It's unfortunate, but we live in a wretched, sinful world. We are constantly bombarded with things we have to protect our children from. I live in probably one of the most difficult places to be in - Los Angeles - a place where vivid images are all over the city. In fact, the San Fernando Valley, where I live specifically, is where 90% of pornography is filmed and made. YUCK! This is where God has put us and we have a strong, biblical church that adheres to God's Word, which is one of the most wonderful places - and strong accountability. Yes, I need to protect my children and my husband from those images. But, it doesn't matter where you live, your children and husband can EASILY get a hold of pornographic images.
I'm going to give you some protective ways that you can protect your family from this. In our house MOM is the only one who has all the passwords for software protection from all the internet that is here on our wi-fi. This is probably the only time that I actually have the "authority" in any given area. My husband and I realize that this is a very important area that needs to be tended to and he has asked me to set up my own password to keep the whole family protected and for his own accountability.
Here are several ways that you can protect your family from pornography. It's not an exhaustive list, but it will get you started.
1. Install safety software
We have been using Safe Eyes computer software in our home for years - it's well worth the money. It lets me do a bunch of things - like put block and allow specific websites for our children. I can allow them to log on for a certain time of the day, for only so a specific amount of time, or all kinds of other parameters. Each person has their own log in and, for our home, the kids can only go onto approved websites that I have specifically allowed. No social media or chat rooms or any websites that contain certain searches. There is also Convenant Eyes. This one we use on my husband's Iphone and Ipad. It sends me a weekly report of how is internet usage has been and specific places he has been on his phone and Ipad. He can not uninstall or install it without my password. I have the password for all this, per my husband's request, and no one else knows it.
2. Computers or laptops or Ipads in common areas
We have our kids' computer in our family room - where we all congregate and everyone can see what they are doing. No Ipads are allowed to go in their rooms - this will carry through as they get older. They are also not allowed to go to others friends' homes where they have internet access or cable/satellite TV in their bedrooms. That means I have to go over to their homes and see what their home is like and talk with their parents. It may offend some, but that's our rule and I really don't care if I offend them in order to protect my children. We also don't allow them to go over to a home where the parents aren't home - as teenagers, that's common since many are allowed to be home by themselves, but it's just asking for trouble in our opinion.
3. NO internet on phones or Ipads
I am not opposed to kids having a cell phone. In fact, our teenage son has had one for two years. It's more for my peace of mind than for him. When he goes somewhere, I want to be able to get a hold of him or know he's arrived safely. But, there are limits. First of all, I took off the ability to have apps or be able to access any internet. Texting has no picture sharing. He's only allowed to text family members or youth leaders or anyone that I have given him approval for. For the most part, my son doesn't use it a lot. But, again, it's mostly for my sake so I know he's able to reach me or I him. Allowing a teenager boy to have internet on his phone is very foolish, in my opinion. Middle School is where many of the grown men, that my husband and I have known first started struggling with pornography addiction. This was 20+ years ago -- imagine now with the ease of accessibility! Don't make it easy for your child to find it.
4. Other kids coming into your home
I love having other kids over to our home. I love to have our home be a place where they want to congregate and gather. But, my sister in law who has four boys ages 22 down to 9, has wisely told me that whenever their friends came over, she takes all their cell phones and laptops and keeps them with her - not allowing any of them to take them up to her boys' rooms. She also has an ever changing wi-fi code, times where TV shuts off automatically if it's too late, and has carefully prevented any of that from entering her home. I don't care how nice the boys are, if they go to church, or come from a Christian family - NO boy is ever far from falling into this temptation. Again, it's a constant problem in youth groups, college groups, and for grown men. You must set up limitations.
5. Don't be naive
You need to be smart. You need to be ON the internet and learn to be a little savvy with technology. Our kids learn how to use the computer and phones so quickly! I'm amazed! You need to figure out a few things to keep them from stumbling onto things that they should read or see on the internet. Don't think that your child or husband is exempt from that temptation. Learn how to read their history - or know when they've cleared their cache. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, Google it!
This is so important. Be open and honest with your husband about his internet usage. It's not an easy conversation for many, but if your husband isn't involved in a group of men or someone who is helping to keep accountable in the area of lust or sexual temptations, ask him why - not in a nagging or mean way, but in a desire to understand why. There is virtually no man, married or unmarried, who shouldn't have someone else in their life asking hard questions. It shouldn't be you - you can not hold your husband accountable. It needs to be other godly men. If your husband is not a Christian, he probably won't want to be a part of anything like that and you must be understanding of that.
7. Social Media restrictions
I am all over the place in the social media world - it's part of my job. My husband is also on social media - half for business, half for fun. You have to decide when it's time for your child to be on social media, if ever. We have decided that we would allow our teenage son to be on some social media, but with many restrictions. He can only be friends with family, church friends, and youth leaders. He must ask before ever being a "friend" with anyone on there. And he has limits to how often he's on there. It hasn't been a problem, so far. We know that for him, he struggles socially and at the same time social media is here to stay. We want to teach him to socialize, but to also do it responsibly and learn self control. We want him to be ready for the world when he's an adult and not go crazy, but learn to have limits. Also, make them give you all their passwords. There is no reason that they need to keep passwords to websites from you, if they have nothing to hide.
You may not agree with me on some of what I expressed. That's OK. What's more important is that you have a plan for your family. If you haven't even thought of this, it's time you do. As a mom, it's coming whether your child is 1 or 13. You have a husband that is also a part of your family to care for.
Last, if you suspect your husband may be involved in pornography addiction or sexual impurity, talk with a counselor from Setting Captives Free. You can go HERE. If you are suspicious that something is going on, go HERE. If your husband needs help, go HERE.
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