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Monday, December 1, 2008

Internet safety

I am really happy, because Paul just installed a filter on our computer. I know that no filter is completely fool-proof, but let's face it -- without one sites we don't want our kids and husbands to see can pop up in a second. (I guess we really don't want to see them, either!) In any case, I feel a lot safer having a filter to catch many sites that concern me.

I am what you may call paranoid about pornography. However, in my opinion it is the worst addiction anyone can have. You can get nicotine or drugs out of your system, but you can never get images out of your head. I know, because I've been unwillingly exposed to it several times.

So, on that note, I feel a need to STRONGLY advise all of you parents to get your own filters, to have discussions with your children and to do anything you can to protect your children (especially your sons) from this horrible addiction. We have a family member who was exposed and addicted at age 7. AGE 7!!! That is how old Tyler is. I wouldn't even think twice about Tyler thinking about those types of things if it hadn't been for this family member. Let's just say this person's addiction ruined his marriage and a lot of other things in his life.

I came across a children's book at Deseret Book that I would recommend to all parents. It's called "The Trap," and it discusses a boy who saw inappropriate material at a friend's house. He talks to his dad about it, and his dad explains why we aren't supposed to see images like that. (He compares it to a hornet trap.) I think we'll read it as a family at least quarterly. This book also reiterates our very strict rule that kids aren't allowed on computers at friends' houses NO MATTER WHAT.

We are very open explaining to our children about "red zones" and why nobody is allowed to touch their red zones, just as they are not supposed to touch anyone else's red zones. This is also an easy way to explain pornography -- that they are not supposed to see anyone's red zones without clothing. I've heard other people say to their sons that they shouldn't see mommies without clothes on. It's a hard thing to explain to children, but it's a MUST in this world. We also explain to our children that if they ever do come across porn to let us know immediately so we can work together to make sure it doesn't happen again and to help them know what they can do to get it out of their mind as much as possible.

I have a friend who said her bishop recommends every couple have a discussion about pornography every month. EVERY MONTH! This helps them open up the lines of communication, and hopefully if someone is tempted their spouse can help them overcome the temptation before they act on it. Nobody is immune, so I hope you realize why I take this so seriously. (A different addiction, but someone at church yesterday mentioned a family friend who was curious and tried crack at age 60. Six months later he had lost his home, his job, his family and everything he had ever lived for because he was so addicted. It just confirms to me that Satan never gives up! That means we have to be as vigilant as ever -- probably until we die. :)

Another friend mentioned to me that priesthood leaders in our church no longer ask men and boys if they have witnessed pornography, but they ask when was the last time they were exposed to pornography. It's a sad world that we can't completely protect them from it. I know, because I've taken every precaution to protect myself, and I've been exposed by other people's bad choices and by mistakes online. Unfortunately it can take just one mistake for someone to get addicted.

Anyway, don't be surprised if this topic pops up again and again from me since I am vigilant about making sure my sons and husband are safe. I know women are susceptible as well, but for the most part pornography seems to be more addictive for boys and men. Please let me know if you have come across any good tips or tricks on protecting your children, or if you're interested in more of what I have learned.

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