When I was a child I remembered wanting to be outside, ride my bike and go exploring with my friends. But the times have changed.
Now we are raising kids who are growing up with the Internet. Children who are 3 years old can find their way using an iPad. Kids to teens are uploading and downloading pictures and videos through many social media platforms. And let's not forget most of us have more computer power in our smart phones than we did in our computers 20 years ago. The times are changing and as parents we need to understand and adapt to those changes.
There is a major threat on this growing generation, and that is Internet pornography. Based on last year's stats there are currently 1.79 billion pages of pornography on the Internet. Just think about that. Yes there has been pornography throughout the centuries, but the access to it is not like ever before.
Where are you reading this? Is it on a smart phone or a tablet? Just think about it. On the device you are holding, you have access to way over a billion pages of porn just a couple of clicks away. And the reality is -- so do your kids.
Pornography has its fair share of problems. It is additive and can destroy your life and the lives of your children. (For more info, click here.)
You may say, "Not my kids." Really?
Did you know that the average age of first exposure today is 11 years old? Did you know that 25 percent of all searches and 35 percent of all downloads happening online is pornography? And the fact is -- your kids could be watching it. Based on 2015 stats, 78 percent of all pornography online viewing is with people 25 and younger. I hope that does not include your kids.
There is a major attack on our youth and the question is, what are we doing about it? My wife and I have three kids between the ages of 7 to 14 years old. Here is a list of what we did:
1- We talk openly to our kids about the dangers of internet pornography. You may be thinking "isn't that too young for a 7-year-old?" If he is online, he needs to know the dangers. Of course how you talk about it and the wordings need to be age appropriate, but if they are online they need to know the danger.
2- What to do when pornography pops up? There are times when kids are doing research for homework or looking up some kid's video, and something will pop up. This is what we tell our kids, "When you see something bad on the Internet, tell daddy and mommy right away!" We make it clear that they didn't do anything wrong. We are Christians, so we like to also pray for our kids if they see anything like this.
If you don't do this, then the child may think they did something wrong and then feel ashamed or dirty. We want our kids clean and free from guilt. So they need to tell us.
3- No gadgets in their bedrooms. All computer devices need to be in a public area where there are other family members.
You can do this by having a box next to your door where they can drop off their phone or tablet. Or just have one room in your house where they can use the Internet with the knowledge of an adult. Whatever you do, you better have a game plan.
4- With teenagers, know all of their social platforms and their passwords. Also check it regularly.
When my daughter was 12. I talked to her about the use of Facebook. I talked about what can happen, what things can pop up and what to do about it. So when she was 13. I was the one to open up her Facebook account while she was with me. I wrote her password and she asked me if that was supposed to be private just for her. I said, "No. Not until you are 18." It was just a fact. And since then there has been a number of times I have picked up her phone and started going through it... right in front of her.
You may think it's too much. But if you don't know where they are at, you can't help them when they may get into trouble.
Dustin Campbell is a proud father of three active children. As a family, they lived in the Philippines, Thailand, and currently the United States. Dustin has been speaking and teaching internationally on a wide range of topics for the past 20 years, including on relationships and marriage. Dustin and his wife Haydee, with their beautiful kids, currently reside in North Carolina.
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