(This picture is of Andrew when he was four or five at the library. It was the only picture I could find of my kids on the computer)
As I go through these suggestions, I hope that you will comment and leave your own tips that I might have missed so you can share it with the rest of us. This list is in no way exhaustive.
1. My biggest mistake was that I trusted too much. I wanted my children to have friends, especially since friends are not easy to come by when you homeschool. I trusted that these Christian kids would never do such a thing as view porn. Boy, was I wrong.
2. Be careful about giving your child a phone that can access wireless internet. Our children are begging us for phones that have this kind of internet capability. It is like putting the most addictive, pleasurable drug in our kid’s hands and telling them not to use it. Even if you choose to not give them one these phones, their friends will have them. You have to be extra cautious. Remember, there is no reason why they can’t check their email, look up searches, ect, under your watchful eye on a computer that is in the family room where there is accountability. They are probably going to feel like the freak that doesn’t have the cool phone, but oh well. We know what is best for them, they do not.
3. If your child already has one of these phones, make sure you dialogue with them about friends pressuring them to look up porn. I have a friend whose son was relieved that his parents didn’t give him internet access to his phone. He didn’t have to worry about this kind of pressure from his peers. If you do choose to let them have internet access, I just found out that there are now internet filters that can go on mobile phones (Safe Eyes is one such company).
4. When your children's friends come over and you know they have a phone with these capabilities, tell them they need to check it at the door. This is my new rule. It will not happen on my watch. I fell for the “Oh, Mom, we just want to look up some Christian music so we can listen to it, can we have the Wi-Fi password?” Once they get the password, they don’t have to ask for it again, because it automatically saves it. Another big mistake!
5. Get a good internet filter. Safe Eyes has been amazing for us. I know there are many other ones, so make sure you do your research. I feel really comfortable with my kids being online now. It blocks out anything that would be remotely inappropriate. So much that it can be frustrating when you do a search. You can adjust your settings for each person in the family. It gives us huge peace of mind, plus it has a timer and it boots them off when their time is up. It costs $49.95 for one year and that covers 3 computers.
6. You can’t trust looking at the history anymore. One of the first things that kids do is to learn how to erase their history. As soon as they figure that out, the rest is “history”.
7. A simple thing such a putting a password on your computer is huge. So much of my heartache could have been prevented by putting a password on it. My son had been viewing porn on my laptop even after I had Safe Eyes on the main computer. That computer was off limits and in my room. I never imagined that I would have a child that would sneak on it and watch porn.
8. This is a no brainer, but no laptops or phones in their rooms.
9. Remember, they can access the internet at public libraries, restaurants, motels, downtown, and any other place who does not have their access secured. I have another friend who doesn’t have Wi-Fi, but her son can access it in their home on his I-Pod off of his neighbor’s unsecure Wi-Fi. Scary stuff.
10. Don’t assume because your children are Christians and well-behaved, that they do not have this curiosity. They are not immune to this, nor are their Christian friends. I have since found out that most of the boys in my older boys’ youth group have viewed porn more than once. Honestly, it is a rare kid that has the power to withstand this kind of temptation.
11. I’ve heard that kids with learning issues, ADHD, Autism, lower IQ’s and immaturity issues can be especially susceptible to porn addictions.
12. Please keep in mind that pornography is not the same as it was back in our day. When we were growing up, the stuff we got our hands on was pretty much magazines. The porn now is sick, heinous, graphic, and very, very unnatural. Sodomy and homos*xuality (men or women) is prevalent in most porn images now. Also, child porn, bestiality, and the use of foreign objects are common place now in hard core porn pictures and videos. Porn videos are especially harmful to our children because they engage the visual and the auditory senses. This creates an even greater imprint in their brains. The images are almost impossible to get rid of. Also, If we are not careful, our children who have viewed porn will think that this is natural in marriage.
13. Porn statistics are such…
a. 50% of Christian men are involved in pornography at some level.
b. 20% of women in the church are viewing porn. This isn’t even including soft porn that is in romance novels. They were bad in my day, I can’t imagine what they are like now!
c. This generation is being called the “guinea pig generation”. Never before has there been this kind of access to these kinds of images. The damage is terrible and we will see more and more juvenile sex offender cases if we don’t start taking this seriously.
d. The average age of children viewing hardcore images now seven and up. The Drudge Report says that children are growing up addicted to internet porn. A third of 10 years olds have seen explicit images. Statistics are coming out that say four out of five 16-year-old boys and girls regularly access porn online while one in three ten-year-olds have seen explicit material.
e. Statistics show that more than a quarter of young patients being treated at a leading private clinic are receiving help for addiction to online pornography. There are fears that the rise of internet pornography is leaving teenagers unable to maintain normal relationships.
14. Porn is the secret sin that is destroying the church. We are losing a whole generation to this filth. The America church has become like white-washed tombs. Beautiful on the outside, but rotting and smelly on the inside. The stench is becoming so bad, that it is impossible to hide from this. Will we repent of this? Will we confront our husbands if this is a problem they have? Will we say no, when they want us to join in their sin and watch porn with them so they can “spice up our s*x lives”? Will we take every precaution we can to protect our children? This includes being the bad guy and not caving into your child’s wants and desires for the latest and greatest of the latest technology. Let's start fighting back on this one! The enemy wants our children. Will we hand them over, or will we be brave warriors who stand on holy ground?
15. Pray for protection for your children. Pray that sin would be rooted out of their lives. Pray the “Do What it Takes” kind of prayers. It is better to have it out in the open then find out before it’s too late.
16. Talk about purity often with your children. It didn't seem help in my case, but after my son was found out, he knew he had lusted in his heart and had cheated on his future wife. This was one of the first things he said to me after he had been caught and had repented. He knew it was wrong and he knew where to go to for forgiveness, his merciful Lord and Savior. After we found out the truth, my father told me between broken sobs that my son was outside with his hands raised, singing “Jesus Loves me” with tears pouring down his face. Talk about heartbreaking. I bore the fruit of all my training and teaching that wretched day.
17. Be a safe person for your children to come talk to. If you freak out over the little things, they will never come to you with the bigger things. A teenager’s freedom is more important than anything. If they think that freedom might be taken away, they will lie. They will not come clean with it. If we freak and take their freedom away, why would they ever trust us with their bigger problems? I don’t have the answer to this, maybe you do. My husband and I have over-reacted over many smaller issues, so it is no wonder my son didn’t feel safe coming to us with his problem.
18. Share with your children the serious consequences of what can happen when their curiosity gets the best of them, and they innocently view porn. My son had no idea of the consequences of his actions – what it would lead to and what the legal consequences and the life-time issues would be.