Plug the Holes: More Gaps
With the advent of the Internet, pornography distribution exploded. Now 74 percent
of young people can easily access sexually explicit material from home at the click
of a button.1 But the Internet is still not the only means by which porn can reach
If you've read my published articles, you know that our son became addicted to
pornography through cable channels that were supposed to be blocked but were only
partially scrambled. We didn't subscribe to these channels—or anything other than
basic cable TV—and we didn't know they were transmitting hard-core pornography into
Take the offensive and avoid being blindsided like we were. Below are means you can use
to protect your child from pornography exposure from television as well as other sources.
- If you have cable television, call your provider and insist they put a filter or "trap"
on your cable to completely block all channels to which you do not subscribe.
- Learn to use the parental controls on your cable or satellite television and set them
stringently. Check your user's guide, quick start menu, or visit
www.controlyourtv.org for instructions.
- If your television has a V-Chip, go to
www.controlyourtv.org to learn
how to use it. Keep in mind, however, that today's rating system is not the same as the
rating system forty years ago. Programs with objectionable content may still pass through
- Do not allow your child to have a TV in his or her bedroom. A 2005 study showed that
an astounding 68 percent of American children have televisions in their bedrooms.2 And
44 percent of kids say they watch something different when they're alone than with their
parents.3 When our son was about twelve, he asked for a television for his room for
Christmas and can still recall how angry he felt when we refused. He now believes it was
one of the wisest decisions we ever made.
- Teach your children to be discriminating in what they watch. R-rated movies and many
of today's television programs are nothing but soft-core pornography. Most PG-13 and many
PG movies are not any better. Watch with your children and don't be afraid to turn the TV
- **Read reviews of movies at Focus on the Family's PluggedInOnline at
www.pluggedinonline.com. Do the same for TV shows on the Parents Television
Council's Family Guide to Prime Time Television at
- Select video games carefully. Many video games have sexual content. Pay attention to
game ratings since even popular family games may have versions with adult content (we found
a mature version of the Sims in which players could watch the "couple" have sex in their
bedroom). Pornographic content that can be unlocked by a code children obtain on the Internet
may also be hidden in games (read about such a case at
- **Review video games before buying at
- Old-fashioned girlie magazines still exist and can still trap your child's mind. If
you suspect your child is looking at Playboy, Penthouse, or others, confront him about
it and search his room if necessary.
- Pornographic material can take unexpected forms. Many men's health magazines are just
disguised porn. I still remember an article in one magazine our son's friend recommended
to him entitled "Sex So Good It Hurts." It was as bad as it sounds. The pictures were
worse. Many teen girl magazines and romance novels can also be pornographic in nature.
Even clothing catalogs have been known to contain objectionable pictures and content.
Know what your children read.
- If you believe Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues are unacceptable, be aware that
other sports magazines may also contain pictures of scantily-clad females. One paintball
magazine I recently saw fit this category.
- Toss the underwear ads. In today's anything-goes society, this may sound ridiculous,
but these pictures provide another source of temptation that many teen boys, and even men,
find hard to resist. In his book, When Good Men Are Tempted, Bill Perkins tells of waiting
anxiously for the Sunday paper so he could sit for hours and gape at the ads. They posed
the same problem for our son. Would it really be so hard to pitch the ads and ban Victoria's
- Censor your child's music. Yes, I said the C word. Much music today, especially rap,
is sexually graphic. Don't buy the line "I don't listen to the words. I just like the
beat." Check PluggedInOnline for music reviews at
- Watch your credit card and phone bills for charges to 900 numbers. Many times charges
for phone sex are the first warning parents get that their child has been watching
pornography and taken it to the next level. Call your telephone company and ask them
to block 900 number access from your phone (a free service).
- If your child has a cell phone, call your provider and block Internet access to
their phones. Some cell phone companies provide parental controls for Internet access,
but the controls are either set to off (default) or on, with no other options available.
Research thoroughly before choosing this option. For more information, see
As important as they are, these procedures are only one step in the battle against
pornography. Though you can never chink all the cracks through which pornography
might reach your children, you can clothe them with God's protective armor and
give them weapons they can use to defend themselves. Future articles will focus
on porn proofing your child as well as your home.