Ten Ways to Keep Your Family From Being Devastated by Porn and Predators
We got another one last night. My heart sank as the sweet mama sobbed out her story. Please, Lord, not another one. Please no.
It was, though. Another family crashing into the morass of sexual sin, completely unexpectedly.
It’s happening all the time these days. Moms and Dads telling us through tears about their son’s addiction to pornography for years “and we didn’t know he had Internet access!” Their child’s molestation at the hands of someone they trusted, sometimes even by a sibling. Teens sexting when their parents didn’t think they even knew about sex. Marriages on the rocks due to porn or adultery.
THESE AREN’T FAMILIES FROM SKID ROW. THEY AREN’T EVEN WORLDLY FAMILIES. They’re families just like the rest of us – Christian, conservative, close families, even homeschoolers. Some of them are families that have followed our ministry for years and have heard warnings, but didn’t think it could happen in their home. Believe me, it can.
Sadly, we personally know of more than one boy raised in a conservative Christian homeschool family that is now a registered sex offender. Yep, just like you hear about in big cities and institutional schools. They got caught in a web of temptation which led to awful sin and lifelong consequences for them, their families, and their victims. Please take it seriously.
Here are ten ways you can fight for your children:
1 – Talk to your kids about sexuality early and often. The Talk isn’t one talk, but a bunch of natural conversations as the opportunities arise (or as you make them!) You’ve got to be the one there first with the best information — and always in the Biblical context of love, marriage, child-bearing, and holiness.
2 – Remind them to come to you with questions (and don’t freak out when they do!) Why? Because many children are first introduced to Internet porn when they hear an unfamiliar word – at church or homeschool group or in the neighborhood or from his cousins or from a magazine at the grocery store. They go home, watch for an opportunity, then Google it. The sites and images are right there. Make sure they know they can ask you anything without getting in trouble for it.
3 – Teach them that no one has a right to touch the parts of their bodies covered by underwear unless they need the help of a parent or doctor until they are married. And that outside of marriage, it is wrong to touch anyone else there, too. Boys understand underwear. They may not change it, but they know where it goes. This makes an easy, concrete boundary, and avoids the awkward results of vague “good touching / bad touching” talk.
4 – Explain to them that it’s wrong to look at (or take) pictures of people who are undressed because those are special parts of our body designed for marriage alone. Remember Jesus said, “I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Many times kids are exposed by friends with photos on their phones. They need to know what to do!
5 – Tell them it’s wrong (and illegal) to take pictures of undressed children and teens – and it’s wrong to look at them or share them, too. To a teen, looking at a racy photo of another teen is just exciting. To God, it’s sin. To law enforcement, it’s a felony. A kid may not get that, and ruin their lives because of it.
6 – Make sure they understand there are no secrets that exclude their parents – and assure them that we can take care of ourselves. We tell our children that if anyone tells you, “Don’t tell your parents!” that’s the sign you should immediately tell your parents! “And if anyone threatens you or your parents, be sure to tell us right away. We can protect you and we can protect ourselves!”
7 – Teach them practical ways to fight temptation. See below for help on this one.
8 – Ask them regularly, “Is there anything worrying you? “Is there anything you want to tell me? It’s okay. I’ll help you.”
9 – As they enter the teen years, ask often: “How’s your thought life?” Don’t ask for details, but pray with them and encourage them to keep fighting.
10 – THIS ONE IS CRITICAL: Get some kind of protection on every Internet-capable device in your home. Internet porn is a game-changer. (<–Click to tweet this) This means phones, tablets, game consoles, even e-book readers. No longer do bad kids have to go looking under Uncle Wildguy’s bed; now the bad stuff comes looking for the good kids. Honestly, when parents tell us their heart-breaking stories, they nearly always say, “We’d been meaning to get some protection, but we hadn’t gotten around to it.” Get around to it today. You’ve got to know what’s going on. Here’s the program we use.
Resources to Help
Internet accountability – We recommend (affiliate) Covenant Eyes – we’ve used it for many years. Click here to read how it works. Now it’s only $14.99 a month for unlimited accounts for your family – all customizable! Sign up here. (It supports our ministry when you click through us.)
Be sure to lock down game consoles, too. Some allow kids to access live porn. Honestly.
Talking to your kids about sexuality and what to do if you find they’ve been exposed to porn- Our workshop mp3, Shining Armor: Your Son’s Battle for Purity teaches about these things. You can download this popular workshop free by signing up for our newsletter:
Practical ways to fight temptation – For more on this for younger kids, grab our book, Raising Real Men. The chapter Love and War shares several ways to fight off temptation. For older ones, get them our new book, Love, Honor, and Virtue: Gaining or Regaining a Biblical Attitude Toward Sexuality!
More of our posts on this and similar subjects like gaming and internet addiction.
Father, please help us all to teach our children to be “as wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Give us the courage to talk to our kids, and the wisdom to know what to say. Please protect our children! In Christ’s name, amen.
Yours in the battle,
Hal & Melanie
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