December 03, 1999 05:39am
Southern Baptists Launch Web Service
by: MARTA W. ALDRICH
(NASHVILLE, TN) -- The Southern Baptist Convention has launched an Internet service intended to filter out pornography, violence, bigotry and other material deemed a stumbling block to personal and spiritual growth.
The service, at www.lifewayonline.com, began Wednesday to help Christians navigate online without fear of smut and Web sites that conflict with Christian values.
It joins a growing field of Internet services responding to public concern about content on the Web and how it is being used - particularly in influencing teen-agers and children.
"The world is flooding to the Internet in numbers that increase every day. Tragically, it is presently dominated by non-Christian, unwholesome content," said Ted Warren, chief operating officer of the convention's LifeWay Christian Resources.
Nashville-based LifeWay is partnering with Rated-G Online, an Internet service provider, to block more than 20 categories of objectionable material including gambling, alcohol and drug use, profane language and weapons and bomb making.
Stephen Barber, vice president of Rated-G Online, said Thursday the service filter is safer and more effective than software blocking products on the market.
"Today's techno-kids are so savvy that they often know more about their computers than their parents do. But this technology isn't anything you can put on your own computer that can be turned off or gotten around," Barber said.
The filter goes beyond word searches and looks at content to ensure that helpful sites - such as those about breast cancer or sex education - would not be blocked.
The convention is America's largest Protestant group. Thre are nearly 16 million Southern Baptists in 41,000 congregations.
LifeWayonline costs $19.95 a month and includes unlimited monthly access, four e-mail accounts, online shopping and classes, 5 megabytes personal Web space and technical support.