Welcome to our "Tools for Parents" page. Here you will find videos, podcasts, blogposts, and links to resources to assist you in building up your family life by protecting against pornography exposure and educating your children in the truth, beauty, and goodness of God's plan for human sexuality. I hope that you find the information here helpful, and if you have suggestions or ideas about how to make the page better, please contact the Family Life Office at 402-473-0620.
One of the first steps to protecting your family is to make sure the doors to inappropriate content are closed in your home. Just as we ensure that there are no adult channels on our cable plans, we also need to make sure that the internet is not accessing adult content that can be stumbled upon on our smart tvs, video game systems, computers, phones, or tablets that are connected to our home wifi network. Fortunately there is a free solution to this called opendns. This service will protect content at the router level, but will not filter content accessed through cellular networks or through another wifi connection. The following video will provide a tutorial on how to configure opendns in your home. Get started here
Lock down devices and set safe settings
Every internet capable device can very easily become an occasion for temptation, especially in the modern world where conversations about pornography are commonplace in mainstream media. Unfortunately, pornography has become a "structure of sin" which means that we have reached a time where the sin of pornography has become part of the culture in which we live. This being the case, parents must be even more vigilant about setting the parental controls and restrictions on phones and tablets. Oftentimes inappropriate content is accessed through apps like twitter, tumbler, and Instagram. Knowing which apps are on your child's device and controlling when they are downloaded is key. In these videos you will learn how to set restrictions on apple devices, android devices, and within your web browsers to restrict internet searches and youtube content.
Android using applock
Talking to your kids about pornography
One of the most daunting, but necessary, conversations parents need to have with their children today is the "porn talk". In fact, most parents initially think that this kind of conversation will do more harm than good. For those of us who grew up in the 80s, we have no point of reference for such a conversation. When we were kids there was no availability. There were "back rooms" at the video store, magazines at truck stops, and scrambled signals on our television sets. There were no ipods, ipads, or internet connections on video game systems. We did hear messages like "don't do drugs", we heard about the dangers of alcohol, and that smoking was the most damaging thing we could ever do to our bodies. None of these messages made us want to do these things; for the most part they were effective. With the increased accessibility of pornography we need a new campaign, and the seeds of that campaign have begun with websites like Fight the New Drug.
As with the campaigns against smoking, alcohol, and drugs, this one will be most successful when it begins with, and is supported by, parents. One resource you can use to help you begin this conversation is a book by Kristen Jensen called Good Pictures/Bad Pictures. This book can be used as early as age 5 or 6 to educate your children about the harms of pornography and what to do in the event that they are exposed to it. See the Videos below for more information. The second is a great presentation by kids to kids.
Good Pictures Bad Pictures
Great Education Video for kids
What about my teenager?
If you have a teen and you are nervous about starting this conversation, here are some tips:
1. Have an amnesty day. This means that your child will not be punished for anything that is shared during the conversation. You are worried about him/her and you simply want to know how they are doing.
2. Ask if and when they first saw pornography. Remember that the averageage of first exposure is 8-11. It shouldn't be surprising if they have seen something.
3. Ask "How did that make you feel?" It is natural that it may have made them feel a mixture of good, gross, confusion, and curious. Keeping those feelings a secret can also keep a young person trapped in a cycle of shame.
4. Say, "I'm sorry that happened to you." If they were exposed at home, take responsibility for not putting proper parental controls in place. It is difficult to keep up with technology, and we can all make mistakes. When we do we apologize and make things better.
5. "We are going to do better." This is your opportunity to implement some changes to help your teens stay away from pornography and other harmful content. Many young people experience relief when their parents make these positive changes at home.
You can always contact The Family Life Office for more information/guidance/and resources.
Education for love Podcast
Below you will find two talks given at a seminar called, "Talking to kids about the tough stuff." If you are a busy parent and looking for something to listen to on the go, I hope you will enjoy these talks.
Parenting for purity of heart
The Davis' witness and practical tips
Monitoring your children online
There are many great tools out there to help you to protect and monitor the content your children are exposed to online. Recent studies have revealed that the average age of first exposure to pornography has dropped to between 8-10, before puberty even starts. This reality presents a great challenge for parents as they attempt to make prudent decisions about technology and education for love. Below you will find four helpful videos. The first two were produced by Covenanteyes, an internet accountability and filtering service provider. The second two are presentations on the vocation of motherhood and fatherhood and some practical tips from a proactive couple. Click here to try CovenantEyes free for 30 days
How to sign up a family for covenanteyes
Theology of Motherhood and Fatherhood
Talking to your children about God's plan for love
When we talk about the importance of protecting our children from harmful online content, we usually think about home computers, smartphones and tablets. Did you know that your video game system is also a gateway to the internet? Many young people who have been exposed to "the dark side of the internet" often look to their video game system once computers, tablets, and phones have been locked down. Below you will find videos in english and Spanish to help you to set the parental controls on the xbox one, wii, and playstation 4. To expand the video to full screen click the icon in the lower right corner of the video.
Xbox One English
playstation 4 English
Xbox One Spanish
Playstation 4 Spanish
Other helpful links/resources
Here is a list of other helpful links and resources:
The vocation of protector--monitoring our children online
by Fr Sean Kilcawley
For the past six months I have spoken with many parents, young people, and couples about the dangers of the internet and technology. More directly, I have been speaking to them about the danger of internet pornography. Pornography poses a grave threat to individuals, couples and families, and society. Viewing it results in a mixture of pleasure, guilt, and shame so although people experience it as something that “feels good” most people “feel bad” about themselves after doing so. It is especially dangerous for young people who can easily find it accidentally. A child who accidentally finds porn online is likely to feel a mixture of emotions that they are not prepared to process. They feel excitement, curiosity, guilt, and then shame. It is likely that they will not report this exposure out of fear of being punished, so it becomes a secret that they keep from parents. The secret results in isolation, isolation can result in anxiety and the desire to escape or change one’s mood. Then the very thing that caused the isolation becomes the remedy as they return to pornography to deal with negative emotions.