If you are like most parents, navigating the ever-changing technological advances and easy access teens have to pornography is daunting.  It is a challenge to know where to begin to address the issues with teens. There are a couple of different approaches to helping limit or monitor your children’s internet access: 1) Internet Filters and 2) Accountability Software.

Internet Filters

One approach to protecting kids is to limit their access to the internet. There are a number of filters that can be used to restrict access to certain websites or content. These aren’t perfect and sometimes limit access to legitimate websites that one might need to access (such as this blog – WGA’s website addresses lots of sexual issues that get rejected by filters because of our topics). Despite the imperfections, they are worth utilizing to prevent accidental or deliberate exposure to porn.

Most mobile devices and PC’s have some amount of filtering options built into their software. If you’d like to have a more refined experience with more options, here is a link to a site that reviews internet filters. I encourage you to read up on which ones best fit your needs and budget. They have a “Best Overall” (Qustodio), “Best Value” (Net Nanny), and “Best for Mobile” (Surfie).

Accountability Software

Another approach to managing internet usage is to utilize accountability software. Rather than restricting access like a filter does, accountability software sends a report to the parent (or other accountability person) of every website visited. This serves as a deterrent, because internet usage is not secret anymore. It is also an invitation to dialogue about websites visited.

The key to making the most of these types of software is follow-up once you have received a report of internet usage. My hope is that parents can use these reports as conversation starters, rather than as punishment. A couple of these types of software to consider are Covenant Eyes and X3Watch.

There is also a really great resource to check out that offers really solid advice about managing technology as a family. It is a book called The Tech-Wise Family by Andy Crouch.

Remember, it is counter-cultural to try and avoid pornography. You can’t control everything your child sees on the internet. They have friends with smart phones who may not have parents who are working to limit their access to pornography. This is why parents must foster an environment where it is safe to talk about these things. I’ll address some steps to do this in my next article.

Roger Jones

Roger Jones

Executive Director

In the spring of 1995, the conflict Roger felt between his faith and his sexuality, as well as an addiction to pornography, led him to WGA. His personal journey has provided him unique insights into sexuality and the pain of adversity, which he shares through his testimony, facilitation of small groups, writing and public speaking. Roger began working with WGA in October of 1996 as the Assistant office Manager. Since that time, he has worn many hats and served in several different positions, including Assistant Program Director and Operations Director. In April of 2007, Roger assumed the position of Executive Director. Roger attended West Texas A&M University, where he studied Music Business. Much of his training has been “on the job,” where he was mentored by the ministry’s Founder, Mary Heathman, and the Program Director, Scott Kingry. He holds a BA from West Texas A&M University. Roger, his wife Jill, and their daughter Julia and son William, attend Celebration Community Church where Jill serves as Associate Pastor.

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