They Will See Porn: Mom of 6 Gets Real About Her Kids

“My boys think they’re immune to porn. I know that they aren’t.”

Sandy has been a stay-at-home mom to six kids for 24 years, three of whom are teenage boys still living at home. Because of school and their interests, they are on the computer a lot. Sandy takes the weight of her role as a mom very seriously. In addition to making sure that they are completing their school and homework, she feels it is her responsibility to make certain that her boys are not going to websites that promote porn or illicit material.

There are some days that a job outside the house seems like it would be easier.

It’s not a matter of if, but when.

In a world overflowing with sex, porn, and inappropriate content, Sandy knows that her kids will see things she wish they never had.

“There is no way a teenage boy isn’t going to go looking to see what is out there at some point. Any parent who says ‘my kids would never do that,’ are being fooled. I have good boys; I trust them. But they’re going to look. They’re going to fail. I refuse to be in the dark about it.”

This isn’t meant to be a discouragement or shock to parents. If anything, it should be an indication of our faulty human nature. Children and adults alike can fall prey to the temptations of porn, and they do. Sandy reminds herself of this when her children do fall into the snare of porn or sexual content. She says that it is so easy to question her parenting when her kids mess up: “Was I tight enough in the boundaries? Was I too relaxed in watching them?”

This can instill a lot of guilt, but Sandy regularly reminds herself that they are teenage boys with real curiosities and tendencies towards sin, and she’s doing the best that she can. She is not the only parent of teenage boys. She’s not the only mom working to fight against porn. And ultimately, her boys are prone to mistakes, just like every single human who has ever existed.

Related: Good Kids Get Hooked on Porn Too

Start using boundaries in your home.

Although Sandy recognizes that her teenage sons are going to stumble across porn (or actively seek it out), she believes that she can still train and teach them to govern themselves through boundaries.

To start, all computer use has to happen in a common space,

There is absolutely zero Internet or device usage allowed in bedrooms. Sandy knows that her kids will be far less likely to keep secrets if their screen is sitting in an open area, for all to see.

All gaming and non-school usage have daily time limits.

In addition to time limits, online gaming is strictly prohibited. Many parents are unaware that online gaming is an open door for chatting with strangers, online predators, and explicit content.

No cellphones are allowed until they start driving.

This is usually around the age of 16. Even then, Sandy’s kids are only allowed to have a standard “flip phone,” which has limited texting and zero internet access. This phone acts as a test, where each child must prove that they are trustworthy. From there, they are allowed to purchase a smartphone.

But even then, there are boundaries for this. No social media on the phone. Parental controls for app downloads. All phones must be turned in at 10 p.m. Step by step, Sandy and her husband will give each child more privilege with their phones, but it is gradual, and only dependent on their track record with the device.

Related:Porn-Free Home: A Parent’s Survival Guide

Technology checks are random and unannounced.

For all devices, Sandy will regularly check the browsing history, text messages, emails, etc. These checks are unannounced, so that her sons won’t have time to erase what they have been doing online. And, as a “final line of defense,” all devices in the home have Covenant Eyes Screen Accountability actively running in the background. Sandy says that Covenant Eyes has caught questionable content that she had no idea her boys were viewing. And while she’d rather they confess it to her first without even needing Screen Accountability, she’s thankful that this software brings the secret to light and encourages conversations.

You can’t change the heart, but you can train the mind.

The boundaries seem like a lot, at first glance. Sandy knows that many parents might consider her family’s technology rules to be strict and overbearing. But as a mother who spends the majority of her day at home, surrounded by computers and phones, it’s essential to training her kids to turn from temptation and seek what is right. And, she knows that there will be a day when her boys move out and are responsible for their own accountability. Until then, it’s her job to prepare them for that.

Sandy considers herself to be the first gatekeeper, protecting them from what they don’t even realize is out there. If they accidentally see porn, it has the potential to whet their appetite for more and prompt them to go seeking for it. Sandy says, “That is my greatest challenge—to make sure their eyes are staying clean. I trust them, I do. But it’s so easy to get into porn.”

Her husband starts the conversations with their sons about porn, but Sandy is home with them all day. If she does find that they have been viewing porn, she will tell her husband, who deals with it “man-to-man.” However, it is crucial that as parents, they don’t respond in shock when they find out their boys have looked at porn. If parents respond in shock and knee-jerk reactions, their children aren’t going to want to talk to them openly and honestly about their struggles in this area.

This is why Sandy and her husband encourage conversations of the heart, not immediate consequences. Of course, there are times when new measures of protection must be put into place, but this is always preceded by conversations filled with grace and understanding.

As her sons grow and someday prepare to leave home and start life on their own, Sandy hopes that the boundaries she’s put in place and the conversations her husband has had with their teens will guide their online habits and continue to encourage them to avoid temptation.

And to the other moms (and dads!) out there raising up young men and women to seek after purity, Sandy wants to encourage them to be strong and unwavering in the fight. Parenting is a grand challenge, but it is one that will have a lasting impact on your children, their children, and the generations to come.