Under the sparkling lights of the Christmas tree, 8-year-old Devin ripped through paper candy canes to find the iPod touch for which he had pleaded for months.
His family smiled at his glee, but very soon they would be heartbroken. Through this gift of love they would provide him his first deluge of hardcore pornography, which he would keep secret from his family for months.
This is a true story, though the boy’s name has been changed. Unfortunately, this scenario will repeat itself again thousands of times this Christmas as parents with good intentions wrap unprotected mobile devices that are the equivalent of emotional and psychological dynamite.
Please, don’t be one of those parents.
Protecting your child…now
Parents, consider this: 43% of children view pornography for the first time before the age of 13. That’s not exactly a warm and joyous statistic and should serve as a wake-up call about the long-term impact that unprotected computers, gaming systems, and mobile devices may have on a child’s life.
Internet-capable devices bring a host of risks to your child, not limited to:
It’s time to take the time to get educated on these issues. Life is extremely busy, and these things so easily get put on the backburner. But life will come to a screeching halt the moment you realize your child has been exposed to, or is a part of, an online danger.
Here are three things you can do right away to start protecting your family today:
- Talk to your children. Let them know that the new iPhone they got for Christmas comes with responsibility and consequences. Set a standard in your home for safe Internet use and stick to it.
- Do an app inventory. Do you know all the apps your child has on their phone, and most importantly, what those apps do? Popular apps like Snapchat are getting kids into inappropriate situations, some with legal consequences. Never heard of Snapchat? Well that’s exactly the point—parents continually need to stay educated and research new apps their kids want to use.
- Install protective monitoring and/or filtering software on your children’s Internet-capable devices. This gives an extra layer of protection for when you cannot be there to look over your child’s shoulder. Services like Covenant Eyes help teach your children to make wise choices about the sites they go to, knowing someone will receive a regular report of their activity.
Let Us Help
Many parents need help getting started. They may feel unsure about how to talk about tough topics, like online pornography, with their kids and teens. They may not know the impact of pornography is having on today’s kids. And of course, they may feel intimidated about how to protect computers and mobile devices.
To help parents overcome these hurdles, Covenant Eyes created a DVD parent workshop. It’s called UNFILTERED: Equipping Parents for an Ongoing Conversation about Internet Pornography.
UNFILTERED features top experts and it’s designed to educate you and parents from your church and community about the dangers of pornography. Its aim is to help parents prepare their children for a world where pornography is easily accessible.
You’ll learn startling statistics and the effects of pornography use and exposure. You’ll also glean simple parenting techniques to keep up with kids’ activities online and how to have healthy and God-centered conversations about sexual temptations and what we see and do online.
If you’re already using Covenant Eyes services to protect your family’s computers and devices, you’re ahead of the game and we commend you.
But the truth is, your kids have access to the Internet in more homes than you own. How are your children protected at their friends homes, or even at school? We created UNFILTERED as the perfect talking piece to help you have these tough conversations with the people who influence your children’s lives.
Help Covenant Eyes protect more families, and buy an extra copy for your pastor or church leaders to use. Unlike the jelly-of-the-month club, UNFILTERED is truly a gift that keeps on giving…it’s an investment that will trickle down to future generations.
From all of us at Covenant Eyes, have a safe and joyous holiday season!
Pure Minds Online | Issue 39 | More in this issue: Timebombs in Kids’ Hands | How Pain Leads to Porn | 2013 Covenant Eyes Buyer’s Guide for Game Consoles (and Other Gadgets)