Stone Soup for Five: 6 Ways to Battle Against Porn in Your Home

6 Ways to Battle Against Porn in Your Home

This is a blog post I DID NOT want to have to write.

I HATE porn.
I HATE how easily accessible it is.
I ABHOR that its darkness finds its way into our homes so easily.
and I HATE how it burns into the minds of our men in ways we women rarely understand.

Let me start out by saying that if you are like I was, you are probably thinking "I really hope my son doesn't see porn."  and even praying that the Lord will protect his mind and keep him pure.  Which is good!

But

Unless you live in an Amish community
or an underground safehouse bunker

YOUR SON WILL SEE PORN

It's not "IF he sees porn"
it's
"WHEN he sees porn"

And that sucks.

But it's the reality of our hyper connected, internet driven lives.

Have I mentioned that it SUCKS?
It SUCKS!

So what are we as moms to do about it?
I'm all for real, rubber-meets-the-road application.
And since I live in a house with 3 boys, and a husband who grew up with 6 brothers, I feel that I can be a warning and a horrible example to you.  

I didn't know most of these things I'm going to tell you. They were all learned the HARD way.  AFTER many ugly tussles in the mire of sin.
If God allows suffering to happen, sometimes it's to help others...

So what can you do to protect, as much as possible, your children from porn?

First, I want you to know that no matter what you do, there are ALWAYS ways to find evil if you look hard enough. Don't do these things and assume your children are now completely safe from porn.  But do these, and whatever else you know to do, to make your home as difficult as possible to gain access to it while there.  Keep alert. Always be praying for wisdom and for the Lord to change hearts. Always.

So with that in mind, there are a few tips I've learned the HARD WAY that you can do to help in this battle.

1.  MAKE COMPUTERS AND LAPTOPS AS SAFE AS POSSIBLE.

First thing we did, was password lock down our computers all together, so no one is on if I haven't typed in the password.  If you have an iOS device, you'll have to research that, but if you have a windows device, set up a password for all users and require it for everyone who uses the computer.  Yes, it's a pain, but the pain of innocence lost is much, much more agonizing.  
(We did leave one user open without a password, but that user's settings have NO access to the internet.  We use that account for school, when the boys have to watch a video for class.)

You can also set a password for your wifi service, so if your children do have laptops or other devices, you have to enter the password.
Google search these to find the settings for your individual computers.

You can also get filters for your computers, these are usally a paid service, but start out as low as $5 a month.  We currently use covenant eyes.  
We just use the filter, not the accountability.
There are lots of other providers of this service too, but I like that you talk to a real person at covenant eyes (though there is usually a long wait) when you need to change or fix something.  There is ALWAYS a way around these filters, so again, be paying attention to what is going on and pray for wisdom.

You may also want to set the search settings on your computer to a safe search, especially if you have young kids who like to look up lego or minecraft things.  I have google chrome set with their safe search option.
http://www.safesearchkids.com/  These really tend to bog down searches, but it's worth it, to keep things as pure as possible.

Be careful of YouTube videos.  I know youtube has 'safe viewing options', but as far as I can tell, they don't really work. I've seen some pretty bad "other videos you might like" while viewing some perfectly innocent videos.  You Tube still is a problem for us.  If you have good advice here, let me know.

2.  Be smart about iPad/iPod/iPhone

If the device is your child's, I highly recommend setting a restrictions code lock on it.  That way you can get in to settings, but they can't.  Be wise on the passcode you enter, don't make it obvious or easy to figure out.
Go to GENERAL --> RESTRICTIONS --> and set a passcode

Then once you've set a passcode that only you know, you can slide off Safari and YouTube on the device. This will lock them down until you change the settings.  But, beware that other apps can access the internet.  Such as facebook and many others.  

If you don't want to shut off access entirely, you can add covenant eyes or many other things such as mobicip to the devices as a safeguard.  Mobicip I haven't tried, but have a friend who has.  Looks like a great set up.  http://www.mobicip.com/

If it is YOUR device and your child just uses it occassionally, I would recommend putting a passcode lock on the device itself.
Go to GENERAL --> PASSCODE LOCK 
and set a passcode.  
I've had my ipod sneaked at night and used, so this just helps keep that from happening.

And as much as I hate the inconvienence, if there is someone using your ipod/ipad for apps or games, I've shut off safari and you tube all together, as described above, because I've been kicked in the gut finding them open and bad choices made while the child was supposedly playing a game, etc.

You can always go to settings to add them back on if you need to use them.  (Another side effect of having to go through a few extra steps to use them, however, is that it slows you down, and makes you think if it is something YOU need to be really doing right now.  Hands Free Mama-ish!)

3.  BE WISE ABOUT GAMING DEVICES

Did you know you can access the internet from the wii and other game consoles?  Ya, this was a "learned the hard way" one for me.

For the Wii, you can just delete the internet channel (and it won't interfere with netflix if you use it to watch!)  If you just delete the 'channel' there are still ways to access the internet, but it is much harder and I'm not even sure how to do it, but just in full disclosure, it can be done.  Here's the simple way to delete the channel:

Click on the circular icon on the bottom left corner of the wii menu
--> Click DATA MANAGEMENT --> CHANNELS 
Select the INTERNET CHANNEL
click delete/remove

We also have XBOX Live, where my boys can play games with their friends online. There are parental restrictions you can set on that too, but I'm still learning them.  This page has lots of information for that:
http://support.xbox.com/en-US/xbox-360/security/xbox-live-parental-control

Play stations and personal hand held devices also access the internet, so you would need to look into how to shut those down for each that you have, or at least limit access.  Google is your friend here.

So, what now?  
You've got everything shut down as best as you can.  Now what?

4. PRAY!

This is ESSENTIAL.  I've changed to ON MY KNEES--literally-- in prayer.  I pray daily for the Lord to SHOW me where I am sinning, and where my kids are sinning.  I pray for help to be wise and give me clarity and discernment.  I rest on Numbers 32:23

23 But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out.

I tell my boys that I am praying this for them, and then I prepare for the battle.  And it's a grueling one.

Until God grabs their heart and changes it, we continue to pray--even AFTER that I will continue to pray.  God is the one who is in the business of changing heart, not us.  We can teach, guide, pray, but until He has changed their hearts of stone to flesh, we are fighting this battle daily.

5. TALK

Give them the TRUTH.  TALK about this.  Ya, it is HARD.  I HATE talking about sex and porn and girls and all that, but we are a new generation.  We HAVE to give our children the TRUTH.  Our parents didn't have to talk to us like we HAVE to talk to them.  It was a different time, and it calls for different measures.  You HAVE to get over it if you're uncomfortable.
TALK.
Get it out in the open.
If you don't talk to them about all of this stuff, someone else WILL.  Someone who might not give them the truth and reality of it.

If your kids are still young, of course, use your disernment. We just told them about 'bad things' and taught them the value of 'bouncing their eyes' when they saw someone in a bikini or something like that.  It's a GOOD place to start.

Now that they're older, and some innocence is lost, we've move on to some pretty blunt talking.  And, honestly, you have to.  Learn how to say the names of body parts freely--it is uncomfortable at first, but it gets better.  

Then, start dialogues about the lies satan uses.  Pornography is a LIE.  

Talk about how it rewires their brains, sears images forever on their minds.  Desentizes them, lies to them, influences them.

Ask them about purity.  Talk about purity and what it looks like.
Ask them often how they are doing on keeping themselves pure.

6. BE PREPARED

I've found, the hard way, that it starts early.
EARLY.
Some families I know have had their kids stumble on it as early as five.  
It hit our home as early as twelve or thirteen years old
(as far as I know, it might have been earlier).

But don't live in fear.
Do what you can to lock it down,
pray,
and talk.

God has a plan for our men.
God loves them more than we do.
This is a battle, and we need to be prepared to fight.

Keep strong and rely on HIM.

(Just FYI I seriously never wanted to EVER be the person to write a post like this.  I just want my boys to grow up beautiful, unsoiled, happy, and following Jesus in purity.  I didn't want to be the horrible example of how to learn the hard way!  I wanted to learn from someone else who learned the hard way... but if the Lord can use these words to help prepare you, then I'm blessed to have gone through it.  Let's keep open and transparent with our struggles.  I need to hear I'm not the only one floundering here!)

Next in this mini-series of posts I'll talk about what to do WHEN your child sees porn.  It's all about giving them the proper tools and being open and letting them know that you love them unconditionally and disciplining with HOPE.

I'm praying for all of us moms in this fight together!



3 comments:

  1. Thanks Kari! I will definitely come back to this and make a few changes. Porn destroyed my brother's life (he has been renewed in a big way though!) and I haven't been very good about safeguarding my kid's access. Unfortunately we see women in bikinis OFTEN and they are sometimes very skimpy :( Sorry you've had struggles with this. But you are such a good mom!! Thanks again for the tips.

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  2. Definitely a needed and appreciated post! Just for safety sake, also be aware of the library. They are unfortunately completely open... This was learned from a friend when her, then 8 year old (he's 18 now) ran into a site when searching for info on the white house. Sadly, those are seared images.

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  3. Sorry to hear you have to wait a long time to talk to us. We are working on improving our phone system and our wait times. Glad Covenant Eyes has blessed your family, however!

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