Looking at the statistics of pornography use can be horrifying, especially when you are a parent.
I was recently working on an Edge Night for middle school youth and their parents that discussed the issue of pornography. I could not help but be overwhelmed by the statistics that show it is not a matter of if our children will be exposed to pornography, but rather when.
Statistically, 90% of boys and 60% of girls will have seen some sort of pornographic image or video by the time that they are 18 years old and other studies show that the average age of exposure to pornography for young men is 12 years old, and most likely happening even as soon as 8.
Cue the sickening feeling in the pit of every parent’s stomach.
Technology has made it incredibly easy for people to access pornography and there is a growing number of teenagers who are accessing it regularly. This is alarming and harmful on many different levels, but that is not what I wish to discuss in this blog.
What I do want to draw your attention to is that, while statistics and technology may make us feel like it is hopeless, there are actually a TON of resources available to help us as parents. These offer support to us as we protect our children from pornography, help them to be responsible users of technology, and teach them to know what to do if they come across explicit content when they are not in the fold of our protection. You may have already heard of some of these, or are already implementing them, but I think it is worth listing here for all of you who feel a little uncertain as to where to begin.
Here are some great resources that you may find helpful:
Victory App: Resources and App
“The fight for freedom from pornography is a battle you can win. But, every battle needs a plan. The Victory app provides a strategic battle plan for liberty in the struggle against pornography.”
Covenant Eyes: Resources and Accountability Software
“What people do online impacts their lives offline. Our goal is to equip people with tools that provide protection and encourage accountability and trust in the fight against Internet temptation. We bridge the gap between technology and relationships.™”
Fight the New Drug: Resources
“Fight the New Drug is a non-religious and non-legislative organization that exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography by raising awareness on its harmful effects using only science, facts, and personal accounts.”
Clean Browsing: Filtering and Blocking Software, Free Options
“Browse the web without surprises. You get to decide what type of content is allowed in your home or network. Parents can protect their kids from adult content, schools can be CIPA compliant and businesses can block malicious domains and gain visibility into their network. All it takes is 5 minutes.”
It’s Time We Talked: Resources
“Reality & Risk is a violence prevention project that supports young people, parents, schools, government and the community sector to understand and address the influence of pornography.”
Common Sense Media: Media/App Reviews
“Common Sense is the leading independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology. We empower parents, teachers, and policymakers by providing unbiased information, trusted advice, and innovative tools to help them harness the power of media and technology as a positive force in all kids’ lives.”
Protect Young Eyes: Parenting Controls, Media Reviews, Presentations, Blocking Software
“Protect Young Eyes Helps Keep Kids And Teens Safe From The Dangers Lurking On Portable, Internet-Ready Devices.”
Circle with Disney: Screen Time Management, Content Management
“The smart way for families to manage content and time online, on any device.”
Good Picture Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids by Kristen Jenson
Parenting the Internet Generation, Free E-Book
Remember, no matter how old your children are or what they have already been exposed to, it is NEVER too late. There is always hope, there is always mercy, and there is always help — no matter the circumstance. Do not be afraid to have the hard conversations, do not be afraid to seek professional help, do not be afraid to seek spiritual advice and sacramental forgiveness. Pornography is a big deal, but it is no match for parents who are engaged, involved, and aware. And it is certainly no match for the power of God, the grace of the Sacraments, and the mercy and love of Jesus Christ.