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The War against Porn Begins at Home

Saturday, November 23, 2013 4:00 AM Comments (37)
Pixabay.com

– Pixabay.com

I’m not surprised when I see toddlers using electronics. I get it.

However, reading Common Sense Media’s children’s media usage report and observing some of those realities in my own home, I also get the cause for concern.

There’s a LOT of good stuff out there: educational websites and apps, cool Catholic games and devotional resources, pretty pictures and things I could’ve never imagined. However, there’s a LOT of things on the interwebs that I don’t want my kids anywhere near.

Recently, we set up an old computer for my oldest daughter to use. It’s right in the middle of our living area. I can look over her shoulder at any time.

I don’t think that’s enough, though. The prowling lion isn’t resting, and I’m not getting too comfortable myself.

At the end of October, my diocese had an awareness Sunday for My House Columbus, which focuses on prevention of pornography and support for those affected by it. One of the resources  we highly recommended was Covenant Eyes.

The dangers of porn are widespread. I work from home, largely using the internet. My kids are comfortable with technology, in part because of their geeky mom and in part because of the techno-centric culture we live in.

When I wrote to Covenant Eyes, I got a response from none other than Ron DeHaas, the CEO himself. Speaking of the dangers online, he had this to say:

“With 90% of boys and 60% of girls today exposed to pornography; and 56% of divorce cases, listing obsessive use of porn as a major contributing factor, families are facing a sexual assault online that no other generation has battled.”

He continued, sharing the mission and passion of the company:

“Pornography is a counterfeit of real intimacy and love. As Bishop Malone said at the Bishops’ General Assembly this month, our efforts should help provide "an opportunity to educate and to shine light on the mercy and freedom found in Christ." So our mission is to provide education and software that help families defend themselves and point people to restoration and hope.”

From what I’ve seen, Covenant Eyes is easy to use AND it works. You can use it for filtering and/or for accountability. So, for example, if you want to keep your kids from danger, filtering is probably what you need. On the other hand, if you want to reduce your online temptations, you can check out the accountability aspects.

According to Barb Szyszkiewicz, in a column for CatholicMom.com, “Covenant Eyes is a unique option for parents who want to check up on their kids’ use of technology.”

By “unique,” I infer there’s nothing else quite like this. DeHaas, when I asked for more information (hey, why Google when I can get it from the horse’s mouth?), replied,

“Key elements of effective parenting and spiritual formation are protection, accountability, and trust. So 13 years ago we invented Internet Accountability software, which monitors how the Internet is used on computers and mobile devices and sends a report to a trusted person, such as a parent, a friend, or mentor. Web pages viewed are rated, similar to video game ratings, such as T for Teen and M for Mature.

“This allows a parent or a friend that is viewing a report to quickly understand how the Internet is being used, and it provides a starting point for an ongoing conversation about what we see and do online. This same rating system is used for our Internet Filter, which allows parents to block content based on the age and maturity of a child or teen.

“Together our passion is to protect families, strengthen marriages, and help people guard their hearts and minds online.”

Did I mention these guys are Christian?

In fact, they now have none other than popular Catholic apologist, author, and speaker Matt Fradd on their team. His new, book, Delivered, is a collection of stories from real men and women about how they turned “from porn to purity.”

Matt uses Covenant Eyes himself, as a matter of fact. One of the topics he speaks about is his recovery from porn and, in Delivered, he shares how other men and women have overcome the pull of porn.

Being accountable is a practice that’s good for all of us, even if what we’re looking at online is a collection of book titles from our favorite publisher or cute craft projects on Pinterest. Being accountable to someone else, as a discipline, can help us grow.

So I think it’s safe to say that Covenant Eyes is a serious contender for me in protecting my children from stumbling upon pornography. In fact, it’s the front runner!

Do you use accountability or filtering software? I’ll take recommendations in the comments!

Filed under covenant eyes, matt fradd, pornography, ron dehaas, sarah reinhard

About Sarah Reinhard

Sarah Reinhard
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Sarah Reinhard is a Catholic wife, mom, writer, parish worker and catechist, and coffee drinker. You’re just as likely to find her hiding out back with a book as you are to discover her playing in the yard with a few farm animals (or wait — are those her kids?) She is the author of five books, the most recent of which is A Catholic Mother's Companion to Pregnancy: Walking with Mary from Conception to Baptism. She blogs at SnoringScholar.com and CatholicMom.com. Reinhard holds a master’s degree in marketing and communications and has worked for many years in corporate and nonprofit organizations. She lives in central Ohio with her husband and three children. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Goodreads.