Babies, Germs, and the Importance of Porn Proofing Your Home

Life entered a brand new ballgame when my 8-month-old started to crawl. All of a sudden, he went from being a completely stationary and content baby, to a tiny monster who could move anywhere and get into anything. I quickly realized the need to baby-proof everything in my home—outlets, cords, cabinets, entertainment center, etc. Without baby-proofing, this adorable but very active child would be able to access areas of our home that could actually be quite dangerous to him.

Although porn is no baby, I like to think of it as something that we need to prevent and be protected from. Our physical environment can either help or hinder our families from living porn-free, and it is important that we set up our spaces so that it is difficult to access porn, and easy to encourage healthy habits.

That being said, it’s time to porn-proof your home.

Porn likes to hide.

One of the first ways to porn-proof your home is by keeping technology exposed—in the light. When I think of secluded rooms in my home, the basement, bathroom, and bedrooms come to mind. Getting rid of these rooms is pretty much impossible, but setting up boundaries for these rooms will make porn less accessible.

In the basement, remove stationary computers and TVs. If you have an office space or movie room already in place, make sure that the computers and TVs are facing an open space. This way, if anyone were to walk down the basement stairs, they could see what is on the screen, making the viewer less likely to watch porn in that space. In my childhood home, our desktop computer lived in the basement, but the screen could be seen by anyone who came downstairs, making it easy for my mom to check in on what we were watching.

Now, onto the bathrooms—a space where technology should never live. It’s so easy for us to grab our phones as we head to the bathroom for 10 minutes of uninterrupted peace. However, when you’re alone in this room that usually has a lock, great temptation can arise to watch porn, even if it’s just for a few minutes. By making a rule that phones need to stay out of bathrooms, you can eliminate this temptation.

The bedroom is another space where porn likes to hide, especially for children. I would strongly recommend that children not be allowed to have devices in their bedrooms, especially at night. My parents had us leave our phones on the kitchen counter at night, and our computers had to be used in our rooms in conjunction with an “open door policy.” Keeping porn out of the bedroom means that children (and adults) should not even have the opportunity to hide “under the covers” with their devices, or close the door to keep accountability out.

Related: Why Parents Should Keep Smartphones Out of the Bedroom

The overarching goal is to keep technology in the open—to avoid hiding behind doors or facing walls for no one to see. When we are held accountable in this way, it will be much more difficult to say yes to temptation.

Porn cannot live in healthy environments.

I really dislike germs. As a mom, I take every precaution (sometimes to the extreme) to make sure that my family stays healthy and fights off germs. I am always washing my hands, taking vitamins, and cleaning surfaces with disinfectant. Porn is a lot like a really bad germ—easy to catch, but also avoidable most of the time. Creating a porn-proof home means we need to treat it like the nasty germ that it is and create a healthy environment for ourselves and our families.

Start by encouraging open and honest communication within the home. If you’re a parent, this means you’re going to need to be just as honest with your kids as you want them to be with you. Share your stressors and struggles with them (in a way that they can understand), and display honesty with your spouse. Kids learn by example. They will start to want to come to you with questions and struggles of their own.

Not sure how to encourage this type of open communication? Start small. This can be as simple as sitting down as a family at dinner and having each person go around the table and share their highs and lows of the days. Even small children can participate in this; you may just need to simplify the language (e.g. “Did you have a good or bad day? Why?”).

Related: 10 Amazing Resources for Talking to Kids About Porn

Another way to create a healthy, porn-free environment in your home is through schedules—specifically, routine. There is a lot of flexibility in creating a family schedule. I remember my mom scheduled out our entire day in 15 minute increments when we were being homeschooled. We knew exactly when we would do our math, play outside, etc.

Now, in my own home, I am a little less scheduled, but my 9-year-old knows what time of day he is allowed to play video games, what time I am done with work, and so on.

Families thrive on consistency, so having a routine like this can regulate tech time and help you as a parent to be more aware of what your child is doing and when.

Porn struggles to jump fences.

Unlike kids, who somehow figure out how to climb over everything (my baby thinks he can do this), fences can stop porn right in its tracks, before it’s had a chance to enter your home.

If you’re not worried about your child(ren) seeing porn in your own home, you should be. It is so incredibly easy nowadays for kids to stumble across inappropriate images, even if they didn’t mean to. Fortunately, there are plenty of fences you can put up that allow your child to use technology while being protected.

One of these fences is Covenant Eyes Screen Accountability. By putting this software on all of your devices, you will be better informed as to what your child is doing online. You’ll also be informed when they see explicit imagery. Notice that I say when, not if, because they will see it. I like to think of Screen Accountability as a family tool; not only will it protect your kids, but you as a parent can use it as well.

Another necessary fence for families is parental controls. Most devices have settings that allow parents to lock down parts of the device or set time limits. Before handing your child a device, I encourage you to look into the controls available on that device and use them.

In our home, I quickly learned that my 9-year-old can ask our Google Home any question that he wants, and the device will answer. This has led to quite a few accidental, but inappropriate responses from the Google Home. So, we have set up controls that include: downtime after 8 p.m., music limitations, and disabled YouTube videos.

Above all, remember that no one is immune.

No matter how many times we wash our hands and take our daily dose of vitamin C, our family still gets sick occasionally. I can do everything in my power to protect my kids from catching a cold, but they’re kids. They are still going to put their hands in their mouths and share their food with other kids.

You can do everything I have talked about above to porn-proof your home, but your kids will still see it at some point in their lives. They might not see it within the walls of your home, because you’ve taken every precaution protect them, but they will see it elsewhere. You might see it; your spouse might see it.

I don’t say this to discourage you, but instead to encourage you to keep doing everything you can to protect your home. Keep having the important conversations with your kids. Make sure that there is an abundance of honesty and that every necessary boundary is in place. Prepare your home so that when your kids do see porn, you are ready to keep them safe and talk with them about how to stay pure and avoid seeing it again.