The Desert Fathers repeatedly caution Christians regarding the need to guard the senses: not only to be aware of the things that we see, hear, discuss, and think about, but to actually place limits on the doors of our senses, carefully filtering that which enters, since every impression on the mind produces a life-long seed for future ideation and the stimulation of passions. Even the ancient pagans understood something of this.
In the modern age, current technologies – almost all of them used for entertainment – allow a never-ending stream of noise, images, and chat to flood our senses. This is almost inevitable in any urban setting, unless a very determined effort is made to guard against it.
One of these technologies, the Internet, provides many opportunities to explore and experience new things. Like any tool, it can be used for good and eviL. This is especially true for our youth and children.
Here are some tools to help us in the struggle to ensure we are not polluting our senses through the Internet.
Every computer on your network uses DNS (Domain Name Server) to look up every site it accesses. Generally speaking, this DNS server is supplied by your Internet service provider (ISP). ScrubIT is a service that offers users its own DNS that blocks pornographic sites. When a person accesses a pornographic site, they receive a simple page telling them that the site is off limits.
The beauty of ScrubIT is its simplicity. A person has only to change the DNS setting on the home router from the DNS provided by the ISP to ScrubIT’s DNS. As long as the home router has a password that only a responsible adult knows, no youth or child can override the blocking.
OpenDNS is the exact same idea as ScrubIT, but offers more flexibility in the fact that you can customize which sites are blocked and which are not. Unlike ScrubIT, a person could block Facebook or any other site if it is a problem in the household.
The home version of OpenDNS is free, but there is a more powerful Pro version available, as well.
3. Safe Eyes
Safe Eyes is an application that protects families from all sorts of issues. It not only blocks access to pornography, but also allows a person to control whether children can give anyone their names online or participate in chat rooms. There are many options with this product, which can be customized to fit many needs.
Although the first two options are excellent in terms of blocking unwanted sites in any home, they do not provide a complete solution for child safety on the Internet. For example, they do not offer parental controls as to whether a child can give his name to a stranger or participate in chat rooms.
To get more complete safety for our children and youth, we recommend using either ScrubIT or OpenDNS in conjunction with SafeEyes or an equivalent application. Between these two solutions working together, the Internet will be a safer place for our children and youth seeking to block their senses from evil.