I realize it’s easier not to know. You don’t want to rock the boat. You don’t want to upset them by restricting the access on their phone or appearing to spy on them. You may even believe that a look here or there is just a natural part of growing up. But you are likely raising a porn addict and you don’t even know it!
A recent survey conducted by Barna found that only one-third of 13-24 year olds believe it’s wrong to view pornographic images…the other two-thirds don’t see anything wrong with it. That same survey revealed that 40% of teens ages 13-17 say that it’s a normal, accepted behavior to look at porn. The impending relational, emotional, and spiritual impact of a generation that finds pornography acceptable is devastating. As a parent, we must place a higher value on the purity of our children and do whatever we can to help protect them!
Here are a few lessons we’re learning as parents:
• Start the conversation early and often! The earlier you begin talking about the importance of what we see and hear, the better! And the more often you can talk with your children about choices you make on their behalf and choices they’re making regarding media, the better! For example, before my kids watch a movie, we research that movie and discuss if it’s a wise choice to see it.
• Parents must model the behavior! The media I choose to watch and the music I choose to listen to set the tone for what’s acceptable and unacceptable for our family. If I don’t turn the channel during a Victoria’s Secret commercial, why would I ever expect my son to turn the channel?
• Accountability is not spying! We’ve chosen not to spy on our children. Spying is done in secret with the intention of “catching someone” doing something wrong. We have a standard of accountability in our home. Accountability allows us to see what choices our kids are making regarding media and have healthy conversations about those choices. Accountability also helps our children make wiser choices in the moment; thus protecting them.
• No software monitors everything! There’s software that monitors text messaging and web sites visited and of course you can search internet history and more (and I think you should); however, at the end of the day you can’t monitor everything. This is why healthy, ongoing conversations are so important.
• Beware of social media! Social media is not bad – I use various forms of social media. However, most of what your kids will be exposed to will be via Instagram and Snap Chat. Both of these forms of media make it virtually impossible to protect your kids and monitor what they see. You might know what they’re posting or who they’re following, but you’ll never know what they’re seeing! You have to ask, is the connectedness of my child really worth the exposure to immorality and impurity for my child?