This is going to be a very practical post, I hope. There really are things you can do to help guard your family from the plague of pornography. You may find some of what I’m about to suggest difficult to accept. I want to remind you that, as parents, it is your job to protect your children. You wouldn’t spare any measures to protect them from a deadly rattlesnake; don’t be afraid to do whatever you have to do to protect them from something that will alter their minds and their hearts. That’s how serious this is.
First and most important, teach them truth. Teach your family biblical principles of behavior. Help them memorize verses that teach us to keep our hearts and minds pure. Start with Philippians 4:4-8. Do a word search on purity. Make it a topic of conversation so that it’s easy to bring up on a regular basis. Warn them that once a picture is in your mind’s eye, it is very difficult to erase.
I’ve always been impressed with this example: In order for a bank teller to be able to identify a counterfeit bill, he studies the real thing. He gets used to the feel, appearance and even the smell of the true dollar bill so that when a fake passes into his hands, he won’t be fooled by it. Some people feel that we need to study the counterfeit in order to understand the enemy. No! What happens when we do is that we get pulled in to the enemy’s plan. I don’t need to look at the centerfold of a girlie magazine to know it’s wrong for me to do so. I just need to know the truth: Psalm 101:3. “I will put no wicked thing before mine eyes; I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. “
Second, be a snoop! If you have any inkling that your child is being exposed to literature, pictures, or any other forms of porn, search! It’s your job as a parent to protect your child. Don’t listen to his wails about his privacy. If you knew there was a poisonous spider under his bed, would you shrug and let him go to sleep in that bed because he tells you that you have no right to look under his bed?
This ridiculous society we’re living in has us convinced that the kids make the rules. Don’t be taken in by that philosophy.
Third, supervise what they read, watch on TV, play on video games (have you ever really looked at the art in a lot of video games? Women are all voluptuous and scantily clad, to say the least!); check their iPhones, iPads, iPods, and computers on a regular basis. If you don’t know how to check the history, ask your kid to show you. They all know. And it is very likely that they know how to erase the history, too, so . . . . .
Fourth: Learn how to work the parental controls on all your kids’ devices. Get an accountability program like Covenant Eyes that sends you a detailed list of all websites visited every month. Most important, please NEVER allow computers etc. to be in your child’s bedroom. Put them in high-traffic areas of the house so that the screens are visible to anyone passing by.
I learned from a client who was dealing with his pre-teen son’s fascination with porn that you can use your X-Box to communicate with others in the same way you would browse the internet on your computer. Be aware.
Fifth: Get over the idea that your kid can be trusted; that he would never lie to you; that he’s just not interested in that stuff. Of course he is. God created the male of the species to be intrigued by what he sees in the female of the species. Why do you think your kid would be any different, say, than you were at his age?
Look, the best, most upright kid around can be tempted to do wrong. This is especially true if his buddies are all moving in one direction and he’s the only one going a different way. Sometimes, his first glimpse of porn is not of his own choosing: A friend on the school bus flashes a picture and says “Look what I found under my brother’s bed!” and the glamorous image is burned into his eyes before he can look away. Believe me. Yes, even on a Christian school bus.
Pray with your kids about staying pure and unspotted from the world. Support them when others tease them about being a goodie two-shoes. Help them learn to take a stand firmly and kindly, without being obnoxious.
Please, above all, realize that this is no longer an issue restricted to certain kinds of people who have no morals. The use of porn is sweeping the Christian community just as it is the secular. We can hide our heads in the sand and pretend it doesn’t affect us. That’s just stupid. We have so many ways to access porn these days that there’s really no way you can be too vigilant.
Next time: How to get help if porn has you caught in its web.