Article by Dr. John Lapp, a licensed, clinical counselor (he may be reached at 502-477-2818).

Internet has had both a positive & a negative impact on our society.  This article is about some of the negative effects, namely the speed that the production of lurid sexual material referred to by experts as “cybersex,” has permeated “the information highway.”  However, as is often the case, the Internet was initially deemed as a wonderful tool for learning about a vast number of things, things often out of touch for the average person, whether child or adult.  Access to the Internet, and more specifically sex on the Internet, is on the rise in America, and is unfortunately accessible to all ages.  Experts have often stated more recently, “it is not necessary for the viewer to search for it as, without the viewer knowing, it will search for you.”

Statistics presented at the turn of this century reflected that there were hundreds of thousands of Web sites dedicated to selling sex in some way – this does not include chat rooms, e-mail, or other forms of sexual content on the Web.  In a recent publication, it was stated that “about 200 sex-related Web sites are added each day!”  In fact it is estimated that it constitutes the third largest economic sector on the Web, with only software and computers ranking first and second, and the economic impact is into billions of dollars annually.   (It must be understood that the Internet, for the general population of users, is a communications tool that is inherently neither good nor bad.)

It has been my experience as a practicing professional in the field of mental health for more than 40 years, that the problem is on the rise even in homes and families described as “Christian.”  I have witnessed in my practice the increasing number of couples whose marriages were hanging on the brink of divorce due to this problem and its effect on the marriage.   In addition, the “adults-only” material that is portrayed is becoming more and more available for children and adolescents.  Here is a “Warning Label” attached to this article:  MAKE SURE YOU ARE ALWAYS AWARE WHAT YOUR CHILD IS VIEWING, EVEN THOUGH WHEN YOU LAST LOOKED, THE MATERIAL APPEARED TO BE HARMLESS!

Especially be aware of your teen-aged adolescent males, who may find themselves ‘drawn’ to these websites, at first out of curiosity which can eventually lead to addiction. A final note on this subject:  Before the age of “cybersex”, a man would sneak into a movie theatre wearing sunglasses, shirt-collar up, ball-cap pulled down low on the forehead, and find a seat away from most viewers, so as not to be seen.  Now, he can sit in a room in his own house, often undetected by others, and watch anything he desires.  However, God is forever watching!!

Helpful Tools for a Safer Internet:

Safe Eyes – Filtering Software (for families w/ kids)
X3Watch – Accountability Software (for men / ladies)