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I am writing today to fellow dads and moms, grandparents, and leaders of boys and men. I am being challenged more and more about how vigilant we need to be in protecting our families from the onslaught of attack on traditional marriage and family. The more confused our kids are about what is good, true, and wholesome love and intimacy the less likely they are to have good, strong marriages and families. I believe this is one of many reasons pornography, sexuality, and promiscuity are flaunted in today’s TV shows, movies, video games, and online.

I wanted to share with you some solutions that I have found to assist us in the war to keep our young men pure and to walk alongside them in this journey into manhood. I have a really great dad, but he didn’t know how to talk to me about sexuality and the issues of life that young men face. In turn I attempted to teach my boys lessons that I had gleaned through my growth in the Lord and my desire to pass along Biblical truths, but I know I could have done a lot better.

This current generation is dealing with a culture that is hostile to God’s word, purity, and even real manhood. I would like to focus this article on a number of items related to protecting ourselves and our children in the digital age.

Current statistics show that boys today are exposed to pornography by the age of 10. The allure of this unknown area becomes a snare and a trap to boys and men alike. Dr. Donald Hilton, a neurosurgeon and respected expert on pornography addiction, agrees:

“While we must continue to fight the good fight legally and societally, we are way beyond avoidance as our only defense. Pornography wants you, it wants your husband or wife, it wants your son and daughter, your grandchildren, and your in-laws. It doesn’t share well, and it doesn’t leave easily. It is a cruel master, and seeks more slaves.”

We cannot stick our heads in the sand hoping this will go away, and we can’t just assume that it is a rite of passage for teenage boys. Today’s pornography is violent, deviant, and abusive. We have a whole generation of boys becoming desensitized in their sexuality.

The more they see at 10-12, the more hard core they will want at 15 or 20. What this leaves us with is men who are ashamed and have a hard time with commitment and intimacy. True intimacy between men and their wives is destined to be stolen because they have been strong-armed by an addiction just as bad as the narcotics on th street.

We are better than this! Our sons are better than this! We need to see this next generation rise up and challenge the status quo. Challenge the mainstream attitude that pornography is ok and will even make you a better lover. We need to reclaim intimacy for our young men!

What is pornography? In today’s day and age it is much more prevalent than it was years ago. In the book, What's the Big Deal About Pornography? A Guide for the Internet Generation, by Dr. Jill Manning, she defines it this way:

“Pornography is material specifically designed to arouse sexual feelings in people by depicting nudity, sexual behavior, or any type of sexual information. This can refer to pictures, stories, sounds, symbols, actions or words that depict bodies and/or sexual behavior.”

Scripture tells us in Proverbs 6:25-28:

“Do not lust after her beauty in your heart, nor let her allure you with her eyelids. For by means of a harlot a man is reduced to a crust of bread; and an adulteress will prey upon his precious life. Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared?”

And in Job 31:1: "I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.”

And 2 Timothy 2:22 says, “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

So we need to memorize and meditate on these verses because we know God’s word will not return void (Isaiah 55:11).  Psalm 119:9-11 says, “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought you; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”

Why is pornography so bad? Well, we recognize that it is addictive; that it destroys marriages and families; that it can lead to violent crimes such as rape, child abuse, and human trafficking. But I see all of these as symptoms of this horribly harmful sin. At its core it is blatant disrespect of others who have been created in the image of God! (Genesis 1:27) Aristotle said, “To love is to will the good of the other.” Porn does the opposite by teaching that women are sex objects who simply exist to satisfy another person’s sexual urges or desires. It desensitizes us, and the woman is no longer a person with feelings, emotions, or aspirations of her own. Pornography doesn’t encourage intimacy because it is all about what one person is gaining, and not about the love and respect of another. Pornography demands, degrades, and disrespects, while intimacy gives, gratifies, and gains respect.

Recently I read a statistic that there are four times more adult bookstores in the U.S. than there are McDonald’s restaurants. As I pondered that large number I was thinking of the many deterrents to visiting such a place. First off, they restrict minors from entering, browsing, and buying. Secondly, there is a cost involved in the purchase and use of these products. Thirdly, one would have to drive there, which sacrifices anonymity.

The internet made pornography affordable, acceptability, and anonymous. 70-80% of online pornography is free, but these free pages are “bait” to get the unsuspecting visitor to submit their credit card to get even more of their addicting product.

An article that I read on Covenant Eyes’ web site tells us these three factors of online pornography - affordable, acceptable, and anonymous - can be likened to a 3-legged stool. One of the solutions to avoiding pornography is to remove anonymity so the allure of pornography collapses.

This can be done by a number of steps. Here are some of the things we need to consider:

a.     Build strong relationships with our boys. Develop accountability with them online, with friends, and when interacting with the opposite sex.
One side note - Men and fathers, we also need to be more willing to share with others if we are caught up in this sin. Find a close brother in the Lord or a pastor to counsel with.

 

b.     Filter the internet that comes into our homes and on the devices that we use. Many of us have security systems in our homes, such as cameras that allow us to see visitors and intruders while we are away from home, or systems that will alert us if there is a burglar. But we don’t have the same diligence when it comes to the devices our children use. Would we question if they were walking down the street in the Red-light district of the city? So why don’t we monitor and control where they go online? Perhaps we may not know how. It isn’t easy, and we may just neglect it, or restrict them from all internet use. This may work for a time when they’re little, but this generation is online as a necessity.

a.     Filtering options are available with OpenDNS (see links at the bottom of this article) which blocks potentially harmful sites at the router. Check out accountability software like Covenant Eyes, Qustodio and Accountable2You.

b.     Restrict access to sites and apps within each one, such as Netflix, YouTube, and others.

c.     Monitor texts and chats by having an Open Device Policy, which says that you are allowed to view their activity on their phones at any time of day or night, just by asking. Otherwise, they don’t get to keep the device.

c.     Keep the conversation alive. Don’t just set up filtering and accountability software and walk away. That is only part of your parenting.

Send me an email if you have thoughts or questions about how to integrate these things into your home and with your family.

All God’s best,

Casey Fabiano
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

LINKS:

OpenDNS: www.opendns.com/home-internet-security

Covenant Eyes: www.covenanteyes.com

Qustodio: www.qustodio.com

Accountable2You: www.accountable2you.com

Netflix Parental Controls: www.protectyoungeyes.com/content/netflix/

YouTube Parental Controls: www.protectyoungeyes.com/content/youtube/

App Risks: www.protectyoungeyes.com/apps

 

 



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