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Five strategies to protect your kids from online porn

Five strategies to protect your kids from online porn

By Summer Lane

Too many churches in America today aren’t addressing a very sad reality: watching pornography online is very prevalent among both men and women.

Unfortunately, an addiction to porn often occurs after an adolescent is exposed to it at a young age. According to Enough is Enough, children between the ages of 11 and 17 are most likely to say that their exposure to pornography was “mostly or all unintentional.”

However, they also reported that while 75 percent of parents don’t think their child is exposed to pornography online, 53 percent of children surveyed said that they had.

In a digital age, where sexual predators and the lascivious porn industry thrives on the web, parents must take action to protect their children from exposure to damaging images online. Here are a few simple steps you can take to guard your child from struggling with a pornography addiction – by stopping it before it even has a chance to get started.

Don’t forget that you’re in charge

A lot of parents forget that they have the right to say no to their children. This is not a critique of parenting, but rather, an observation! It’s exhausting to be a parent, and sometimes, it’s just easy to turn on the television or hand your kid a tablet to play on in exchange for a few moments of blessed peace or quiet.

Unfortunately, kids these days are adept at finding ways to jump onto social media, and even “safe” websites with “kid-friendly” games and chat rooms are often lurking with dangerous predators or passages that link to pornography.

Exercise your authority as a parent. Supervise and check in on your kid’s Internet diet. Do not leave them alone for hours at a time with a tablet. It’s okay to use technology – technology can be good and healthy! But it can also be a doorway to letting damaging images and ideas into your child’s rapidly-developing and impressionable mind and heart.

The Bible says to train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6). You can’t train up a child if you don’t engage in exercising your authority.

If devices are in your home, use internet filters

Pornography can often lead children into a lifetime of addiction, which usually turns into an unending cycle of shame. An extra step parents can take to keep their kids safe online is by using a subscription-based filter called Covenant Eyes, which specializes in using software to provide protection and accountability. From their website:

“Whenever possible, invite your child into the solution. What ideas do they have for staying away from porn? Do they want to talk to someone like a counselor or youth leader? Any solution that is co-developed is going to be a solution that they are more likely to obey. In other words–lead with the relationship. Make it your goal to come out of this conversation with more digital trust with your child than when it started.”

Covenant Eyes also provides help for men and women who are looking to break the cycle of addiction. Use this link to try a free 30-day discount, equal to $16.99 in savings. Use code TINA at checkout.

It’s possible to live without devices

While difficult, it’s not impossible to live without devices at your child’s fingertips. There is no doubt that most kids will be exposed to pornography at school, by watching something that their friends have access to on their own devices. However, you can certainly create a safe space in your home where porn cannot enter.

Tablets or computers can be removed from areas that are “trouble spots.” Covenant Eyes states on their website that this is a “locational layer” of protection:  “This means guarding against private spaces, bathrooms, bedrooms, and any other trouble spots for tech use. Avoid nighttime. Maybe use a ‘tech basket’ in the kitchen (and parent devices go there, too). Look at your family and decide what locational safeguards are right for you.”

There can be spaces in the house where children are allowed to go online, as long as you are able to keep an eye on their activity. Don’t apologize for being interested in what they’re doing – it doesn’t matter if your kids think you’re “uncool.” Letting a minor loose on the Internet is no different than allowing them to wander the streets of a violent and dangerous city alone. The Internet can – and will – do permanent damage to your child’s psyche if you do not move to protect them.

Consider technology alternatives

Most kids (particularly teens) will want the latest and greatest smartphone on the market. Peer pressure is a very real thing, and most teenagers want to be cool like everyone else. You can offer a safe alternative to the iPhone, for example, by using a device through a company like Gabb. Gabb’s smartphone look and feel like any other smart device on the market, but it’s safe for kids. “The Gabb Phone protects kids while keeping them connected to family and friends,” their website states. “It gives parents peace of mind because it doesn’t have the Internet, social media, or games.”

Only the essential features are included, and it helps kids establish a metered and healthy relationship with using their phone.

Point your kids back to God

The best way to save your kids from porn is to point them back to the saving grace and truth that is rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ. If your child loves the Lord and is seeking to do what’s right, the Holy Spirit will help keep their eyes and their hearts on the right track.

“If you love me, keep my commands.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.  I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 

John 14:15-18

 

The opinions in this article are specific to its author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire Counter Culture Mom team.

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Check out the Counter Culture Mom Show with Tina Griffin and tune into Karen Potter’s amazing advice on combating online pornography using the accountability software available through Covenant Eyes. You don’t want to miss this!

Summer Lane is the #1 bestselling author of 30 books, including the hit Collapse Series and Resurrection Series. She is an experienced journalist and columnist who reports on news within the U.S. and abroad. Additionally, she analyzes politics and policies in weekly op/Eds on The Write Revolution.

Summer is also a mom and wife who enjoys rural country living, herding cats, and gardening. She is passionate about writing about women’s issues, parenting, and politics from a theologically-grounded perspective that points readers to the good news of the gospel.

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