Protecting Kids From Porn

Keeping our kids safe on the internet is starting to, again, generate some buzz.

Recently, Google changed its search sequencing (algorithm) so that if you type in a term that could result in some pornographic images, it at least warns you first. It gives you the option to turn on “SafeSearch” which will, in theory, filter out those images. Believe it or not, some people were not happy about this at all because it inhibited their access to porn (because yes, it is very inconvenient to have to click one extra button).

Porn is Easy to Find

I think people truly do not understand how easy it is to stumble across porn on the Internet. It is everywhere. No really—everywhere. I have had women write to me about how they get their erotica fix off Twitter. Twitter…erotica in 140 characters or less. Who would have thought?

Recently, I was searching for a Christian video and typed in the title of the video itself. The title has nothing to do with sex, nudity, or pornography. The top ten “most relevant” search results included three pornographic videos with blatantly pornographic thumbnails, and another three videos whose titles included the word ‘sex.’  The video I was searching for wasn’t even in the top 10 ‘most relevant’ and I had searched for it by name.

My gut wrenched. What if I had been a 13 year old teenage girl.  Oh wait, I was a 13 year old teenage girl. Fourteen years ago, I was exposed to pornography in the exact same way.

To say I was angry might have been an understatement. So, I immediately looked up the site’s terms of usage to find the address to file a complaint. I am not a member of this site which means there was absolutely no age-verification or adult content warnings (not to mention, the results had nothing to do with my search term). I was appalled to find that, according to their terms of use, soft-core pornography is okay.

Yes—you read that right—soft-core pornography is acceptable on this site and can be accessed without signing in or verifying your age. As long as you actually can’t see the intercourse it is fine. They can be having sex with their clothes on and that’s acceptable, or they can be making out naked. Either one of those are fine, and completely unfiltered.

It infuriates me, but it’s not the worst part.

Porn Easily Finds Your Kids

This is the part that angers me the most. Pornography no longer exists inside the world of adult entertainment. There are no more brown paper bags, no more dark windows, no more traveling to the seedy side of town.

The exposure of a child is no longer accidental. They are not finding porn because dad left his magazines out or because their friends at school found a Playboy on the street. Children are finding porn because porn is looking for them, and it’s finding them.

Years ago, I spoke at a homeschool moms event. My workshop was about protecting your family from pornography, and many of the women there had teenage boys. One mother, however, had a very young son and the idea of him stumbling across pornography just scared her.

Her little boy was just getting ready to enter Kindergarten, and she asked me, “When do I have to start watching out for this?” I told her she needed to be watching now. No, it is highly unlikely that her four year old is going to start looking for pornography tomorrow, but just because he isn’t looking for it doesn’t mean he won’t find it.

I told her, “You need to start watching now. Start putting up boundaries now. If you let him use the computer for anything, you need to be there. He doesn’t have to go looking for it, he can type in something innocent—his favorite cartoon character—and find pornography. There are hundreds of websites linked to cartoon characters.”

“Oh,” she replied, “because the porn sites are using those names?”

“No,” I said, “because the porn sites are using those characters. He could type in his favorite cartoon character and find pictures of that cartoon character having sex.” She was horrified, almost to the point of tears.

There are sites dedicated to childhood cartoon pornography, and you know they aren’t for the adults. It brings a new perspective to 1 Peter 5:8, when we are told to be sober and vigilant because our adversary is roaming around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

If a roaring lion were after you and your child, what would you do?

Please, parents be vigilant, for the sake of your sons (and daughters), be watching. Be involved. Know what is finding your kids.