When we were young, a boy had to led astray by an unruly friend or find an ungodly uncle’s stash to be tempted by pornography. Not so, now. Now, it’s lurking in the sidebars when he checks the football stats and is emailed to him by spammers. Boys don’t even have to go looking for it; it comes delivered straight to them. A guy can hardly avoid being tempted by it…every day!
It’s pretty horrifying looking at your little guy and thinking about him sitting in front of the computer screen looking at garbage like that, but the research is showing that boys are being exposed to internet pornography earlier and earlier, and more and more seriously. We’ve heard of boys as young as ten getting their fathers in trouble at work by looking at porn on their dads’ laptops. How can we protect them? How can we keep them out of the red light district when it’s right there in our own living room?
Here are a few things that you can do to protect your sons as much as possible:
- Talk about sexuality with your boys early and often, in the course of normal life, and always in the context of God’s law, marriage, and family. “Yes, son, that lady is dressed inappropriately. She’s showing parts of her body God meant for her husband alone. I wonder how he feels about that?”
- Warn them that temptation lurks out there and they have an enemy who desires to harm them and their future wives (Porn is not a victimless crime, it harms the watcher, the watcher’s mate, the subjects, and their families). Show them how to shrink a window to hide a sidebar, remind them to think carefully what they are searching on, tell them never to guess at a url.
- Install accountability software on every computer your family has access to. We like Covenant Eyes, we’ve used it for years. It will email you an easy to check report on each user in your family each week. Just knowing they are bound to get caught is a great deterrent.
- Teach them how to fight temptation when it comes. Here’s an excerpt from our book that explains how we do it:
A Fist to Knock Away Temptation
We do our best to protect our sons from temptation, but we know it is impossible to avoid it entirely – our own hearts provide temptation! Sons need to know what to do when they face the desire to sin. We tell our sons to use five important tools to fight off immoral thoughts:
1. Leave the situation. This is so important. If you are in the bathroom, get dressed and get out. If you are in bed, get up. If you are at a friend’s house, go home. Leave a situation that tempts you.
2. Pray and ask the Lord for forgiveness and help.
3. Read your Bible. The Word is a light to our feet and will guide us to do what is right.
4. Sing praises or hymns to God. Sometimes music can break through the coldness of our hearts.
5. Go to your authority and ask for help. Our sons have each done this more than once. They say, “Mom and Dad, I just keep having bad thoughts. Will you pray for me?”
We lift a finger for each of these as we remind them, then close all five into a fist and say, “Five ways that make a fist to knock away temptation.” We remind our sons of this often, because it is important that they realize that they are not helpless before temptation, but that God always gives a way of escape.
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Raising Real Men, pp215-216
It’s a scary time to raise a boy. The enemy seems more determined than ever to embroil our sons in sin that will affect them all their lives. The worst thing we can do in the battle to protect our sons’ purity is to pretend there’s no battle at all. That leaves our boys unarmed and unprepared. Instead, we have got to overcome our own shyness, face the battle head on and prepare our sons to be warriors instead of victims. God hasn’t left us and He gives us all we need to follow Him. We want our boys to grow up to be truly knights in shining armor for their princesses.
For more on this topic, check out our hourlong workshop, Shining Armor: Your Son’s Battle for Purity. Use the link above or the discount code raisingrealmen to receive a free month of Covenant Eyes – and help support our ministry.
Hal & Melanie
Hal & Melanie Young are the authors of Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys, Christian Small Publishers’ 2011 Book of the Year. Check out their own blog, join them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter.
Copenhagen photo by Electra Stavrou