I don't need to be convinced that pornography is addictive and destructive, my family was ripped apart due to this “illness,” and I know first-hand of its negative effects upon family values. I chose to do a college research paper on the topic several years ago, and although this post is not about the facts, there were two things that stood out to me:
- Pornography messes with the part of your brain that deals with emotions and connecting with other human beings. Long-term exposure to pornography decreases your ability to relate to others on an emotional level, leaving the victim unable to relate or feel compassion for others on a normal level. Maybe this is why well-known serial rapists have admitted to a life-long addiction to pornography?
- The more exposure there is to pornography, the less desirable the institution of marriage and family becomes.
I'm not going to get into the research or try to explain how it is addictive; there are plenty of studies out there if you want to learn more. This post is about how to protect our homes and families. I have been in contact with many people who have struggled with pornography, and unfortunately one circumstance was within my very own home. This particular individual struggled his entire life trying the combat this addiction and the saddest part of the whole story is that his addiction started at the age of ten. THE AGE OF 10. He is a good person, he had great parents, and yet by the time he was a teen he was completely addicted. It all started with other ten-year old boys showing him magazines and teaching him unhealthy things about human intimacy. And that was over 50 years ago.
Regardless of what your opinion is about pornography as an adult, I think most would agree that children should not be viewing it. According to Internet Safety 101:
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One out of three youth who viewed pornography, viewed the pornography intentionally.
For out of five 16 year-olds regularly access pornography online
American children begin consuming hardcore pornography at an average age of 11
Seven out of ten youth have accidentally come across pornography online.
Nearly 80 percent of unwanted exposure to pornography is taking place in the home (79 percent occurs in the home; 9 percent occurs at school; 7 percent other/unknown; 5 percent at a friend’s home).
Youth who look at violent x-rated material are six times more likely to report forcing someone to do something sexual online or in-person versus youth not exposed to x-rated material. 
- Internet pornography was blamed for a 20 percent increase in sexual attacks by children over three years.
Kids experience unwanted exposure to sexual material via:
- A link came up as a result of an innocent word search (40 percent)
- Clicking on a link in another site (17 percent)
- A pop-up (14 percent)
- Other (13 percent)
- Misspelled web address (12 percent)
- Don’t know (4 percent)
Type of material youth encounter when unwanted exposure to pornography occurs:
Naked people (86 percent)
People having sex (37 percent)
Violent pictures (13 percent)
Pictures involving animals or other strange things (10 percent)
I think it's safe to say that no one's kid is “beyond” looking at or seeking pornography if the right precautions are not set up in the home. Even really good kids are naturally curious about their bodies and about sex, especially if they have not been taught anything and feel like all their peers know something they don't. I personally did not know much about sex even when I was in high school and I often felt very stupid about it. Because pornography had ripped my family apart I knew better than to go searching the internet for answers, but there were times that I was curious to know more so that I did not feel so dumb.
How do we safeguard our homes from pornography?
- Have open communication about pornography and sex. Many addictions occur because the victim feels they have no one to approach about their first time experiences. They feel they will be rejected or viewed as “perverted” and try to handle their curiosity in secret. If kids know they can talk to their parents about something they viewed online, and the experience is followed by teaching and mature discussion, they will be less likely to return to the internet for these types of things. Visit these articles for more about how to teach your children about sexuality:
- Have a family “charging hub” for all electronics. All electronics (laptops, smartphones, ipods, etc.) are not allowed in children's individual bedrooms, and are returned to parents each night to be charged.
- Keep all passwords to your kid's internet accounts (Facebook, email, etc.). This does not have to mean that you do not trust your children, it simply means that until they are 18 years old, parents retain the privilege of having passwords to all family accounts. This is also a matter of safety: this way you keep track of viruses that could enter the home through a child's email account, as well as keeping track of potential cyber-bullying or unwanted sexual exploitation.
- Teach your children that once they post something online, it is there FOREVER. This is not just an important issue concerning posting pictures of themselves, but also concerning personal information. Teach your children never to give clues as to where they live or when they are home alone.
- Set the internet to disable at night. I know many families that do this and I think it's so smart! Decide on a time that most of your family should be in bed and asleep and set your internet to disable at that time.
- Have Internet Filtering set up in your home. Certain companies like iboss will even provide “clean access” to google images and Youtube.
I recently attended an Educational Meeting at my church on internet safety and security. One of the solutions that was mentioned was iboss, so I decided to look into it a little bit more to see what kind of features it offers:
First, what makes iboss different from internet filtering softwares, is that it is an actual built-in Wireless Firewall Router (not a software program). It filters every device that connects to the internet in your home. This means even your ipod touch or gaming devices with web surfing capabilities will be protected.
- Easily Block Websites by Category
- Control/Restrict Chat, File Sharing, Online Gaming (HTTP/S)
- Identity Theft & Virus/Spyware Prevention
- Schedule Internet Access Times
- Flexible Rules for Employees Vs. Managers
- 1 Unit = Protection For All Computers (Wired/Wireless/Gaming Consoles)
- Monitor & Log Internet Activity
- View Detailed Reports
- Automatic E-mail Notifications
- Simple User-Friendly Interface
- Absolutely No Software to Install
- Plug & Play
- Same Protection Used by Fortune 500 Companies
- Wireless Benefits
- Provides Filtering for All computers Accessing the Internet
- Filters Mobile Phones
- Works with B, G, and N Devices
- Easily Control When and Where Your Children Surf
- Protect Your Children from Online Predators
- Monitor Your Children's Online Activity
- Manage Time Spent Online
- Prevent Viruses & Spyware
- Share Your Internet with Multiple Computers (Wired & Wireless)
- One Device Protects and Manages All Your Computers
- Works with Mac, Windows, and Linux
- Absolutely No Software to Install
- Built-in Firewall Protects Against Online Threats
- Guard Your Children from Inappropriate Content
- Firewall Benefits
- Protects All Computers in Your Home
- Intrusion and anomaly detection
- Shield Computers From Outside Hackers
If I understand it correctly, you can also set different settings according to age group; so toddlers would have very different settings and capabilities than your teenagers per se. You can also set time limits and even restrict time of day access.
Internet Filtering on an Educational/K12 level:
Iboss also offers internet filtering on a school-wide level. One thing that annoyed me at the University that I attended was that for several years it blocked Youtube from being accessed on school computers. While I realize there are some awful things on Youtube, there are also many great and educational videos on Youtube. iboss can control access on a school router so that there is clean access to these sites, and can also enable teachers and students to have different settings and abilities.
To read more about iboss filtering for parental control: https://iboss.com/home_overview.html
To read more about iboss filtering for schools: https://iboss.com/education_k12.html
How do you safeguard your home from pornography?
*This is a sponsored post brought to you by iboss.com. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.*