"Christians and the Internet" newsletter
CATI, Vol. 1, No. 27:  July 7, 2000.
Unless otherwise indicated, all material in this newsletter is
Copyright (C) 2000 by Barry Traver, All Rights Reserved.  For
permission to reproduce material from this newsletter, contact
Barry Traver at cati@traver.org.  Permission is hereby granted,
however, to pass along this issue to others, provided that (1)
no changes are made and (2) it is passed along in its entirety.
To subscribe, write to cati@traver.org, including "Subscribe to
CATI" in the Subject line and including in the body your real
name and the email address to which you wish CATI sent.
Since there are so many existing sites on the World Wide Web
and since so many of them are NOT worth your time, it is
often helpful to make use of lists (with descriptions) of
what some people regard as the "top 100 sites" or "best 100
sites" around.  You will still find some "losers" here and
there, but there may be a greater likelihood of your finding
some of the more helpful and enjoyable (general) sites on the
There have been many attempts to compose lists of the "top
100 Web sites," but they are not equally of value.  My own
personal favorite of such lists is PC Magazine's list of
"Top 100 Web Sites," a list that was revised on April 26,
PC Magazine: The Top 100 Web Sites by Don Willmott
Last week I provided a list of categories included in this
list.  I also mentioned a few of PC Magazine's "Top 100 Web
Sites," along with PC Magazine's comments:
CATI: Top 100 (General) Web Sites: What's the Best List?
Here are a few more of PC Magazine's choices (and their own
"This Editors’ Choice-winning online book, music, video,
electronics, and toy store just keeps getting bigger,
with the addition of auctions, four new shopping
departments, and the daring concept of zShops. With
zShops, any retailer can use Amazon.com’s infrastructure;
Amazon.com takes responsibility for customer service. We
still like the book discounts, and we still like the
selection, the recommendations and reviews, and the
browsability. So do our readers. The site received a
grade of A in our survey of Web site satisfaction."  If
you purchase something using the following link, CATI
may be eligible for a small commission on a purchase
made (but don't buy something specifically for that
"It might be time to say so long to your clunky fax machine.
A free service, eFax has already given unique, private fax
numbers to more than 1.6 million people. When someone sends
you a fax, you receive it via e-mail, which means you’ll never
miss a fax or suffer with a malfunctioning machine again.
Fee-based premium services let you send faxes via e-mail,
forward faxes, and perform character recognition, and new
wireless services let you send your Web-based documents to
any nearby fax machine for printing. eFax is yet another great
example of how the Web can make your life easier."
"Productopia goes to the trouble of teaching you about the
category you’re shopping in before it sends you off to shop
at recommended stores (or dispatches a bot to shop for you).
Be informed: Read the tutorial and visit the discussion group
before you decide which watch, pants, or garden tractor you
want. This site makes it much easier to make an informed
buying choice. Coming soon: more consumer comments and
Web Site Garage 
"Drive your site into the Web Site Garage (a Netscape-owned
site), and see what the mechanic has to say about the way
you’ve built it. You’ll get instant performance diagnostics,
suggestions for tuning up your images for faster loading, and
tools for counting your traffic and promoting your site. It’s
one of the quickest ways to get an overall picture of your
site’s health." (See CATI 1/26/2 for more on this site.)
"This Lycos Network site for Web developers doesn’t seem to be
churning out articles at the rate it once was, but it’s still
a great resource for all aspects of Web site development, from
coding and design to promotion and marketing. The multimedia
sections are particularly strong."
I advise staying away from the recommended Napster side, which
- although it may have some valid uses - is frequently used
for illegal transfer of copyrighted MP3 files.  For MP3 files
I recommend instead the following site:
My son has purchased some very good CDs from MP3.com at quite
reasonable prices after having listened to some of the songs
online at that site in MP3 format.  (For example, there are
some excellent German groups that perform Celtic music in a
mixture of traditional and rock.  I doubt that many readers
of CATI are "into" such music, but it illustrates some of the
variety available at MP3.com.)  MP3.com is not without its
own legal challenges, but the site seems to be making a real
effort to act in accordance with the copyright laws.
At any rate, PC Magazine's "Top 100 Web Sites" isn't a perfect
list, but it's the best list of general sites that I've seen.
You may want to look through the twenty categories to see if
there are some that you may want to check out in detail.  If
you prefer a list that is alphabetical rather than a list by
category, check this out:
PC Magazine: Top 100 Web Sites: A-Z
Click on a link, and PC Magazine will take you first not to
the site itself, but to PC Magazine's comments on the site.
Ziff Davis, who publishes PC Magazine, also publishes Yahoo!
Internet Life, which has its own list of the "100 Best Sites
for 2000":
Yahoo! Internet Life: 100 Best Sites for 2000
And here are their categories:
Community, Online 
Computing & Internet 
Health & Fitness 
Learning & Creativity 
News & Media 
Travel & Recreation 
And there is a UK (United Kingdom) magazine called .net that
provides a list of their choices of the "Top 100 Web Sites":
.net: Top 100 Web Sites
Their categories seem more limited than those of Yahoo! or
PC Magazine, and some of sites chosen by .net seem to be
specifically British in orientation, but you may find some
additional worthwhile sites:
Entertainment - Part 1
Entertainment - Part 2
Leisure and Sport
News and Current Affairs - Part 1
News and Current Affairs - Part 2
Science - Fact and Fiction
Their "Top 100 Web Sites" seem to vary from issue, so if you
find .net's recommendations helpful, you may want to explore
their "Top 100 Web Sites" lists in previous issues of their
monthly magazine (scroll down Web page to see links to the
"Previous Top 100s...").
And here's where you'll find another British version of the
"Top 100 Web Sites," this time from Wisecat:
Wisecat: Top 100 Web Sites (1-25)
Wisecat: Top 100 Web Sites (26-50)
Wisecat: Top 100 Web Sites (51-75)
Wisecat: Top 100 Web Sites (76-100)
This site also seems to revise its list on a monthly basis,
although Wisecat does not attempt to place its sites into
Note well:  None of these four lists is an attempt to select
the "top" or "best" Christian sites.  You should find many
of the sites chosen to be genuinely useful or enjoyable, but
you'll need to check them out as to whether what they say is
in agreement with a Christian perspective on the subject.
For example, if a site deals with an area where Christians are
likely to disagree with the "popular" (or "media") consensus
(such as abortion, the creation vs. evolution debate, or the
gay/lesbian lifestyle), you will have to recognize that and
adjust correspondingly.  Christians are to test the world's
views and to "take captive every thought to make it obedient
to Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Nevertheless, by God's common grace you should find some of
these "top 100" and "best 100" lists of Web sites to be of
benefit to you.
After doing profiles on an "ACLU anti-censorship crusader" and
a "porn entrepreneur," Yahoo! Internet Life -- "in pursuit of
a diversity of opinion" -- finally got around to doing a story
on (and interview with) an articulate spokesperson AGAINST
pornography on the Internet, Donna Rice Hughes:
"Yes, she's that Donna Rice.... but [she] has emerged as the
country's most visible crusader against Internet pornography.
She was once at the center of a notorious political sex
scandal.... It was 1987, and Colorado Sen. Gary Hart was a
presidential front-runner when the story broke about his
affair with Rice.... Hart, who was married, dropped out of
the race; his political career was over.... [Rice] retreated
from the public eye. During the past 10 years she became a
born-again evangelical Christian, underwent psychotherapy,
and married Jack Hughes, an executive at an information
technology firm."
The title of David Sheff's article, "Anti-Porn Star," may be
"clever," but it's also misleading if it's taken to mean that
Donna Rice was ever a "porn star" or otherwise involved with
pornography.  Such was not the case, although it is undeniably
true that she had been involved in an adulterous affair with a
well-known politician (back before the Clinton era when the
media decided to condone such activities).  She repented of
her sin, trusted in Christ as her Savior, and has gone on to
become "the country's most visible crusader against Internet
pornography." She is an "anti-porn star" in the sense that she
is a "star" (a "cyberceleb," in Yahoo!'s jargon) who is very
much anti-pornography.
So forget about what you may have read about the old Donna
Rice in the late 1980's, and go on to read what Donna Rice
Hughes has been doing in the 1990's and beyond:
"Until recently, Rice Hughes was the director of the antiporn
organization Enough Is Enough. Armed with a portfolio of URLs
for sites that show everything from bestiality to child porn,
as well as a charged opinion about what constitutes obscenity,
[she] lobbied Congress and was influential in the passage of
the controversial Communications Decency Act in 1995. The act
includes legislation that imposes fines and prison sentences
on anyone convicted of knowingly making indecent materials
available to minors on the Internet. But that law (some of
which was struck down by the Supreme Court) is just one small
step in Rice Hughes's campaign to make the Net a safer place
for children." 
The article continues:
"Now an adviser to a child-friendly portal called FamilyClick,
Rice Hughes continues to speak out against porn on the Net,
rallying for action all the way from Oprah to Capitol Hill.
She has also written a book on the subject, titled Kids
Online: Protecting Your Children in Cyberspace (Revell,
You'll find some information on FamilyClick in my article on 
"Family-Safe Internet: ISPs That Filter Content (Part Two),"
that appeared in CATI 1/11:
CATI: Family-Safe Internet: ISPs That Filter Content (Part
FamilyClick "was founded in 1999 with the mission to provide
families with a safe Internet exploration and community
experience free of inappropriate or illegal content and
activity."  The company "is headed by Tim Robertson, most
recently CEO of International Family Entertainment Inc. (The
Family Channel)" and the son of televangelist Pat Robertson.
For more information on FamilyClick, check out these pages:
FamilyClick: About Filtering:  Philosophy
FamilyClick: About Filtering:  Access Levels
After reading Yahoo!'s interview with Donna Rice Hughes, you
can go on to read Pat Robertson's interview with her:
CBN.com: Donna Rice Hughes on CyberPorn
And here's where you'll find a transcript of People Magazine's 
online chat with her:
People Online Conference with Donna Rice-Hughes  
I do not yet personally own a copy of Kids Online: Protecting
Your Children in Cyberspace, but a number of reviews suggest
that it is a worthwhile book.  At Amazon.com, for example, you
will find a review from Booklist (the review journal of the
American Library Association), comments from the publisher
Fleming H. Revell (mostly endorsements), and some customer
Amazon.com: Donna Rice Hughes, Kids Online
Here are some sample endorsements: 
"Donna has been an effective advocate on behalf of children’s
online safety, and a leader in calling attention to the
responsibilities of companies, the community, and parents. By
continuing to speak out and partner with the rest of the
Internet community to address the needs of children, Donna is
helping all of us build a medium we can be proud of."
  --Steve Case, chairman and CEO, America Online, Inc. 
"As parents, we have a responsibility to monitor our
children's use of the Internet. Ms. Hughes has presented us
with a resource to...ensure that our children's experience
using the Internet is a safe one."
  --Senator John McCain
"Finally, a 'user friendly' resource for parents desiring to
protect their children in cyberspace! Donna understands the
importance of reaching moms and dads who may or may not be
computer savvy. Kids Online is a must read for every parent!"
  --Carmen Pate, president, Concerned Women for America
"A must-read, Written in easy-to-understand language-even for
'non-techies' like me. Kids Online will help you control
cyberspace, instead of it controlling you and your family. So
what are you waiting for? Pick up this book!"
  --Ramona Cramer Tucker, editor, Today's Christian Woman;
      executive editor, Virtue
"This book provides an easy-to-understand overview of a
complex subject. Above the shrill media hysteria, Donna
offers a reassuring voice of calm to confused parents. Her
common-sense suggestions allow families to 'take back the
  --Jean Armour Polly, Net-momŽ and author of The Internet
      Kids and Family Yellow Pages
Here's where you can find more about Kids Online, including
chapter summaries, appendix highlights, and more:
Kids Online: Protecting Your Children in Cyberspace
Here are the chapter titles:
Chapter 1: Bridging the Technogeneration Gap 
Chapter 2: For Net-Shy Parents: Internet 101 
Chapter 3: The Serious Risks of Cyberspace 
Chapter 4: The Darkness of Pornography 
Chapter 5: The First Line of Defense 
Chapter 6: Creating a Digital Toolbox 
Chapter 7: Expanding Your Child's Safety Net 
Chapter 8: It Takes All of Us
And here are the appendix titles:
Appendix A: Resources 
Appendix B: Software Tools 
Appendix C: Library Questions 
Appendix D: Porn on the Net 
Appendix E: House Rules 
Appendix F: PICS Rules 
Appendix G: Acceptable-Use 
Appendix H: Labeling 
Appendix I: ACLU Policy
And here is where you can find some helpful comments from Donna
Rice Hughes at FamilyClick:
FamilyClick Internet Safety Section
Here's what you'll find at that location;
The Positives and Perils of the Internet: Working Together to
  Make Your Family's Online Experience Safe and Fun
Safety Tips for Parents: Rules of the Road: Top 10 Things to
  Teach Your Children to Keep Them Safe Online
Safety Tips for Kids
Additional Safety Tips for Adults
For Parents Only
Statistics on Internet Dangers
Instant Message/Chat Room Safety Tips
Specific Questions to Ask Your Kids
Warning Signs
Porn Addiction Resources
P.S. Pornography can be a problem not only for "kids online,"
but adults online as well.  Here are some resources that may
be helpful to adults struggling with the problem of online
CBN: Christians Addicted to Porn
CitizenLink (Focus on the Family): Resources for Online
    Sexual Addiction
Pure Intimacy (Focus on the Family): A Resource for Those
    Struggling with Online Pornography and Affairs 
CATI mentions these sites because of the help they may provide
to those who may be struggling with the problem.  (You may not
be struggling with the problem yourself, but you may know of
someone who is, especially if you're a pastor.)
Some of the best places to learn "tips and tricks" on how to
use America Online (AOL) can be found outside of AOL.  If you
subscribe to AOL, you may perhaps want to take a look at the
three following sites:
About.com: Internet/Online: Focus on AOL (Sharon Gillson)
"...I will help you take advantage of all that AOL has to
offer. This will include the latest news and updates,
protecting your children while on the internet, how to
start a private chat room and chat with all your friends,
and how to stop spam...." Like other sites at About.com,
this site has a wealth of resources and is a good place
to begin.
PC World: America Online Tips and Tricks
"...modern-day AOL contains too many pop-up ads, too many ways
for people to interrupt you, and dozens of overlapping windows
competing for your attention. Our gaggle of tips will help you
banish AOL's annoying aspects and find what you need when
you're online. We'll show you how to customize AOL, keep your
e-mail under control, and make the service safe for the kids."
ZDTV: AOL SuperGuide
Also, in a previous CATI article, I indicated that it can be a
good idea at times to use "BCC" ("Blind Carbon Copy") when
sending an email letter to a bunch of people:
Email Etiquette: Protecting People's Privacy
What I did not include in that article (because I didn't have
the information at the time) is advice on how to use "BCC" on
AOL (although AOL apparently doesn't call it that).  Here are
the instructions from a Web page at "Cosmic Cat Creations":

How to Send BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) E-Mail on AOL 
This is the twenty-seventh issue of a free newsletter devoted
to "Christians And The Internet" ("CATI," pronounced "Katy,"
but spelled with a "C" and an "I" for "Christians" and the
To subscribe, write to cati@traver.org, including "Subscribe to
CATI" in the Subject line and including in the body your real
name and the email address to which you wish CATI sent.
Past issues:  you'll find archives of past issues of CATI
available online at http://traver.org/cati/ .  ("It's not a
pretty site," but hopefully it may be a useful one.)
Unless otherwise indicated, all material in this newsletter is
Copyright (C) 2000 by Barry Traver, All Rights Reserved.  For
permission to reproduce material from this newsletter, contact
Barry Traver at cati@traver.org.  Permission is hereby granted,
however, to pass along this issue to others, provided that (1)
no changes are made and (2) it is passed along in its entirety.