5 Ways to Keep Porn Out of Your Home

By: Dina Alexander

Although there is no sure fire way to keep the effects of pornography completely out of your home, there are several actions you can take to inoculate yourself and your children. As you might any emergency situation, we can use a triage approach to dealing with porn.

1. Get a Reliable Filter for Your Computer and Mobile Devices. This is the first “bandaid” you can apply to protect your family from pornography. I use K-9 Web Protection. It’s free and has thus far, been very reliable for our home and mobile devices. It blocks websites in more than 70 categories, including pornography, gambling, drugs, violence/hate/racism, malware/spyware, and phishing. There are many other internet filters to choose from (http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2429667,00.asp) that are reasonably priced.

2. Educate Yourself as to How Porn has Seeped into Your Life. Review the television shows, commercials, and movies you and your family watch. Listen carefully to the lyrics of songs you and your children are listening to. What books and magazines are your family reading? What themes, language and attitudes are you condoning by bringing these elements of pop culture into your home? Are the majority of themes misogynistic or subtle put-downs toward one gender or another? Are the majority of jokes on your favorite show related to sex?

Do your children’s clothing, toys and games (video and otherwise) reflect a sexuality that is too mature for them? Are your young children concerned about dieting, wearing make-up or conforming to narrow gender-stereotypes? These issues need to be addressed on an individual level in order to understand each child’s needs and to help him/her face societal pressures.

3. Create a Standard in your Home that Reflects your Ethics and Ideals. The best way to teach your children about what media is acceptable, is to teach by example. Your choices will be reflected in your children’s choices. If your child has grown up in a home where cultural slurs, put-downs directed toward one parent or making light of others’ struggles are acceptable, then your children will follow suit. If you have something to hide, chances are, your kids do too. Take inventory of your media standards and rid your home of those books, games, apps, videos and TV shows that you do not want your kids participating in.

Take time to discuss your media standards with your children. Listen to their input and find out why your child gets gratification from certain video games or movies. This is a conversation that will probably have to be visited several times as your child gets older and desires different media or devices.

4. Begin and Continue a Dialogue about Healthy Sexuality. Gone are the days of one “sex talk” with your children. Changes in expectations and societal norms are happening so fast, that it is expedient to revisit healthy sexuality many times in your child’s developing years. Beginning at an early age, discuss proper dress that cover private areas and ‘good touch’ ‘bad touch,’ standards. As your children get older it is necessary that they know what bodily changes will be coming in puberty, specifics in anatomy and the different challenges faced by boys and girls. Other important discussions should include holding hands, kissing, masturbation, healthy relationships, abusive relationships, love, sexual intimacy, birth control, sexually transmitted diseases, and the dangers of pornography.

5. Monitor your Children. Trusting your children is important and so is checking up on them. In keeping an open, communicative relationship with your children, it is important to know where they are spending their time online. Who are their friends on Facebook or Twitter? Who are they texting and calling? Which sites hold their attention the longest? Check their history or caches often and know where to look when these have been erased. Learn the ins and outs of your computer and smart phones. There are dozens of tutorials online that will assist Apple and PC users to understand their computer and mobile devices to the fullest. When you do find something that is not inline with your beliefs, do not use shame or guilt to make an impact or create change. Discuss habits rationally and calmly.

For more information on this subject, check out our book How to Talk to Your Kids About Pornography. It is also available in Spanish.