The Internet is a universal communications medium that has something to offer members of every community. This is certainly true when it comes to Christians online! Christians who are prepared to do a little online digging can turn up an amazing variety of products and media created to suit their needs perfectly.
Online Christian Culture: The Good News About The Good News
For several decades, the Christian community (particularly in the United States) has made a conscious effort to develop their own, Godly alternatives to as many aspects of secular culture as possible. While this effort has occasionally resulted in media that even most Christians find somewhat silly, it has had an overall beneficial effect on the life of Christians.
This same effort to create and spread Christian-friendly media has embraced the opportunities offered by the Internet. Interested individuals can find a host of different Christian downloads freely available in every medium. From Christian music of every genre to Bible study materials to lifestyle handbooks written from a Christian perspective the Internet has a true wealth of free material to offer.
Threats To Watch Out For
The drawback to looking for free Christian material online is that it seems that Christian-friendly online culture on Internet is a few years behind the time, just as it has been when entering other media in the past. Searching for Christian downloads can sometimes feel like a trip back to 2007. The resources which are available are badly spread out, with few centralized repositories. Many sites rely on poor hosting solutions, making them likely to disappear without warning.
Most troubling, Christian sites seem to be especially vulnerable to security risks that the secular online world has moved past. Unethical (“black hat”) marketing techniques are used to ferry users looking for Christian materials to very dubious sites offering “deals” that are barely connected to the users’ search terms. Viruses and malware abound. In the most extreme cases, innocent searches for Christian materials can lead directly to pornographic sites. Individuals who go hunting for downloads with a Christian message are strongly advised to make sure their security software is up to date.
Special Advice For Christian Families
Because of the risks outlined above, it’s especially important for Christian parents to exercise the utmost caution regarding their children’s browsing. Supervised browsing is strongly recommended to ensure that children don’t run afoul of redirect traps or expose their computers to malicious software.
Online filtering programs are one genre where it doesn’t make sense to hunt for Christian alternatives. Internet filters that are marketed exclusively to Christian users tend to be shoddy and out of date. The major secular security programs do a far better job of restricting browsing, and since they are designed to protect children their choices of what to block and what to let through are closely in line with Christian values.
While the Internet is not without its hazards for Christian browsers, these are not so different from the risks taken by secular Internet users. The same common sense security precautions will serve to keep Christians safe and allow them to take full advantage of the many useful downloads available to them.