Managing the Family Internet

 

For years, I have encouraged families to be smart about any version of adult sexuality that is “visible” in their homes, especially once they have children.

 

For this reason, for years when I had been talking to parents with children around the age of 9, I had told them it was time to get rid of anything that exposed the child to adult sexuality.  Obviously, that would include any pornography…

 

And I meant any.  There is no such thing as a safe hiding place for pornography in the home… and a simple way of defining pornography for this exercise was  anything that exposed adult sexuality – lingerie catalogues, romance novels (or any books with explicit sexuality described – including sometimes Christian marriage books)… movies with nudity or explicit sexual interactions, etc.

 

I am not making a blanket statement that these things are all evil… not at all.  However, there is a period of time when a child will find themselves almost irresistibly drawn to anything sexual and you don’t want anything in the house that doesn’t represent a healthy way to engage.  A child should not have to be exposed with their earliest understanding of sex be the same that is targeting an adult.

 

For more about how to talk to your kids about sex, check outhttp://chrismlegg.com/2011/07/03/talking-to-kids-about-sex-part-i/

 

This used to be sufficient to tell parents.  Get rid of the novels, magazines and catalogues.

 

Not any more.

 

The internet creates portals for adult sexuality in ways that have not been available to children, maybe in the history of mankind.  Certainly in abundance and variety that have not been available ever before.

 

The pornography issue is massive and extremely dangerous.  The addictive cycle that it can create at any age is incredible.  Further, it feels like something happens in the brain of a child the earlier they are exposed, that can impact the way that person intuitively engages with sexuality for the rest of their lives!

 

For this reason, though I believe the are awesome, healthy and amazing times in life to learn about sex, I do not think there is ever a healthy time to be exposed to pornography.  The longer a kid can avoid it, the better.

 

So, then how do parents in this millennium protect their children?

 

First by being aware.

 

You cannot afford ignorance or naiveté.

 

I hear regularly about a child who gains access to internet porn via a portal that they were unaware existed!  When I ask, parents tell me that  they are careful about their children’s internet usage and access by telling me that the family computer is in a public space… or maybe they have put a program that allows them to access the history of the computer.

 

They are naïve.

In Part II, we will look at some of the key  things you need to know in regards to your children’s internet access that you may not be aware of.