Never before in the history of telecommunications media in the United States has so much indecent and obscene material been so easily accessible by so many minors in so many American homes with so few restrictions
I’d like to begin this post with a warning from the U.S Justice
“Never before in the history of telecommunications media in the
United States has so much indecent and obscene material been so easily accessible by so many minors
in so many American homes with so few restrictions.”
If that sounds
about right, it will be sobering to consider that it was written in 1996—before wireless broadband,
before iPads, before selfies and sexting. Before pornography took over twelve percent of the
Internet, with more than 25 million sites today raking in over $5 billion a year. Before it was
considered common practice, as it is today, for porn consumption to begin with a first encounter
around age 11 and go on to radically shape the ideas that teens and young adults have about sexual
intimacy.Now, before you tell me that there’s no way your child is looking at porn, consider this:
Porn is made, not by back alley perverts peddling nude photos to dirty old men, but by multimillion
dollar companies that have a vested interest in getting kids—your kids—into porn when they are
young.Two weeks ago I was contacted by a prominent leader in the Church. He told me that his teenage
son just confessed to him that he had been looking at porn regularly for the past year. The man said
to me, “I talk to parents all the time about why it’s so necessary that they protect their children,
that they get accountability and filtering software, but I never did.” You might be surprised at how
many times I hear that from people who should know better.
are five things that you need to start doing if you want to protect your children from
Educate yourself about the dangers of pornography. If
you aren’t convinced that porn is harmful, you won’t be motivated to protect your family from it.
Here are three free resources that can help. 1) A free ebook on up to date Pornography Statistic ,
2) Bishop Loverde’s recent pastoral letter on pornography, Bought with a Price, and 3) a great
article by Dr. Donal L. Hilton, Jr. on how porn affects the brain, Slave Master: How Pornography
Drugs and Changes Your Brain.
2. Talk to your kids about
Talk to your
children about pornography. One former pornographer, Martin Daubney, after having researched how
pornography affects the minds and lives of children, wrote this:“Like many parents, I fear that my
boy’s childhood could be taken away by pornography. So we have to fight back. We need to get
tech-savvy, and as toe-curling as it seems, we are the first generation that will have to talk to
our children about porn. We have to tell our kids that pornographic sex is fake and real sex is
about love, not lust. By talking to them, they stand a chance. If we stick our head in the sand, we
are fooling only ourselves.”One way you can learn how to talk to your children, in an
age-appropriate way, about the dangers of pornography is by getting the book, Good Pictures Bad
Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids.
3. Put protections in place
You need to put all the
proper protections in place. You need to use technology to your advantage to block access to
pornographic images. There are places online children (or anyone for that matter) have no business
going to, and there are technological ways to prevent children from accidentally or purposely
finding these places.When I meet parents and speak to them about the destructive nature of
pornography, I never ask them if they have internet filtering and accountability software on their
computers, phones, and tablets. I ask them what internet filtering and accountability software they
use. In other words, it’s if you want to protect your kids from porn, filtering and accountability
is not an option, it’s a necessity.
4. Know exactly where they are going
Parents need to access accurate information about what
your kids are already doing online. You need to be monitoring all the places your kids go online,
all the choices they’re making. This is what distinguishes accountability software from filtering.
Filtering blocks the bad stuff but it doesn’t tell you where your kids went online, or what they
searched for. Accountability software does.
5. A regular reminder to talk to your kids
It’s not enough to know that you should talk to your kids about
pornography, or even how you should do it. You need a regular reminder to do so. A kid’s time on a
computer tends to be out-of-sight-out-of-mind for most parents. It’s easy to let weeks or months go
by without a single conversation about what kids are doing online. So we need to have a built-in
reminder because it is so easy to forget.Steps 2-5 can be accomplished by downloading Covenant Eyes.
Covenant Eyes has a great filter but its claim to fame is that it invented accountability
software.What is accountability software? Here’s how it works: Once you sign up to Covenant Eyes, it
asks you to enter the email(s) of an accountability partner. Since you’re installing this for your
children, you would be the accountability partner. You may then choose to receive a complied report
once a day, once a week, once a month; you decide. From that point on, if your children visit any
websites they shouldn’t, you’ll know about it. Learn more by watching this short
6. Speak to other parents
Finally, would you ever
allow your kids to play at a friends house whose Dad kept piles of porn about the place? Of course
not. And yet if the parents of your child’s friend do not have the proper protections in place on
their own computer, game consoles, phones, etc. then there’s a strong chance your child will be
exposed to pornography. I personally will not allow my child to play at friends house who does not
have good filtering on all devices.