Editor’s Note: The following is an anonymous first-person account (as told to Rebecca Davis) of a mother who shares her family’s story in an effort to bring about an awareness that even children can struggle with the lure of pornography. Research reveals that 11 years old is the average age that a child is first exposed to Internet pornography. It’s important for parents to recognize the problem and be proactive.
October 2013 – The Lord has blessed us with three children, each different yet special. Our eldest child has always done what we asked and always wanted to please us. He is our compliant kid, and I put him in a box. That was a mistake. I had forgotten that he’s a sinner at heart. I never dreamed he would be on this path.
I remember washing dishes one day and just feeling the Holy Spirit. It wasn’t audible, but it was a very pointed suggestion to stop what I was doing and go see what our oldest son was doing.
I had no reason to wonder what he was doing. The child never made me question anything he had done.
But I put down the dishes and tiptoed upstairs to see what he was doing. That’s how intense the presence of the Holy Spirit was on me. The minute I stepped foot in my room, the floor cracked, and I heard my computer click off. I questioned him about what he was doing and why he stopped when I walked in the room. He told me he was playing checkers and the game was over.
I said OK, and I thought nothing of it.
Then one day I was working on the computer and typed a word into the Internet search engine. I don’t even remember what that word was, but keying in that word prompted the computer’s history to suggest similarly spelled words that had previously been entered. The words that came up were shockingly inappropriate. I clicked on the computer’s full history, and I saw that numerous pornography websites had been viewed on it. So immediately, I assumed it was my husband. Who else would it be?
It was on a Tuesday. My husband was in an important staff meeting. I had called him to no avail. Then I finally texted him: “9-1-1. You have to call me.”
In a woman’s mind, I had already raced to the end. We had lost our job. We had lost our house. I went that quickly down an imaginary trail, and my world was over. I’m married to a minister, and I was assuming he was addicted to pornography.
He finally called me. I questioned him, and he assured me that it was not him. So I hung up the phone, and I was just bewildered. Why was this on my computer? I was totally clueless. So I emailed my brother and asked him if he had been on my computer looking at those sites. He said no.
I was weeping and begging God to fix this. I called my husband again and told him: “You’ve got to fix this for me. This is too big.”
He said, “I promise it’s not me.”
So I just sat in my room crying. Our daughter was in her room, and our boys were downstairs. The Lord brought it to my mind to go downstairs and confront our boys, who were ages 9 and 11 at the time.
“I tried to compose myself, and then I said, “Hey, have you guys been on the computer and looking at anything that you shouldn't have?”
And they said no.
“You need to know that my computer tells me anything and everything I want it to tell me,” I said. “It’s really smart like that, so I know everywhere it’s been. I know everything it’s ever done.”
Then I used these exact words: “Today is a grace day. What that means is no one gets in trouble today. Regardless of what you’ve done, today is a grace day. So if you have gone to any sites, all I need to know is that you did it. But it has to be done today.”
I went back upstairs. Overwhelmed. Confused. Then I heard footsteps coming up the stairs. Our oldest son came into the room. He fell on the floor weeping, which is uncharacteristic of him. He’s not very emotional.
Weeping, he said, “Mom, it was me. I tried to stop, but it was too addicting. I couldn’t stop looking. I begged God to help me, but I couldn’t stop.”
Of course, I wept with him. I called my husband; he came home from work immediately. We prayed with him. We shared Scripture with him, as we often do, and told him it was his weapon.
We had talked to him previously about sex and had already addressed that issue. He knew it would be unacceptable to look at those women. But that day I reminded him about the gift of sex inside the bonds of marriage and how one day he would get to share that with his wife, Lord willing. I didn’t want to confront him in a condemning way.
Then my husband went on a walk with him, and they talked about a lot of blunt things.
Since then, we have installed a new filter on our computer. We actually had a filter installed on our computer at the time my son was viewing the pornography sites. But, unfortunately, we never tested it to see if it was working correctly.
As an additional precaution, I have also blocked Google on my computer. My kids do have iPods, but the Internet search engine is disabled, and their iPods are linked to my husband’s. What they download downloads on his.
Even with all these safety precautions in place, they could probably still get around them. But I’m doing what I can to protect my family and to warn others.
The Lord quickly reminded me that Satan had to have permission to come into my household and to attack my family because my son is a believer. The Lord obviously had a plan in all this. But was I going to let Him use it, or was I going to cover it? That was a hard decision for a while.
Who wants to admit that her 11-year-old son struggles with pornography?
But by choosing to share our story, we have seen the Lord at work. While our family’s fight with pornography is still very real in our lives, what the Lord has done through it all has been incredible.
Practical, prudent porn protection
▶ Do not allow televisions or computers in children’s bedrooms.
▶ Charge mobile devices (if children have them) in parents’ bedroom throughout the night.
▶ Set parental restrictions on children’s computers, phones, tablets, etc.
▶ Talk candidly about pornography, its consequences and what God says about it, but season your conversation with love, grace and a biblical view of sex and marriage.
AFA director to speak at anti-porn conference
Monica Cole, director of AFA’s OneMillionMoms, will be a keynote speaker at the Families Fighting Pornography conference in the Phoenix, Arizona, area November 2. She will lead a discussion on how to protect our families from sexualized media and pornography. The conference is sponsored by Arizona Family Council. For more information and registration, visit azfamilycouncil. org.