What Can Catholic/Orthodox Parents Do To Protect Our Children From Internet Pornography?

Parents have two main missions when it comes to pornography. In the words of C.S. Lewis, they must both cut down jungles and irrigate deserts.

First, cutting down jungles. The main protection against pornography is defense. We parents must take defensive measures to prevent our kids from encountering pornography in the first place. This includes strategies like installing Internet filters on your home computer (two of the best are Covenant Eyes and Safe Eyes), having one computer in your home and placing it in the most public area, and being cautious of the movies and television shows your children absorb.

This last strategy is particularly important. Most parents put their defensive focus solely on pornography. But suggestive movies and TV shows can have a much bigger influence on how kids view gender, sexuality, marriage, and love.

Media that promotes promiscuous sex or glorifies the objectification of women can be a real gateway to pornography. The land of porn is often reached through many small steps—not large leaps—which means we must seriously battle the subtle, suggestive media delivered through screens every day.

Second, irrigating deserts. Prevention isn’t the only solution. And it can’t be, for its hedge only extends so far. You can put Internet filters on your own home computer, but what about the neighbor’s computer, or the library’s, or the school’s? You can control what comes through your TV, but what about other screens?

We must do everything we can to banish pornography, to be sure, but we also must take positive, offensive measures. Ultimately, we must form our children in the virtue of chastity.
How can we do this seemingly difficult task? By providing positive examples of loving relationships, by showing men treating women with respect, by exhibiting the deep value of marriage. Pope John Paul II’s life-changing “theology of the body” does all of this extremely well—if your child hasn’t been through a “theology of the body” study group, sign them up or start one yourself.

When it comes to pornography, we parents must both defend against evil and aggress against lust. We must guard and fortify, dismantle and build up. We must literally love the Hell out of our children and vanquish porn with both a shield and a sword.
It may seem difficult, but you can do it. You have the Army of the Church, the prayers of the saints, and a Great Captain who wields the power of love. So take heart; you’re not alone. The Lord—and all of heaven—is with you.

(Brandon Vogt, Catholic social media expert, blogger at The Thin Veil and author of the book, The Church and New Media)

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