared in a more innocent era, our children are still better equipped to deal with what is facing their children.

My growing up years were very innocent. When I was about 11, I remember passing my arm across my chest and feeling two bumps. As I investigated, a sick feeling came over me, and I knew it must be cancer.

I suffered with these feelings for some time. Since I was going to die, I decided to repent and start treating my sister better. I also wanted to keep this awful knowledge from my parents so they wouldnt become sad about my dying.

Finally, I couldn't bear it any longer and confided my tragedy to my mother. Instead of looking sad she, of course, actually looked like she was about to laugh. She gathered me to her and told me it was just part of growing up, and I did not have cancer at all.

What a relief!

However, then I had to face the facts of life that all seemed pretty confusing, but at least I knew I wouldnt die from them.

Innocence can easily be stolen away. This was brought out in an article by John Shinal for USA Today regarding YouTube Kids, a new app Google planned for young children.

He writes of having hopes the technical people at Google would realize how harmful it would be to bombard preschool kids with online video ads and entire channels of content wholly controlled by corporate sponsors.

He surmised they would be aware of the studies that show sitting a child in front of a screen is not as beneficial as human-to-human contact where a child is held and read to.

Now the app is out, Shinal feels the product is worse than he feared, and he is backed up by other advocacy groups.

He goes so far as to say, YouTubes kids app is anti-family, and it cries out loudly for regulation of Internet content targeted at children.

He hopes the rest of us will get vocal about the app in hopes of protecting the most vulnerable group of our residents, our young children, from harmful and exploitative Internet content.

Last month, the bishop of our congregation invited Dan Oakes, a licensed professional counselor, to speak to a group of parents and their teenagers on pornography and sexual addiction.

Oakes emphasized how the sexual desire in us was put there for the purpose of building and maintaining families. It needed two dimensions in order to ensure this would happen. First, it needed to be strong, and second, it had to be constant to bind us to family life.

Parents must teach children early and consistently, giving them progressive developmental facts. Then the home should model and demonstrate strong, abiding affection and respect. If they do not explain and teach them, a childs natural curiosity of their sexuality will lead them to learn from their peers and others who may do it in a negative manner.

Pornography is designed to destroy this by creating immediate and self-gratification. It disconnects the physical connection from the emotional.

Oakes said, 90 percent of the individuals that I work with who have pornography addiction started looking at porn provided to them by their parents in their home. The parents unwittingly and unintentionally provided porn to their child through unfiltered Internet access. This access was at the root of the development of their addiction.

He reminded us that we all have many electronic devices in our homes, and they all must have limited access and filters on them. The key is to watch, guard and guide.

In the age of the Internet and all things sexual, parents should be equally yoked and vigilant in carrying out the policing of the content that comes into their homes.

These cautions made me realize grandparents have the same responsibility, especially since we generally are not as Internet savvy as the children.