Let’s be honest here. How many of us think that if we just put that Internet filter on our electronic devices that we’re “good to go” and all of our porn compulsions and addictions are suddenly solved. Go ahead, it’s ok, raise your hand.
I bet we all know, somewhere deep down, that it’s not true. We want it to be true, but it’s just not.
The important thing to remember is that your Internet filter is a minor (though important) part of your tool chest for battling pornography.
Let’s start with what Internet filters are good for:
- Filters will help block unwanted sites that you really shouldn’t be looking at.
- They also help prevent unexpected images and content from suddenly being displayed right in front of your face.
- For those that struggle with porn, lust, or related addictions, preventing inappropriate images may reduce some of the many triggers that will start your porn craving brain going down the road to undesirable behavior.
Internet filters are a necessary component of your accountability, and with a program like Covenant Eyes Internet Accountability, they can be a window to your Internet activity and that history is provided to a necessary real life accountability partner.
Many times just knowing that someone else will know the sites that you have been visiting is enough to stop the “preverbal train” leading to lust and thus eventually acting out.
But that’s about where the value of Internet filters stop.
You may be saying to yourself, “So what’s the problem? That seems pretty good to me.”
Well, it’s merely a start and typically the first of many steps to true freedom.
Here’s what your Internet filter won’t do for you:
- Filters can lead to a false sense of security—leading one to believe that as long as the computer is filtered, their porn problems are resolved. This is a really dangerous place to be and kind of a time bomb. It prevents us from doing the “real work” that is necessary for achieving true freedom. The underlying issues that causes us to make the choice to look at porn are still lying dormant—waiting to tempt us in another way.
- Filters don’t address the actual problem. Attraction to porn, or just the behavior of “acting out,” doesn’t just happen. There are always triggers, life events, a personal history that typically consist of problems somewhere in the past that are of emotional distress or events that create inner wounds. Commonly, these wounds are not something as serious as being molested or abused. They can simply be events of feeling neglected or one or both parents not being good at showing their love—and so we look elsewhere.
- Filters are not a substitute for true authentic accountability. Accountability with a real person is so critical for fighting the battle of pornography and sex addictions. Accountability partners are important even for those don’t feel they are “addicted” but just have a tendency to be drawn to look at porn and have difficulty controlling the behavior. (Really an addiction, but some of us just can’t use that word yet.)
- Porn or lust commonly stem from emotional wounds. We kind of touched on this already, but it really is important. These wounds create an emptiness that translates to a need for authentic intimacy. This is a need that God creates us with. It links us to each other and to Him. If we understand what true authentic intimacy is, we have a much easier time acquiring it.
In the absence of real teaching about who we are as men (or women) in the image of God, and in the absence of understanding how we are wired by God for intimacy with him and others, we are easy prey to counterfeit intimacy: porn and lust.
While Internet filters may assist in the blocking of some of the sources for this false intimacy, it won’t remove the desire for it. As a result, we ultimately find it elsewhere. We still lust after the woman at the market, or standing in front of us at Starbucks. Many of us are even capable of getting around or fooling the filters.
Ultimately the Internet filter is an important component in the battle for purity, but only the first step to recovery. It must be followed by a true accountability, education, lifestyle changes, prayer, and the desire to change.
Remember, the Internet filter is not your Savior.