Protecting Your Teen on their Internet Enabled Devices - Part 1 - CONVERSATIONS

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THE NEED FOR INTERNET ACCOUNTABILITY

If you are a parent, it is important to encourage your kids to click wisely while surfing. We might not think we have to talk with our kids about pornography and internet usage (or we might not want to) but this chart from Covenant Eyes shares just how prevalent internet pornography can be among teens.  I don't mean to offend anyone by posting these statistics. Some of them are shocking, but the reality is, this is the world our teens live in and as parents. We should want to lovingly foster our teen's heart so they can see the need to be set apart for God and avoid sexual immorality (1 Thes. 4:3).

So what can we do?

In this post and the next post, I will share some tools and advice that I have come across that can help in the battle over pornography and lust.

POINT THEM TO JESUS

Ultimately, Jesus is the answer.  That sounds "churchy" but that is the truth.  Helping your teen to see how much better Jesus is than pornography or sexual sins is the starting place for healing.  Take time to talk with them about how great Jesus is and the blessings He has given.  Let them see that Jesus frees and gives life (Jn 10:10).  It is not easy to do this.  Our fallen world and sinful desires push us away from God's truth, but choosing to trust Jesus over those things brings joy and true freedom.  Your teen might struggle with some of their desires to view porn for the rest of their life.  Sometimes it may be easy for them to say no to porn, sometimes it may be hard,  but show them that trusting Jesus is better. 

On a side note - don't take it for granted that your teen automatically trusts Jesus or has a relationship with him.  Encourage them to seek and trust Jesus on their own.  You can't make them.  That's not how a personal relationship with God works.

CONVERSATIONS

Another step in this process is having loving, continual conversations with your teens about internet usage and pornography. One tip I was told that has really helped me is if your teen is being honest with you and shares with some of their difficulties, don't freak out. Even if what they are into is really bad, take time to listen to them first.  You can explain all the consequences and hangups that they may face later in the conversation or in the next conversation.  Make sure they know you love them and are interested in listening to what they have to say.

If you need help thinking through what you should say or what should you talk with them about, check out some of these options below:

10 Ways to Begin Talking to your children about sex and porn

Protecting your Kids - Articles from Covenant Eyes

DesiringGod.com articles on pornography 

Another piece of advice: Involve them in the process. Ask them what help they my need.

I am also available to listen and offer advice. You can contact me HERE.

Disclaimer: Everything you choose to read from this list, read with discernment. Not every article or link is endorsed by RockLife Student Ministries and Princetown Church. By in large, I tried to put up links that I found most helpful.  

PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY

Work on providing personal, loving accountability for your kids (Heb. 5:12-13, Gal. 6:1).  God calls us as parents to instruct them in who God is and what life with Him is like (Eph. 6:4).

One way to do this in regards to Internet accountabilty is to check their internet and phone history frequently. It might even be helpful to do this randomly. Giving your teen unchecked access to the Internet can be a problem, even if they are not struggling with pornography. Whether it is their personal device or the home computer, look out for your teens viewing habits. Your checking might be enough to keep them from looking. Don't try to be a spy, try to love them enough to engage in their life.  

You should probably have a conversation with them before you start to check, just to keep them in the loop. Your teen might not like it and might bring up the whole privacy thing, but gently let them know that you want to encourage them to click wisely and that you care about what they are looking at. Share with them that you want to practice Heb. 5:12-13 and want to help them avoid sin by encouraging them daily. This step might take some work or might take some time, especially if you have never done this before.  

This advice to check internet history randomly is not a command from God, but a practical tip that you can choose to employ.

Hopefully this will start all our RockLife parents down a path to talk about these issues and guide our teens to God honoring, worshipful internet usage.

For internet monitor and accountability help, click HERE