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Gospel Tech: Crash Course #3: Pornography

7/10 tweens and 8/10 teens will encounter nudity or content of a sexual nature online (Bark, January 2021). So what can we do? A lot! There is great hope for this conversation and very practical, loving steps we can take to help our children know what love is, what God says about their bodies and sex, and how to handle pornography when they run into it.

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Hey everybody. This is Nathan with the Gospel Tech Podcast, and I have got a really excited announcement. We have a new partnership coming up with CRISTA Ministries here on the west coast. CRISTA Ministries runs camps and schools and radio network and their ministry that we’re partnering with is called the Purposely Podcast Network. What that means for you as listeners is you are gonna find your podcast in the same spot. So no change there. It is still the same content. We are still an independent ministry. We’re just partnering with CRISTA to reach more families, to help them love God and use tech. You will see new cover art.

You might get a couple duplicate episodes while we transition to this new network format. So you might be getting one on old Gospel Tech send out and then the new Purposely one. So just be patient with us. But I want you to know that the whole premise of what we’re doing here is to reach more families.

Your donations still go to Gospel Tech. We’re still an independently run nonprofit. And what I want you to be aware of is as we get the summer content coming, we didn’t want people to join. And go, wow, this is really great. There’s now 120 plus episodes I have to get through. So the summer’s gonna be a crash course in Gospel Tech.

We’re gonna highlight one episode that tackles each of these kind of top interests. So areas from parents. So smartphones, video games, pornography, safe tech at home. So over summer, you’re actually gonna hopefully hear some of these episodes you’ve already listened to. And if you’re new. Welcome. We’re really excited to have you.

You’re going to be able to hear in the next six or seven weeks, a 10,000 foot view of what it looks like to connect our daily tech lives to the Gospel. To our faithful listeners. Thank you for being here to our new listeners. Thank you for joining us. Our hope in doing this podcast has been and remains that we would be an encouragement for families that we would provide practical tools that help you fight for your family, not just with them about tech and that we would equip you with both the resources and the confidence. You need to raise healthy youth in a tech world to raise kids who love God and use tech. So thank you for being here. I think the, oh, the one more thing I would add is we are actually getting our first advertisements ever, which is going to be a blessing because that will help us continue the funding for this resource and make this a blessing for even more people. So do expect to hear those. Thank you for being a part of this journey with us. And if you have any questions, you can reach out to me directly, Nathan, at Gospel, or you can find us on social media at Love God Use Tech on Instagram and Facebook. So with no further ado, let’s get this conversation started.

Welcome to the Gospel Tech Podcast, a resource for parents who feel overwhelmed and outpaced as they raise healthy youth in a tech world. As an educator, parent, and tech user, I want to equip parents with the tools, resources, and confidence. They need to raise kids who love God and use tech.

Hello everyone. And welcome to the Gospel Tech Podcast. My name is Nathan Sutherland and this podcast is dedicated to helping families love God and use tech today. We are addressing a big question as we head back into school. As kids get around more kids with smartphones and personal devices and smart watches as they’re handed tablets and computers from their schools as part of their educational process.

And as they just generally have more screen time because they’re maybe doing school through zoom or they’re taking online courses or they’re using IXL or whatever other educational programs the conversation of pornography will come up. Or actually pornography will come up, even if the conversation doesn’t I guess I should say it that way.

So how can we be intentional in dealing with it without growing just a massive amount of fear and kind of boogieman mentality, like, oh, there’s this stuff out there waiting to get you and rip you away from Jesus. Cuz that’s, that’s not at all the way the conversation needs to go. Because we are hope filled.

We know God’s power to redeem and restore broken situations, including people who have unhealthy relationships with pornography, right? Meaning that it’s not a one time mistake, but it’s an ongoing thing. God can heal that and fix it. So what does it look like? How do we apply that in our lives and how do we have that conversation with our kiddos?

Cuz there’s a lot of confusion, a lot of shame. My hope is that by the end of this conversation today, we’ll have some practical tools. We’ll have a better understanding of the context so that we’re not just like our skin is crawling. Right, right. We hopefully our skin will not be crawling. When we think about talking to our kids about this and we’ll have the confidence to bring this heavy topic before the Lord, with our kiddos because we have great hope in the Gospel and we don’t even need to be afraid of big conversations like this one.

So what do we do about pornography? So this conversation is blown up One, I have honestly attempted to avoid for most of our Gospel Tech time. In fact, way back when we were just Flint and iron talking about sparking positive purpose in youth, people are like, man, what do you talk about? You know, do you talk about dating?

I’m like, yes. Do you talk about bullies? Yes. Do you talk about. Potential and success and all these big conversations. Absolutely. Those are all things I’m passionate about. They’re like, oh, great. Do you talk about pornography? I’m like, yeah. Nah, no, I don’t. Do you talk about video games and technology? No, I don’t.

No, but I can tell you when I find someone who does, right, like that was literally my answer. And then it got to the spot where I was like, man, I feel convicted to talk about technology. And so we, the board andI pivoted and we made this decision two years in now. We are very grateful for the opportunity to be talking about how do we love God and use tech?

When do we know it’s healthy? How do we deal with social media, video games? And honestly, this pornography conversation, I keep it arms length for two reasons, I guess one, it’s a huge conversation and I don’t feel adequate to be having it. So I just wanna say that up front, I’m not a professional in this field.

In fact, I am friends with a professional in this field. He has his doctorate in psychology and he is very gifted. He writes literally the textbook for military families. So when people come back from tours and they have these really unhealthy habits, this is the guy that goes in. That’s. That’s who I feel like should be having this conversation.

And yet that makes it an impossible standard, right? Like if I believe that. Then I would imagine every parent sort of believes that, right? Like either this isn’t something my kid’s gonna have, like, I just don’t need to deal with it. Or I’m so woefully uneducated in this topic, like there’s no way I could make a meaningful difference.

Like we need the, the professor in psychology to come in here and, and teach us about this. Right. And that is one of the major reasons, actually, that very fear is one of the major reasons I’m having this conversation. The second fear is, Hey, this has been a part of my story. This is part of my history.

And every time I step into this conversation man, I just like a major part of my success in trusting the Lord in this is, you know, set up really good boundaries. I stay really super far away from it. And from anything that would, you know, make me struggle or stumble I don’t assume I’m Bulletproof.

And so to teach on it as though, like, this is something like, oh, well, you know, this was a thing for me years ago, which is true. Anyway, we’ll talk about it, but anytime, think something’s been a thing for you years ago, it often is still a thing. If you don’t, you know, properly repent and, and serve the Lord and act in humility.

And so I think that’s what we’re, that’s what we’re going to do today is those two things are both my fears, but they’re also what drive me in. I, I know the parents are in a similar situation and I want families to hear just truth in this. And I, I believe it ties in very strongly with our Gospel Tech format.

So that’s what we’re doing today. So I just, that was my little bit of a preface. So where to begin? I think we’re going to start with just the big picture. Like what do we do with pornography? I think we should define first this term pornography is anything that makes you a lust. Okay. It’s anything that makes you when you look at it, you are looking at something and you are receiving a sexual satisfaction from that.

And it is not your married spouse with whom you with whom you have committed before God to love and serve for all of your days. So we’re not talking sexual attraction, we’re talking, this is a self-focused pleasure. That’s the best way I can describe it because I do. Personally believe that pornography has a range that there’s stuff that isn’t, I mean, it’s not even naked people, but it’s so sexual or it’s so specific to an individual that it causes them to kind of spiral and they lose kind of their bearing in reality.

And, and it sets off their brain down a track that that needs to be derailed. And if it’s not intentionally derailed either through repentance or through redirection or accountability and kind of confrontation, that it leads to unhealthy spots. So that’s my definition. Pornography for us moving forward.

There are a lot of them. I, my personal favorite of course being, you know, it, when you see it. But those aren’t helpful so I think the, the line for me would be between art and pornography would be does is the intention to cause people to lust, right? To cause people to desire more of this content and use it for their own personal sexual satisfaction.

I don’t believe that is the purpose of art. So we can have that conversation later if you like. But first thing we do then what do we do with pornography, with our kids? So in a digital context, pornography is going to show up we’re talking mid nineties for percentile of kids who are gonna see pornography by the time they’re a teenager.

So whether it’s some kid brings it up on the bus or in homeroom, Or in the locker room or right. Like it just it’s every, they run into it on accident cuz they didn’t know what they were clicking or someone sent them a picture through their device or just showed them a picture from their own device.

Like this is a very frequent occurrence in private schools, in public schools. It happens between friends and cousins and neighbors and strangers. Like it’s just. Pornography is out there and it’s embedded in our culture and it’s in our halftime shows at super bowls. And like, it’s just the sexualization, it’s in our music.

It’s in our advertisements, right? Like sexualization of, of humans is now normal and it’s commonplace. So. When we talk about it, we need to do three things first. We need to acknowledge that it’s a thing. Now, if you have a really young kiddo, we’re talking four or five, six, the conversation is big picture.

What is your body like? How do God make you and, and kind of what is good and bad. I, I love the book. Good Picture Bad Picture for this – Good Picture Bad Picture J unior, actually for the really young. And it basically just walks through, like, did you know that you have a body? Like God gave you your body and mommy and daddy have bodies and that’s how we had babies.

Right? Like it walks through kind of this big picture. And then as it, it gets older to the it’s not the junior or the regular version. It steps into like, and actually in the junior version as well. Did you know that, you know, there are people that take unkind pictures or that have unkind pictures and what do we do with that?

And it gives you really clear steps, like tell somebody that you saw it, right. Look away. Right and say, no, like really clear talking points and it doesn’t shame your child for seeing it doesn’t shame your child for even being interested because sex is a real thing. Your bodies are real. The reaction when we see sexual material is real and it is natural to an extent the unnatural part comes through the variety and the repetition and the kind of rabbit hoing that can happen off of like, well, I got into this one thing and now that increases in interest and hyper focuses like a sexual appetite basically, cuz you keep feeding that particular monster and that’s where things can go off kilter. But the natural attraction to pornography is natural and we need to acknowledge that with our kids.

So how do we do it? Well, we talk about it. So I mentioned Good Pictures Bad Pictures as a resource, we remain factual. This is a great reminder from. Oh, my goodness. Oh, bees, birds, and So They do, they have a couple really good resources and they have this wonderful kind of reminder that shows up of like, Hey, just talk factually like, oh little boy, who’s experiencing, you know, this, this new experience in the bath.

Like that’s just blood going to your penis. Right? Like that’s what that is. That’s a factual medical thing that’s occurring. And if you quit poking it, right, it goes back to normal. Like. That’s something where we are just, we’re letting our kids know this is your body. These are normal things. These are even good things that God’s designed you to let’s let’s not panic or cause shame around it because there’s plenty of shame in the hurt that pornography does to our minds, to our hearts, to our relationships.

We don’t need to be layering assumptions and shame on there. So we’re gonna speak factually. We’re gonna speak clearly. So we’re gonna use. Terms, hence the word I, the reason I just said penis on a podcast we’re gonna use penis. We’re gonna use vagina. Like that’s, those are terms they’re biologically accurate and they really strip away some of the fetishized fetishization fetishing, whatever that word would be.

The fetish. Culture that can get around different terms that you hear in music, or hear referenced out there, right. It, that kind of make it a joke and they kind of, they just can be unhelpful and unhelpful. So we want to be really clear and medicinal right medical in this Medicinal is not the right term, but medical in it.

So we speak clearly using the right terms. And then we speak lovingly with hope not shame or fear. So someone who does this great is Greta Eskridge of Ma & Pa Modern. She does an amazing job of just kind of reminding us as parents and as even just leaders of young people. What does it look like to have this conversation?

What are kids going through? Right. Cause kids, if so, that’s, if I, I mentioned already, if you have like a four through six year old, seven year old, but by the time you get your 10, 11, 12 year olds, like they’re starting to have feelings that they can’t explain. Right? Like little kids have questions. Like where do babies come from? How did it get. There, like what part of mommy did that come out of? Right? Like they just have really factual and you can address those. Like it’s uncomfortable, you break a sweat, but you get used to it. But middle schoolers start to get these feelings in late elementary, probably fifth, sixth grade. They start to get these feelings that they don’t exactly know what’s supposed to happen here.

They just know that they have it. Right. they don’t know. It’s like they start being attracted to people and they don’t really know that’s attraction and they don’t know what kind of attraction like it. Awkward. And they will shell up and they will run away and they will not ask you and they’ll start, you know, Googling it or going to Cora or asking Siri or they’ll like any, anything other than talk to a parent about it.

And this is where we want to be very, very loving because with those older kids we still need to be clear. We still need to be factual. But we also need to acknowledge, like they have very real feelings that now are being processed. And so we’re not trying to say, Hey, those feelings are bad. Get rid of the feelings.

We’re gonna say, Hey, those feelings are real. Some of them are not helpful, right? Like some of those feelings are meant to be kept for a specific time. Right. Especially when we talk about, you know, Proverbs and don’t awaken your heart too early. This concept of it’s perfectly. Date like that can be helpful, but let’s not awaken like sexual desire before a season of where it’s gonna be helpful to do anything about it.

And if you have awoken it, let’s talk about what that’s looking like, because you can have a factual conversation with your kid. Oh, Hey, you’re five parts, right? Yes. You’re you have this physical desire, but you’re also social and you’re intellectual, right. You’re spiritual and you’re physical. Right?

You have you interact with your, or I think I already said physical. Let me say it again. Physical cuz I have to say that one first you’re social meaning like dealing with people in relationships, you’re emotional, you’re intellectual and you’re spiritual. So whatever I said the first time, please ignore the second time was right.

And, and we need to have that conversation with our kiddos and then go, great. You have these desires. Are those helping you become. Everything God’s called you to be like, yeah, you have this sexual desire. But if you start pursuing that, you’re gonna notice those other ones might dwindle and sex might become the focal point of what otherwise could be a really good relationship.

Right? Of all the friends I know who were sexually active before marriage, even the ones who got married to the people they were sexually active with, none of them would say our relationship is better now because we had sex first, right? They go, no, like we had to work through some stuff because my, you know, 16 year old brain having sex was not ready for my 22 year old commitments right. Like it just didn’t work. There were four other parts of this person I married and then guess what? You get married for a decade. And that person keeps changing and adapting and growing because God is moving in him. And all of a sudden you’re just here for the sex. And now that makes marital conflict, right.

Because you’re feeding and loving and serving the whole person you’re just taking. And so we want to have those conversations with our older kids. We have them in love because we care about our kids, cuz we want them to love the people they’re dating or person. Our child is dating singular, singular, but the and we want their marriages to be healthy and we want sex to be a real conversation.

So we do that Greta Eskridge, Birds-Bees and Good Pictures Bad Pictures are three really good ways to talk about it. I, I do wanna hit on the what not to do. Don’t go. And I’m, I’ll just mention, I guess, one, two things, two things first is don’t go mean girls on this. So if you’ve ever seen the movie mean girls you don’t have to go watch it, please. Just cuz I mentioned it, but there’s a valid example here. You can probably find on YouTube. There’s a PE teacher and he is doing like the Phys Ed talk and he basically just comes out and says, don’t have sex. If you have sex, you will get pregnant and die. Right? Like that’s that’s the, and that’s the talk a lot of us got right is don’t have sex, only bad people have sex early.

And if you have sex before you get married, everything will be ruined. You threw your whole life away. That’s it’s hard because when you have that conversation with kids, kids, first of all will believe you. And then when they live through it, so now they, they know they made a mistake, right? Just spiritually, they feel convicted, but you’ve closed that door.

I actually had this happen where I really thought I was giving a good talk. This was a middle school conversation where we talked about dating. And what does it mean to love people. And where’s the spot, you know, of, of sex in these relationships. And I had a young lady who was part of young life and then was also in my English class who as a senior in high school got pregnant.

And I didn’t find out until she had the baby. I had her younger sister in class and I was like, wait a minute. Why did I not know that this had happened? Like. That’s it is a big deal. Like you had a baby, you chose to keep that baby, like that’s a big deal and you’re now a mom. Like that is what it is. Like.

I’m now hoping that this young man that I know well loves you. Well, right. I hope that he serves you and that baby, like, I want to see this be incredibly helpful, cuz I know that baby is now a full blown human being with all the potential in the world. This is a harder route. I don’t encourage 17 year olds to get pregnant with babies, but you that’s where we are.

Right. And I, I just felt convicted that man, there was some disconnect either in how I said it or how she received it, or the, the tone or way that I, I conveyed this conversation where she never felt okay. Coming and telling me we did have that kind of a relationship. . And when I asked her sister because it came through, you know, the grapevine, I was like, Hey, what happened here?

She’s like, oh yeah, she didn’t want you to be mad at her. Right. And that, that breaks my heart because I, I want us all as parents to know that our kids we can, we can certainly be like, Hey, that was a mistake. Right. Like, we can acknowledge that, but I don’t have to be mad at you. I don’t have to isolate you.

I don’t have to punish you in any way, because well, this ball is rolling, right? Like, let’s deal with where we are now because that’s all how the Lord does with us. Like he takes all of our sins preemptively while we’re still sinners and he died for us. Right. That’s but God, while we were still sinners because of his great love for us sent his son to die for us and then rise again and so that we might become children of God. And that’s what we want our kids to know. Right. So don’t do the mean girls thing where you just come out with all the bad news, right? You’re gonna get STIs. You’re going to have all these terrible things. Everything’s right. Like everything’s gonna explode on you instead we need to come out just with real life. Hey, this is a hard road. There is a better path here, and we want you to experience the best, the wholeness of what God has for you. So this is a conversation and hope. I would not though the opposite side of that would be. Full on song of Solomon, right? Where you are just pumping your kid’s head full of sexual imagery that is powerful and potent and applicable within a marriage.

I just don’t over celebrate sex to the point where we’re actually giving our kids things they can’t handle and can’t do anything about. Right. And again, awakening that process early. So it is important to talk. Factually to remove the shame from it to let our kids know, Hey, we know about this, we’re addressing this. We’re willing to be educated on it. And we want to be in the conversation with you, right? That’s our, that’s our premise. And now when mistakes are made, we are gonna take action in hope, right? We’re not gonna go, oh my goodness, you disappointed me. Therefore drop the hammer. We’re gonna say, Hey, like that is disappointing, right?

Because you’ve made this harder. You’ve picked a hard road and I love you. And I want the best and easy road for you, as long as it’s a positive one. I want that straightest route for you. This is a, a curve in the road, but this doesn’t change who you are in light of God’s love for you, right? Therefore it doesn’t change in light of who you are to me.

Right. I still love you. I’m going to serve you. I’m going to help you pick good decisions. Now that doesn’t mean everything is butterflies and and flowers, but it does mean that you’re there, you’re there for the long haul intentionally on their side. Right. That’s it. So, first thing we do to address pornography is we talk about it and as part of that pornography discussion have a conversation about what pornography is, right? Like pornography is a lie of real sex. Sex before marriage is a lie of married sex. So it’s not like, well, good. You’re just sleeping with a girlfriend. At least you’re not a porn addict. Like those, those aren’t, those are two things that are both distortions of what is best.

And we want what is best for our kiddos. And we’ll return to it later, but understanding porn is a lie is important, and that will be important to talk to our kids about, of this isn’t real sex. This isn’t a relationship. This is a distortion. Of what is helpful and happy. And mom and dad, if you have a history with pornography or it’s something you guys are actively processing and your kiddos are old enough, right.

There, there is a version of that conversation to have with them and to just let them know that you’re a human, that God’s helping you in this area and that you’re actively seeking health. Because man, we’ve all had our parents say never do this thing that I do myself and that I have no idea how to fix.

Right. And it, it does not build rapport to do that, even if you’re right. So what builds rapport is acknowledging your need and where you are seeking God in that. And it helps us be accountable to that, right. That we’re not above these exact same struggles. So. That’s first is talk about it.

The second is plan how to keep your kid porn resilient. It’s not, we’re not gonna look to porn proof, our children, because really, really strong boundaries just teach our kids to get sneaky. I’ve I’ve mentioned before, but protect young eyes is a great online resource for families looking to have healthy tech at home.

And I love their their comment that really strong rules with no conversation just me make tech ninjas. Right. They just get really sneaky, cuz they’re gonna do what they want to do. If they don’t have heart change, you get have the most lockdown system on the planet. They’re gonna go to the public library or wherever, right?

Like they’re gonna get away with it somehow. If their heart is set on that, so. Our job then is to set up an accountable system, right. But our job really is to mentor their hearts and to love their hearts. And that’s what I would say. Proverbs 22 6 is talking about to raise our children up in the way they should go is not to just simply tell them all the things in the world that are wrong, they should avoid, but to show them the why.

Actually just so I’m the accountability partner for a buddy of mine. And my job is not to keep him from making mistakes, right? That’s that’s not my position as a loving Christian brother. My job instead is to hold to alight the mistakes he makes so that we can have repentance. Right? Cuz I gotta know that his heart is repentant cuz me knowing this information doesn’t actually help.

So I’m there as a second set of eyes. So that every time he goes to make a mistake, he goes, oh man, I know Nathan’s gonna see this now. Is that a good reason not to do it? No. Right. That’s not a repentant heart. That’s just someone who’s getting caught, but it’s that little bit of a wall. It’s that little bit of a choice because making the right choice for the wrong decision still stops all the fallout. It still stops the neural pathways from being made. It still stops the addictive habits from being fed, right. You’re not giving that monster anymore food and that’s good. And it buys in that space to repent and to go back and to figure out what needs to happen was that, is this a spot in my life I need to, well, we’ll get to this, but are there things I need to change?

Right. So that’s my spot in accountability. And that’s same for parents. It’s it’s right here in Galatians 6:1 Brothers. If anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourselves, let you too be tempted, bear one another’s burdens. And so fulfill the law of Christ. And I love that idea because the, I, this is perfect picture of accountability, right? In, in terms of the Gospel, we see a sin. We know that sins when they are not addressed, when they’re not brought to light, they lead to death. Right? This is, they grow. They build layers.

We begin to have to have like layers and layers of self deception and deception of others in order to keep this facade going, or we’re forced to claim it and just go, Nope, this is mine. And I’m running with it. Because I choose this sin. Right. And those are both very damaging. So instead what want to do is we wanna see it for what it is. We want the light of the Gospel to shine. We wanna do that in humility. What that looks like is we’re not gonna say, well, I never would’ve done this because it’s not true. Cuz if you’re the only one who never would have would’ve struggled with whatever this is you are, I, I heard it put this way.

You are better than David, right? Better than Sampson. And better than Solomon . Right? Like those are the three people who struggled mightily with sexual temptation and failed mightily in that area. So to say, I would never is one cheapening the Gospel because you’re like, well, God, didn’t I for this particular sin, cuz I got this on lock.

Right. And you’re taking three individuals who had mighty work done through them by the Lord and saying, well I’m better than all of those. So God, what else do you have for me? Right. Like. It just, that’s not humility. We need to recognize in humility. I struggle with a lot of stuff. Maybe this isn’t my thing right now, but in humility, I know it’s a thing I know there needs to be repentance and I’m gonna come bear your burden with you. I’m gonna be present with you. I’m holding you accountable, not to my standards, but to God’s because I love you. And I wanna see you whole, right. And that’s the conversation we have. That’s kind of our mindset. When we go in, in porn resilience is we are going in with a mindset to love this kiddo. We know mistakes are going to be made.

So how do we do that? So when we’re looking porn resilient, we can do, let’s say three things. We, we can protect the home network. The home network is everything connected to your wireless internet, your wifi and your wireless internet is going to power all of your tablets and your computers. And even personal devices like phones PCs. Let’s see laptops gaming consoles, like an Xbox or a PlayStation smart TVs, right? All that stuff is on wifi. So you need something that helps your wifi be protected from even accidental access to pornography. So first thing you do is you’re going to go and you’re gonna get either a circle. If you have a wifi router already circle with Disney’s great. You buy it, you attach it to your router and it runs everything through that. Or the Gryphon router. If you don’t. A wifi router. So if you can connect to the internet wirelessly off your computer from home, you have a wifi router, you need something like a circle circle allows you to have parental controls right on there.

They’re very easy to set which is what I like about that. It also allows you to set things like time windows. So if you want the internet only on for your one hour of tech time as a family, right? You say great after dinner this is when we can use social media, video games, cetera. You can actually just have the internet on, and then it goes tobed.

And great an hour before bedtime, it shuts back off, we’re done with the internet, put your stuff away. Schoolwork needs to be done, like all that. It gives you some really cool flexibility with that. It also has a mobile version, so we’re protecting the home network that includes families making sure all tech is outta the bedroom.

So there’s no reason to have technology in the bedroom. There’s no benefit to that. That outweighs any of the downsides. And there’s lots specifically downsides would include things like sleep. Your sleep will be absolutely affected by just knowing your phone is nearby. Focus and safety and bullies and pornography are others as well.

You also wanna make sure that personal devices that have cell connections. So if you have an iPad that has its own cell service, like it can connect to the internet through a cell connection. You just wanna make sure that those are put away. You can have those for like when you go to school or whatever we wanna have those separately protected.

We want devices in the home to be home devices that are easy to keep accountable, easy to keep in public spaces and easy to know when something goes wrong. So that, that follow up conversation can be had. We’re not here just trying to catch our kids, doing things wrong. We’re, you’re here to make sure that our resources remain tools, not distractions.

So then we have to defend our devices. So let’s talk about those cell devices, right. First do not buy an iPhone. If you’re an adult and you have one. That’s between you and God. I understand that, but the problem with an iPhone is they are built for privacy. They’re built on confidentiality and they are next to impossible to keep accountable if we have a motivated person using them.

So Android devices is basically any phone other than an iPhone. So your Google pixels and your Samsung galaxies and such. I like Samsung just as a product. I really like the caliber of the product. And I like that it’s not Google, so that’s my personal bias. But anything Android means when you put something like a covenant eyes or the go version, the mobile version of Gryphon router or the circle.

It actually can see what’s happening on that phone on an iPhone. If your kid is using the, let’s say the covenant eyes browser, and then they open Instagram or they open TripAdvisor or they open Pinterest that can no longer be seen. Okay. So, or if they get a text sent to them or if, right, like if they’re on Netflix or they get a subscription to HBO, plus like whatever their thing is, they can get there through another app.

And now they can consume that content. And there’s no accountability. You’re now relying on them to tell you. And most kids are like, oh man, I know I blew it. I’m just gonna do better next time. Right? Because most adults do that. Right? Like we don’t do a great job of self confessing. Like we need people around us to catch us in our transgressions and hold us accountable.

So. Get a device that allows itself to be defended and make sure those devices are accountable. And then they go away. They are really useful. They’re wonderful. We love smartphones when they are incredibly useful and they add value to our life, but they do a lot more than just the few tasks we need and we can very quickly get sucked into those and get pulled into dangerous and unhelpful distractions.

So we don’t wanna defend devices. And we wanna plan for what goes wrong is this for third thing. So we build that hedge. We protect the home network. We defend our personal devices from kind of dangerous opportunities. Oh, I should say. Instead of a smartphone, an iPhone, if you don’t wanna do Android, two really good options are the gab wireless phone which does not have an app store and doesn’t receive images and the Textless wise phone.

So the wise phone and the gab phone are both great options. The wise phone is built more for like a adults. It looks really sleek and it has a really. Simple proprietary interface. And it has a GPS and kind of, you know, some of those things we need as adults to function just as adults, it can receive text and stuff.

The gab phone is less expensive and more colorful and is really built for that youth experience also has some great parental controls on it. So I would say do those and really the idea here when we plan for what, where it goes wrong. The idea behind all of this. Is what I like to call seeing the poop in the brownies.

I believe I actually started telling this story. I might have gotten distracted, but my buddy that I’m account hold accountability partners for I really just explain that my job of being present with him is, is helping him see the poop in the brownies. Right? My job is to show him this for what it is, because brownies with poop in them are really easy to resist. right. I mean, you could have this irresistible urge to eat brownies, but if you find out that there’s feces in there, like all of a sudden it’s pretty easy to pass up. You’re not gonna try to just eat around it and find the good in it. Right? Like you’re gonna go get a new plate to brownies and that’s what the Lord has for us.

And so when I, as a loving friend and brother in Christ in humil, Show what was happening here for the damage it’s doing for the lie that it is for the addictive tendancy it can have for the, I mean, just the, the big picture, basically for how it harms the people who consume it and create it as well as just the fact, the sin that it’s bringing into our lives.

When we do that, it’s really easy to see what’s better for us. And when we get closer to God’s good. I’ve never been one to respond really to fear. I, I guess I might be too opposition defiant or something, but I respond really, really well to the goodness of God. And I find that I can resist and I can make excuses and I can lie to myself about things I want to do until I see God’s goodness and how this thing is taken away from me.

And I go, man, I don’t want. This thing, right? That was me in video games. That’s me in pornography. Like this thing can seem so irresistibly attractive until I see God’s goodness. And then I go, man, there’s some serious poop in those brownies, right? The light of God shines on it. And I go, oh man, I don’t want that.

Like, that’s not who I wanna become. That’s not what I want to have in my life. That’s not what I wanna model and replicate. Like, I don’t want anything to do with that. Like that’s I get it. I don’t want that anymore. So when we plan for. Goes wrong. It’s not, Hey, have a really sturdy punishment plan so that when your kid messes up, you can just absolutely , you know, make them put the fear of God in him.

Instead I believe firmly, the fear of God has very much to do with the goodness of God, right? The, the man, you know, the individual in your life that never yelled at you was just disappointed and how that was way worse than the, the individual in your life who screamed. I’m thinking maybe in terms of like coaches, I had, I had a, I had a teacher, an amazing AP English teacher and she was probably in her seventies at the time. And her disappointment her way more than my wrestling and football coaches getting in my face and salivating and turning beat red, right. Taking off their glasses before they screamed, because their head was gonna whip around so much. Right. Like I could take that three inches from my face and be unfazed, right. Just go about my day. I learned nothing other than like, Hey, he looked kind of funny there. But the disappointment of my teacher that I really cared about, right. Like mattered. And I think there’s fear of the Lord has to do with like the awe of the Lord, this respect for the Lord.

And it has to do with him being a good father. Yes. His omnipotence and his glory and his justice and his judgment and all that is real. And we understand it and there’s gravity to that, but that I would argue. Builds his goodness, because of all this righteousness and justice and judgment, right. He chose to forgive me.

And that forgiveness leads me to repentance, not my, my fear of hell. Right. I think fear of hell is important, but don’t, don’t get me wrong, but we’re, we’re told that it’s his goodness. It leads us to repentance. And we want to exemplify that for our kids. And if we’re not, we wanna repent ourselves and ask God how to do that.

God, how do I, how do I extend your goodness? And when I’m so frustrated, with this blatant prodigal rebel that you love and have already died for and have paid for their sins, if they would bend their knee and repent, right. Cuz all who call in the name of the Lord will be saved. So what do we do? So we plan for where it goes wrong.

First by preparing our hearts we’re gonna pray into that. We’re gonna make sure we’re exemplifying and showing where the poop is in the brownies with accountability and having that prepared. And then we’re gonna have that conversation of when it goes. is this something we need to Matthew 5, right?

That we need to cut off and gouge out. For some people that’s gonna be smartphones. It’s just a bridge too far. You’re it brings you too close to too many resources that you can make too many bad decisions too fast. So smartphones off the table. You’re gonna go techless. You’re gonna go gab wireless.

You’re gonna do something else. Right. So that might be, it might be internet connection. It might be certain activities or whatever. And the idea here isn’t make yourself brittle where you don’t get any opposition. The point is find those pinch points and maturely and astutely pray through. What does this look like to be healthy in this?

Right? Maybe social media is unhealthy for you right now. Right? Whatever your. Access is whatever your stumbling block is. We cut it off and gouge out, even if it’s painful, even if we don’t see how that’s gonna work out, we’re like, Lord, I need this thing to be able to do my job or stay an adult or whatever.

Like maybe that’s true. Maybe we’re just not willing to take the steps cuz it hurts too much. And Jesus told us very plainly it’s not worth right. Gaining whatever you think is gonna be gained and losing your soul because you chose repeated un repentant sin, instead of faithfully giving up this thing I’m asking you to let go of so pray through that and make that plan for when it goes wrong.

I would say, especially work out who they’re gonna tell, like pick a person, you’re gonna go talk to uncle or auntie so-and-so. Right. You’re gonna talk to this individual in our life. Maybe not mom and dad. So I do mom and dad and make a third, make a third source because sometimes it’s just easier to talk to that third person.

Make that person and then write down what you’ll say I was online and I, or I had my smartphone out, or I was out late that one night and I work out whatever that line is with your kid. So they can go and they basically have this phrase they’re gonna use when they make a mistake. When they feel like the wheels are coming off, they know they need help, but they don’t even know how to ask for it.

They can go to an individual you’ve already selected. They can know what they’re gonna say. And then the third piece is there. Know they’re gonna know what’s gonna happen. Right. And this, I would circle back to, they know you’re on their team. They know you’re fighting for them, not just with them. And they need to know more than just consequences.

Right. we’ve all been in the, oh my mom and dad are gonna kill me for this thing. Right. It didn’t stop us. we still did it. But it didn’t make it okay. Right. Like it’s it was still a bad choice. When I, when I say they need to know what’s gonna happen for this plan, what’s gonna happen when it goes wrong.

It’s fine to have consequences, but they need, they need to know what consequences are. You need to faithfully follow through on those consequences. Not because you’re mad at them, not because they’ve disappointed you, but because that’s the consequence you’ve set up. And that is important to be consistent on that.

But they need to know that that consequence is being made out of hope for them, not out of fear out of. Kind of the, yeah, the hope and you have for their purpose and not out of shame or guilt or anger. I would compare it very much to any other form of discipline you do, right? When your kid was little and you were swatting them, you were not hitting them, cuz you’re mad at them.

Right. You SWAT them across the bum because there’s a really close association to this decision that was just made, that was dangerous or unhelpful for either our bodies or our hearts and the sting on your bum. Right. It’s like touching a hot stove that you get this correlation tied to it. Right. And there is value in but I love the saying again, I’m, I’ve got all these sayings today. They don’t remember where they came from, but the, the first hit is for your kid. And the second is for you right. There’s this idea that like, you don’t need to do. Egregiously, you don’t need to do it to the point where you feel better about it.

That’s not the point of discipline in the same way here with pornography, that isn’t the point of accountability is to make you feel better. The point is to love your child, to call them to repentance and to acknowledge their need for a savior. And pornography is just one more way to do that. And. Yeah. So I just take that where it is, open that conversation up and be present with your kiddo in it. If this is something you struggle with, apply this stuff. Exactly. As we just talked about to your heart and don’t leave any part of your life with well I’m an adult. So it’s fine. Right. Maybe that shows not okay for you.

Maybe those movies aren’t okay. Maybe that video game isn’t all right, right now, maybe that smartphone, maybe that internet connection, maybe that privacy, maybe that maybe that job. By the way I believe that there are some people who are putting themselves with their job in unnecessary danger and they say, well, this is how I provide for my family.

Cool. Is that what God wants for you? Because if that thing is a direct correlation to the damage you’re doing in your life through sex or pornography or any other sin, really maybe that’s actually not what God’s saying. Maybe you are being Jonah and God said, go to Ninevah. Thing you really don’t wanna do and you go, yeah, but I’ve got really important plans, right.

I’m not gonna do that. So I just would challenge you on that. And I would hope that this conversation has been helpful. We’ve talked through both kind of some resources. We had Good Pictures Bad Pictures Junior for young kids. And then the, the regular version for older kids, Greta Eskridge of Ma & Pa Modern, and the as three resources help us talk factually clearly and lovingly about pornography and sex and our bodies, right.

As God has made us. And that’s, that’s important and potent and then we have a way to make a plan for keeping the internet safe at our homes. Right. We’re gonna make porn resilient homes and porn, resilient children. We’re gonna protect our home network. We’re gonna build that hedge around our Innerwebs. We’re gonna defend our devices intentionally.

And that’s using things like the Gryphon router in the circle or Covenant Eyes, or I didn’t even mention bark, but bark is really useful for some of the conversational and sexting stuff that happens. And then we’re gonna make a. And we’re gonna talk to our kids about that plan. And all of this is actually part of a family attack framework so that we can have a basic expectation in light of the Gospel.

So we know that we were sinners and we’re saved by grace. We’re now saints, which means we’re indwelled by the holy spirit. And we need to live like that. And when we’re not, we need to repent and ask God to help us live like that because that’s the only way you’re getting there. Your righteousness is not your own, your life is not your own.

It’s been bought with the price and that we need to live in light of that and the freedom that comes with it. And so yeah, so we can do that intentionally, even in hard conversations like pornography which is uncomfortable and you’ll probably sweat and there might be some tears, but man, get out in the open Yeah.

I just pray that if this is a matter in your marriage, that there would be repentance, that there would be confession that there would be professional counseling and intentional looks at how can we redeem this aspect? Because as long as there’s still a day called today, there is hope and God can break shackles.

He can really pull away from our eyes, the blinders of making excuses for what we’re doing, and he can set us free for Glory for our good and man, I that’s, my prayer is that this was encouraging to you that you see a way forward in this conversation that you don’t have to be afraid of talking about pornography with your kids.

It is big. It is scary. For sure, but we don’t have to allow that scariness to. I guess define the conversation. It can certainly motivate, but I hope that you feel encouraged to begin asking those hard questions and talking to your kiddos from ages forward to 17 and 18. Oh, and well into adulthood, right?

Wherever you’re at along the spectrum of having kiddos or grand kiddos for that matter. And I pray that yeah, you would be encouraged in this process if you. Questions about this, or want any more resources you can reach out to me, [email protected]. You can also find us on social media on Instagram and Facebook if you’re there. That’s @LoveGodUseTech and we are getting this rolling so you can join our newsletter which I’m going to attempt to do every other week. I laugh because I’ve been terrible at it. And my newsletter group is amazing, but it’s growing. So if you want to go, right on our website you can sign up for the newsletter and just enter your email.

It’ll kick you into our queue and I, you will get the, every other week updates where we talk a little bit about our lives, but also just what is God doing through Gospel Tech and give kind of useful snippets and resources through that. And you can also join us next week as we continue this conversation about how we can love God and use tech.

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