Some of the most useful tools we have can be misused as weapons, and the Internet is no exception. That was one of the topics addressed at this year’s Safe Church conference, held annually in Waterloo, Ontario.
The Internet provides easy access to information and images that can be used as resources for education or connection. But this easy access can also create exposure to harmful sites that negatively impact relationships and communities.
At the conference, held at Waterloo Christian Reformed Church, speakers addressed some of the questions and issues surrounding the Internet and its potential for abuse.
How does pornography affect marriage and family relationships? What does it do to a person’s development—biologically, relationally, and emotionally? How can we protect our families and communities?
Several speakers explored these questions. They discussed its damaging effect on churches and individuals. One shared a personal story of the destruction caused by pornography and talked about what churches can do to make a difference.
Workshops focused on practical steps churches and families can take to protect themselves and those close to them. Natasha Pinczuk discussed how churches can develop social media policies. What should go onto a church website or social networking site? Who makes these decisions? How can a church avoid abuse, maintain privacy, respect audiences, and maintain values?
Leslie Waye looked at restorative justice and its relationship with those affected by abuse. Detective Sergeant Eugene Silva, specializing in technological crime, led workshop participants through the dangers of the Internet and talked about how to protect families and children.
Organizers and attendees were pleased with the event. “Any stories on safe church issues such as social media policies are always welcome and useful to churches,” said Safe Church team member Rev. Carel Geleynse. “The more exposure such issues have, the better!” —Anita Brinkman Related stories: Ontario Congregation Faces Pornography Issue Seminary Panel Tackles “Blight of Pornography” Live Free from the Grip of Porn Teens, Sexting, and Playboy Under the Mattress Internet Pornography and Abuse (The Network) The Making of Internet Pornography: When Children Pay the Price (The Network)