The Word on the Week

Wicked Web

In a week where we were treated to politicians behaving badly in the Dail the RTE graphically depicted the serious outcomes of teenage girls behaving badly on the internet. Unlike the antics in the Dail which were deliberate and planned the posting of sexy photographs of themselves on the social media ending up on global porn sites, was totally unplanned, causing great distress to the girls concerned.

This harvesting of images is the first step in this disgusting industry and can lead to online grooming with the predator using sexually explicit language and possibly a fictitious identity. These photos cannot be recalled or deleted however much the victim tries. Furthermore when access is given to an unknown person, however attractively they may portray themselves, that person has access to all her face book friends as well.

The vulnerability of young people is exposed further when they give expression to their teenage tantrums to their friends. “I hate my family, I hate my friends, I want to run away, my life is miserable.” For the predator who is out hunting the networks these comments are seized upon like wolves stalking a wounded animal.

RTE created a fictitious identity on the internet and called her Amy. She went live in October. Before the end of the month she had accumulated 1,000 friends. These were people who could not possibly have known Amy as she did not exist! Within a week she received messages from teenage boys encouraging her to engage in conversations of a sexual nature. This was quickly followed by adults from Ireland and abroad with the conversations becoming progressively more explicit. These texting conversations may lead to clandestine meetings of an even more sinister nature.

In the North there has been legislation to address these matters for the last 6 years. In the South the Sexual Offences Bill has been written but not yet enacted.

However no amount of legislation or software programs can change the will of a person who is determined to dabble in this stuff. It’s an area where all too often parental advice and teacher guidance falls on deaf ears. An iPad in the bedroom can so easily lead to the bondage of a lifelong addiction.

It needs the bottle of a Daniel (at age 12) who stood against the prevailing culture and did not get mixed up with the idolatry of the land of his captivity (Daniel Chapter 1 verses 8-16). This inauspicious start led to a lifelong obedience to God.

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth…the Bible records…he learned obedience through what he suffered and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him (Hebrews Chapter 5 verses 7-9.

We need to turn from self indulgence, listen to Jesus’ call to follow him, resist the wicked cultural influences and bad role models and to continue to follow him through the suffering recognising the he procured our salvation through the cross.