On the morning of July 10, 2019, after years of seeking to bring to light the exposure and exploitation of children on the internet, Chris McKenna had his chance to testify before the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary. The title of the hearing, Protecting Innocence in a Digital World, sounds like a break-out session for a Safe Church conference.
Chris McKenna is the founder of Protect Young Eyes and has been a featured speaker at several Safe Church conferences. He is an expert in technology, addiction, and how addiction to the net affects behavior. Protect Young Eyes has campaigned to raise the recommended age for apps popular among teens to 17 and over and to update app online descriptions to reflect dangers on the platform such as pornography, sex trafficking, and prostitution.
Snapchat and Instagram are the most popular apps among teens and the negative influence of these apps has been noticed by members of congress. Senate Judiciary member Marsha Blackburn has pressed the Chief Executive of Snapchat by letter to “take action to prevent more children from being exposed to sexual predators and explicit adult content while using Snapchat.”
This hearing is an exciting start for Christians who have been lamenting the bullying, child abuse, pornography and sex trafficking that is facilitated by the web. The congressmen and congresswomen assembled were able to ask questions of a panel of experts on subjects that focused on possible solutions. They were looking for methods to limit the access of children to dangerous sites while respecting privacy and parent’s rights.
Many asked for specific ways to help parents succeed in protecting their children. Some of the suggestions from the panel included app descriptions with age-based defaults and uniform, independent, and accountable rating systems for apps. The FTC has been tasked with the overwhelming mandate to monitor the internet and the agency representatives will be called to testify at a hearing in the future. This is an ongoing discussion but it is a first step to celebrate.
We must not end with celebration but continue cautiously with much prayer. There is a lot of revenue involved so there is inherit danger for those who are brave enough to kick the hornet’s nest. Pray for Chris McKenna, panel members, and legislators who are brave enough to tackle this complex problem.
A complete summary of all news, social media, and C-SPAN activity, which includes a clean video of the July 9th hearing, is available at https://protectyoungeyes.com/my-statement-to-the-senate-judiciary-commit...
We look forward to having Chris McKenna lead a workshop at Inspire 2019 on Digital Trends 2019: Protecting Kids in an Increasingly Hostile Online World. Questions to be explored include: What is the role of the Church? What can we do as parents, grandparents, and brothers and sisters in Christ?