6 Ways to Protect your Kids From Porn

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I’d like to begin this post with a warning from the U.S Justice Department:

“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 week 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.

So here are five things that you need to start doing if you want to protect your children from porn:

1. EDUCATE YOURSELF

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 Statistics , 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 PORN

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 GO ONLINE

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 video.

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.

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m-fraddMatt Fradd works for Covenant Eyes, and is the author of the new book Delivered: True Stories of Men and Women who Turned from Porn to PurityHe is also the founder of The Porn Effect (www.theporneffect.com) a site dedicated to exposing the reality behind the fantasy of porn and offering help to those who seeking to sexual freedom.

10 Comments

  1. God bless you and all your efforts! I will help propagate your website for sure :)) I have been teaching young people since the late 80s and I see this as a very important issue especially in families.

    By Leslie Cariaso | 2 years ago Reply
  2. I completely disagree with the premise that a parent should know exactly what their kid is doing online. You act like you need to force your children to be the perfect kids by monitoring their every move. This is a ridiculous notion. Accountability systems are for overbearing, overprotecting parents who have no idea how to raise their children. Rather than make the decisions for them, you need to give them the tools to make the right decisions. Young adults already deplore their parents rules and regulations. Why make them hate those restrictions even more? Talk to your kids, tell them why certain things are bad for them. Let them make the right decision. Like it or not, your children will fail in life. You need to let them fail, you need to let them learn.

    By Colin | 2 years ago Reply
    • There is a huge difference between a young adult and a child. Young adults should know better and they will be able to get around filters if they really want to. They can get jobs move out. Kids on the other hand should not under any circumstances be exposed to pornography, and parents have every right to install filters to block it from their homes. More and more children are acting out sexually at younger and younger ages, and before puberty it’s learned behavior–meaning they’re acting it out because they saw it somewhere else.

      Yes, parents should know what their kids are doing online. How are they supposed to parent if they don’t know what their child is being exposed to? Kids could have a huge problem and the parents might not even know about it until it’s too late. They have no way of helping their child if they didn’t know anything was wrong. The kid was always on the computer and the parents didn’t know what was going on.

      I think a bigger problem than parents wanting to know what their child is up to is parents who would rather be their child’s best friend than a parent. Children are constantly plugged into a tablet, and so are the parents. Everyone is in their own world.

      A lot of problems could be avoided if tablets were for car or plane rides to keep kids busy on long trips and computers were only allowed in public areas of the home rather than in bedrooms.

      By Stephanie | 2 years ago Reply
    • As a parent of young adults i get what you are saying. We dont want our kids to feel like the nerd who’s parents are causing it… but if we look at the big picture and ask “what is the worst that could happen?” the overbearing parents make for a better childhood. Even if they snesk out and purposely seek porn in rebellion, at least you are presenting another perspective on the subject which will give them thoughts to ponder later. The world right now has normalized porn and marriages in this generation will see the fall out. I just discovered that my youngest child was exposed to internet porn at 6 simply by typing her first name into google. Turns out there was a porn site with the same name. I couldnt understad why she, compared to her siblings, was such a highly sexualized person in every way her whole life: dress, language, focus. (oh and no real boys are quite attractive enough…) The longer we can delay the brain washing the healthier the mind later and the better chance our children will learn how to love ordinary people like themselves… including themselves.

      By Cara | 2 years ago Reply
  3. It is not overbearing to install filters when your having to deal with the aftermath of them already being exposed. And trust me it is worth it. You spit in the air and it will land in your face. Dont be a fool in this day and age. Protect their purity. Teach them.

    By sarah | 2 years ago Reply
    • I have no problem with installing filters. I have a problem with monitoring programs. Especially when the parents do not tell their kids that the computer has one. When you do that, you are a playing a game of cat and mouse. By the way, I love all of these comments that I’m getting. Everyone has been very respectful! It’s a discussion – not a cluster of mean and angry comments. I appreciate the manners. They are so hard to find on the internet these days.

      By Colin | 2 years ago Reply
  4. I am sorry. These days kids have a computer right at there finger tips. You can google anything. My son is 12. He needs a phone. Unfortunately. And I checked the history. Yes. I was told he was looking up Pokemon on youtube. Had I not checked I would of never known. Kids do not raise themselves. I approached my child. Explaining that porn is not real life. But it is addictive, just like any drug. Without humiliating him of course. He was still ashamed but, I answered many questions.

    By Angela | 2 years ago Reply
  5. I cannot thank you enough for this article and for all the work you do and for all the resources on the site- thank you, thank you thank you!! My 13 year old has just shared that most of the boys in his class regularly view porn and where do they do it? At home- on computers, on ,on phones! Parents today are sleep walking. When did this kick off? As soon as they go to secondary school- ages 11,and 12. Some of the kids know what porn is and they tell the others, look this up on the web, and give a address. When the innocent kids ask what it is they are just told, “just look it up, just look it up”- naturally wanting to fit in with their peers and many not knowing what the work porn even means they google the site and are robbed of their innocence. They are already just trying to cope with the transition from primary to secondary school never mind having porn shoved in their face. This is a HUGE issue, and we got to sit up and smell the roses and protect our kids. There is a very real spiritual warfare going on for our kids….

    By Marian | 2 years ago Reply
  6. As a community leader for teens, middle schoolers and now high school, I would like to have a workshop for the parents on this. Do you have any material I can purchase or download to prepare me for this?

    By Marilyn | 2 years ago Reply

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