Policy / Support Protections for Children Online

Support Protections for Children Online

Southern Baptists believe that children are a gift from the Lord, and that it is the responsibility of their parents to raise them in a manner that glorifies God. The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 affirms that “children … are a blessing and heritage from the Lord … Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth.”

Southern Baptists affirm that technology can be harnessed for good or evil. In the 2023 resolution “On Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technologies,” Southern Baptists encouraged “all who employ these tools to do so in honest, transparent, and Christlike ways that focus on loving God and loving our neighbor as ourselves.” Additionally, in the resolution “On Educating Children,” Southern Baptists recognized that “involved parents are the ultimate influence in the lives of their children” and urged parents and churches to “research and monitor the entertainment and educational influences on children.”

With many children gaining unsupervised access to the internet at younger and younger ages, there has been an explosion in awareness of the harms this is bringing to many children. New data has demonstrated the detrimental effects on mental health, learning, and self-image that have come as a result from unhindered access for minors. Current laws allow much of this to happen without the knowledge or consent of parents.

More must be done to prevent children from accessing harmful content, such as pornography, and to empower parents in overseeing the online activity of their children. One such proposal that the ERLC is advocating for is the Eyes on the Board Act which requires schools to block access to social media sites and develop screen time policies in order to receive federal resources in the form of E-Rate funding.

The ERLC is vocal in seeking to protect children from harmful information and bad actors online. With a rise in human trafficking stemming from online encounters and an increasing number of children making social media accounts, the ERLC is actively exploring ways to reinforce the right of parents to oversee their child’s activity online while also seeking to prohibit bad actors from gaining access to children through the internet.

The ERLC remains committed to empowering parents and pushing back against a culture that weaponizes technology to exploit children and families. 

SBC Actions

Southern Baptists spoke to the protection of children from various forms of media at the 2005 annual meeting in the Resolution On Educating Children.

Latest Resources

Support Protections for Children Online

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