Protecting Your Kids’ Minds From Internet Porn

I recently received an email from a mom looking for an internet filter for the home computer or some mechanism to block inappropriate content. Unfortunately even the best internet filters are only so good, and their benefits are limited to the computers they are loaded onto which is a problem when the majority of kids access the internet through their own personal devices. (iPods, phones, etc.)  OpenDNS is a web-based tool that filters your internet signal at your router, effectively covering any device using your wi-fi, but this too is only so good.

Sadly there are no perfect technological tools to protect your kids from porn, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing since the problem isn’t technology or the internet per se, but the heart.  That’s why the Bible stresses upon parents the importance of training children, not merely protecting them.

“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” – Ephesians 6:4

With the reality of technology and the internet as a part of our everyday lives, a world free of the dangers of internet porn is an impossibility.  But perhaps there is a hidden blessing here.

If we could find a tool to make our homes 100% ‘porn free’, mightn’t we be tempted to dust our hands off and consider our job done?  Our job as parents however isn’t just to keep our kids minds pure, but to teach them to keep their minds pure.  In our technology and media saturated age, internet porn will be a danger our kids face their entire lives.  The impossibility of making our homes 100% ‘porn proof’ then presents us with an opportunity to train our children how to develop their own discernment and aversion strategies for dealing with the realities of porn. Perhaps it will also keep us from shirking our responsibilities as parents to teach and model for our kids a biblically responsible approach to guarding their hearts and minds.

I read a great post on www.protectyoungminds.org today entitled “10 Easy Ways Kids Can Beat Internet Filters”.  It was an eye opener to the limitation of internet filters and will perhaps serve to bolster vigilance in parents who may feel like downloading a filter means their job is done.  The post then highlighted Covenant Eyes, which is an internet accountability program that I have used for over a decade and is something I think families should strongly consider as a part of a larger strategy in teaching their children accountability as part of the rhythm of Christian living.

Something the post highlighted that really surprised me was this study done by the Barna Group which states:

…a recent national survey by Barna suggests that adults who use Internet filters and blockers are more likely to seek out pornography than those who do not have any anti-porn software. This survey found that 29% of adults in the general population admit to looking for pornography at least once a month. For those who have blocking technology installed, 39% say they actively seek out porn monthly, because a filter represents a challenge to overcome. It’s possible that filters and parental controls actually encourage porn consumption in older kids.

Blocking our kids from sin obviously isn’t the solution.  Teaching them to walk in righteousness and live in prayerful dependence on the Holy Spirit in the midst of temptation is.  This is a life skill that goes way beyond internet filters or technological solutions.

Here are some resources I would recommend again to parents, encouraging you to use these tools in training your children’s mind with respect to their views, attitudes and practices around sexuality.

 

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