Your teenage son does a google image search for something innocent.
Maybe he’s looking up his favorite athlete or singer.
Though his search is innocent, among the photos of his favorite athlete are photos of scantily clad women.
Your son sees the photos. What will he do? Will he let his eyes linger? Will he turn away? Will he search for more photos?
Like it or not, this is something we parents need to consider today, especially if our teens are connected to electronics of any kind.
Porn is easily available to teens via the cell phones in their back pockets. And porn addiction can be devastating for a young man (or a young woman). It can negatively affect grades, sleep, and future relationships.
This site uses affiliate links.
We chose Covenant Eyes, because it is an accountability software, rather than a filter.
Filters have their place for sure, especially if you have young children or kids who have already fallen prey to pornography. But we chose to use accountability software, because we wanted to train our kids to say no to inappropriate images and web content.
*Side Note: You can purchase an internet filter as a part of Covenant Eyes, but we just use the accountability software. We may add the filter when our youngest begins using the computer.
Our Family’s Experience with Covenant Eyes Over the Last Year
Our family has internet rules like no computers in the bedroom, no internet late at night, and random spot checks on social media accounts.
Despite our rules, a few years ago, our son accessed — accidentally at first — some videos he shouldn’t have been watching on YouTube.
His curiosity got the better of him, and he kept watching. Fortunately, I caught him fairly quickly, we had a good discussion, and that was that.
Except for not having a filter or accountability software, we did everything right as parents. And our son still came across inappropriate videos.
Parents, we need to be intentional about protecting our kids from things they shouldn’t be viewing on the internet.
A little over a year ago we installed Covenant Eyes. Covenant Eyes monitors our internet usage and sends my husband and I reports on what sites our kids have accessed. My husband and I also have our own reports sent to each other. Accountability is good for everyone in the family.
For a few months both of my teens had clean reports. Then one day I noticed my son had searched a questionable term. I brought up the page he viewed, and my eyes burned.
Because of Covenant Eyes, we knew about the search the day after it happened, and my husband and I were able to talk with our son.
He had read about the term he searched for in a sports article and was curious as to what it meant. So he searched for it. And then searched 5 or 6 more times, because he’s a curious 13 year old.
We talked about how the images weren’t glorifying to God and how pornographic images can actually change the brain. We weren’t judgmental, but we were frank and honest. By the end of the discussion, I think my son understood why accountability is important.
The Real Success of Covenant Eyes
I consider the fact that my kids aren’t viewing online porn a big success.
But the bigger success happened recently.
The other morning my son approached me.
“Mom,” he said, “I just wanted to let you know that I did a Google search the other night for a female soccer player.
I searched for her because I heard she was moving to another team. But as I was scrolling really fast, I accidentally hit “Google hot pictures” a few times. I just wanted you to know in case it comes up in my Covenant Eyes report.”
My son came to me to let me know about images he had accidentally viewed.
I didn’t have to catch him.
He came to me.
THAT is success with Covenant Eyes!
Of course, I pulled up his report, and it said exactly what my son had told me it would say. He had only been on the pages with the pictures a second, so I know he wasn’t lingering on them.
If my husband and I can train our kids to flee from visual temptation when it comes their way — if we can train them to be accountable to others when they are tempted — we have gone a long way toward teaching them to deal with the temptation of sin in a mature Christian way.
It’s not just about protecting them. It’s about teaching them.
There’s no way to shield our kids from seeing all bad images. And when they are adults, they will need to decide on their own what they will do when unsavory images pop up on their computer screens. It is important to teach children what to do before they move out and the internet filters are gone.
We pay $13.99 a month for Covenant Eyes for our family, and the lessons the kids have been learning about how to deal with visual temptation is well worth the price.
So What Will You Do?
If you have pre-teens and teens, what will you do?
If you’re not proactive, porn will find them. It’s readily available. According to statistics gathered by Covenant Eyes, 9 out of 10 boys will be exposed to porn by age 18, and on average the age of first exposure is just 12 years old.
I can tell you that Covenant Eyes has been an invaluable tool for teaching our kids about the risks of the internet and opening the doors of discussion to a somewhat difficult topic. Covenant Eyes has also helped our kids see the value in accountability, which is important in dealing with any sin.
So how will you teach your kids to avoid pornography?
Even if you choose not to use Covenant Eyes, use something. Don’t leave it up to chance. Even “good” kids can be tempted by porn. It’s everywhere.
Stay on top of it. Talk with your kids. Ask them how their eyes are doing. Don’t leave it to chance.