Kevin Outland, a speaker who’s been working with XXXchurch.com for over ten years, often tells a sobering story about his niece, who, when she was eight years old, asked her mother if she could visit the website for a popular doll company called American Girl.
The mother agreed, and off went the little girl to the computer to spend some time hanging out on the website of her favorite doll company. Except Outland’s niece didn’t quite understand yet how websites work and determined that she didn’t need to type out the entire company name. After all, the word “American” is pretty difficult for an eight-year-old to spell.
And so she typed out something else in the computer’s web browser, then, after seeing what happened to come up on the screen, ran out of the room and to her mother, telling her the whole story.
She’d typed in “Girls.com.”
Cris Logan—another XXXchurch.com speaker and blogger, who has been working with kids and parents for many years—has a similar story, though it’s so new she hasn’t had much opportunity to tell it.
Logan recently met with a family that was out to dinner, and they’d taken their toddler with them. Seeking to keep the little one quiet in the restaurant, one of the parents handed off their smartphone to play with.
Within a few minutes, however, the toddler had opened an internet browser window, randomly typed a few letters and characters into the search bar, and pulled up several links to pornographic websites.
A toddler. At random.
Outland’s and Logan’s separate stories give a crucial insight to the always-connected, always-on world we now inhabit. Namely: it isn’t going away.
“Whenever I’ve talked about this, the number one comment I’ve gotten from parents in the last ten years,” Outland says, “is ‘I was so naïve and I had no idea.’”
According to Outland, most parents he encounters are floored when they find out the prevalence and availability of online pornography. “90% of kids between the ages of 8 and 16 have viewed porn online,” he says, emphasizing that this exposure is often accidental or due to typos, like the situation with his niece.
Logan agrees. “No kid is immune to getting caught up in this issue,” (Tweet This!) she says. “Every single parent who discovers their child has a porn problem was the type of parent who said, ‘I have good kids, smart kids, and they would never look for that type of content.’”
The problem is that, all too often, that content finds them. And it’s only getting more complicated as we add devices and availability.
And that’s why we talk so much about X3watch here.
“For a long time, we were talking about keeping the computer in the public area of the home,” says Logan. “but now, with laptops and smartphones or gaming devices, there are so many different platforms where people can access the internet. You have to realize it’s not enough to protect your [home] computer—you need a product [like X3watch] on… every single device that connects to the internet.”
Outland offers a helpful analogy: “Would you ever let your kids stay home by themselves if every channel on your cable TV was available to them? If they could flip to any channel, would you leave your kids with the remote? Of course not! But you do that same thing when you let your kids access an unfiltered internet.”
In its premium version, X3watch is very much like a parental control for your cable box, providing a way to “limit the channels,” so to speak, that your children can access, making sure they visit only age-appropriate sites.
It’s also worth noting that both Outland and Logan make sure to use the generic terminology “kids,” because, while our culture often consider pornography addiction to be a “male” problem, that is no longer the case.
“It’s not just a boys’ issue,” says Logan. “Girls are struggling as much with this [now] as boys do. You don’t just need [protection] for your sons, you need it for your daughters. Pornography targets both genders.”
Ultimately, though, both Logan and Outland agree that the responsibility for keeping kids safe from pornography lies with their parents.
“As parents, we’re the door,” Outland says. “We buy the internet access. We provide the devices, whether it’s a tablet or smartphone or laptop or computer. And because of that, we’re the ones responsible for it. We have to do something about that to make sure our kids are safe.”
Here’s Why You Need to Protect Your Kids Online by XXXchurch.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.