What do you do when your young child confesses to you that they saw pornography on the Internet?
I asked permission from a good friend of mine, who also homeschools, if I could share this story. She found out that her child had stumbled upon pornography on the Internet and out of curiosity, checked out other sites that also contained nudity and sexual content. This child is only 6 years old!
When my friend discovered this, she was devastated. She cried, she felt like her home had been violated and invaded by something she had tried to protect her kids from. She thought of how innocent her child was and how this should never have happened.
But she did an amazing thing which I applaud her for. She listened to her child and did not react with anger or condemnation. And they talked through what happened together. Her child felt safe, unconditionally accepted and forgiven for lying about a big, dark secret.
Most important of all, my friend took the opportunity to share with her child the gospel message of Jesus Christ. And this child accepted and believed in Jesus. Because there was this great burden of guilt, forgiveness and God’s salvation were easier to understand. For the first time, this child felt free and liberated. My friend told her child that God makes all things new.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB)
I was so blessed when my friend told me that she believes that God used what happened for good in the life of her child. I know it was hard for her say that, but she was saying it because her child finally understood the gospel.
In the past, this friend of mine had shared with me that her child was difficult to motivate and would complain about having to do homeschooling work. After her child accepted Jesus, there was not only a visible change in countenance, but a transformation of the spirit. Her child even said something like this, “Mom, can you see a different person? Before I didn’t like to do my homeschooling. That was my old self.”
Her child also asked that all material on the computer be deleted and taken out so there would be no temptation and struggle to give in to the curiosity that was too early awakened. Imagine, a six year old tempted by pornography!
I thought to myself, if this can happen in a home where both parents love and serve God and teach their children to do the same, then what about all the other kids out there?! This was a child who didn’t watch a whole lot of TV and had limited and monitored time on the internet. But the devil is an opportunist and found an opening.
A friend introduced this child to a YouTube video of a woman giving birth and it led to other sites. This is one of the reasons I tell my kids they are NOT ALLOWED to be on YouTube unless I am physically present. (By the way, most virus protection softwares have features to safeguard children.)
It really broke my heart to listen to my friend share about what happened to her child. Like her, we are very careful about what our children are exposed to. But the reality is, every child is a target of the Evil One.
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 NASB)
He is out there to destroy innocence, purity, faith, relationships, and every good thing. He is a corrupter, a deceiver, an enslaver. Even if children grow up in homes with Christian ideals and values, they are still vulnerable to the attacks of Satan.
We need to be praying for our kids constantly and teaching them to walk with the Lord. Whenever I get the chance to, I tell parents, connect your children to the Lord as soon as possible. When the spirit of the Lord is at work in the hearts of our children, they are better able to make wise choices and discern right from wrong. They develop a desire for righteousness and holiness. Purity is something all of us, as parents, want to preserve in our children. But our children must understand purity as God’s standard — a design that is for their good. Unless the have the Holy Spirit working in their hearts, their orientation will be towards the world and not God.
When our children know God personally, we can reason with them from a spiritual perspective. They have the capacity to understand what is evil and why it must be avoided. I remember a conversation I had with my older son about the Internet. I said, “Hon, there are things on the internet that you are never supposed to see…things like naked people, violence, scary pictures…God doesn’t want us to look at such things. So if, by accident, this ever happens, I want you to run away. Run out of the room and tell mommy or daddy. We will protect you.”
A few days ago, he told Edric that a scary face popped up on the screen while he was researching about Origami. And he said it really disturbed him. He couldn’t stop thinking about it for a while and he wanted to get the image out of his mind. I was thankful that it wasn’t pornography, but that is not the only kind of evil lurking out there. Since this son of ours has been briefed on the bad stuff that is on the Internet, he wants to be careful. We also entrust him with the responsibility of protecting his siblings when they are using the computer.
The Internet and other forms of media can be used by the Devil as a portal into our homes. And we need to be ridiculously vigilant about protecting our kids by setting strict guidelines for using technology.
In our home, the kids aren’t aloud to be on the Internet when we aren’t home. They may use the IPad to play games but these are installed Apps. We are particular about the movies we watch as a family and the programs our children are allowed to view. TV doesn’t have a whole lot of importance in our home so that helps a lot. We remind our children to be positive influences in the lives of others and to choose friends that will build them up in the Lord. We also keep open communication between us and our kids so they can freely talk about their concerns, their struggles without feeling judged, demeaned, or embarrassed.
When I heard my friend’s story I was so compelled to write this entry because I was blessed by the relationship she has with her child. Her child was able to open up and share what was going on because there was trust and security. If this child didn’t have this kind of relationship to run to, what would the option have been? Live with guilt, struggle with temptation and open up a bigger doorway into the addictions of pornography, talk to friends who may not be able to give sound, biblical guidance and advice?
We may not be able to control all the people and circumstances that our children encounter but we can cultivate a close relationship with them. If this relationship is defined by unconditional love, acceptance, and forgiveness, we get special passes into their hearts to minister to them when they need us most.
And I pray that Edric and I will have the kind of relationship with our kids that loves them to Jesus…