Jonathon Van Maren

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Telltale signs that your child may be viewing pornography during lockdown

Too many parents still fail to realize that screen time can be genuinely dangerous.
Tue May 12, 2020 - 7:39 pm EST
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May 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Throughout the course of the COVID-19 lockdown, I’ve consistently noted that parents need to be even more vigilant than usual. With many children spending far more time than usual in front of screens, it is necessary for parents to be aware of the fact that even entertainment targeted at children is now infused with a sexual and progressive agenda — and worse, that the porn industry is specifically targeting children by tagging hardcore porn content with the names of characters from Disney films and Paw Patrol.

Schooling is also moving largely online, a trend that many schools were pursuing prior to the lockdown, a move I believe is a mistake — the last thing children need these days is more screen time. (Educators defend this move by saying kids need to learn how to be tech-savvy in a digital world, but I’ve seen toddlers using a smartphone with frightening adeptness — it is far more likely that children will not learn how to handwrite than not be able to work a digital device.) And the longer kids spend online, the more opportunities the porn companies have to win new customers.

One tech expert wryly observed a few years ago that first human beings invent a new technological device, and then they figure out how to watch porn on it. This is also true, as it turns out, for the devices children in lockdown are being provided for educational purposes. Parents are responding to this unfortunately predictable outcome with appropriate alarm. According to one news outlet in Oregon, it has now been “estimated that most kids have viewed pornography while online — some intentionally and others unintentionally.”

One mother, Emerald Cumberland, was “blown away” to discover that “her 10-year-old son has been searching for pornography on his school learning device” after her husband checked the boy’s browser history. Experts are now warning parents that they should have filters on their digital devices (I recommend Covenant Eyes) and that they should be watching their children very carefully, especially if they are spending more time using a device in the bathroom or during the night. Those are key, tell-tale signs that the child is viewing pornography.

Too many parents still fail to realize that screen time can be genuinely dangerous, especially if the device they have provided to their child is unfiltered and unrestricted. Many parents believe that it “won’t be my kid,” and those parents are wrong. The documentary Over 18, for example, followed the story of a young boy named Joseph who began using hardcore porn at age 9. He was homeschooled and began looking at porn sitting across the kitchen table from his mother. Porn is everywhere, and millions of children — children — are viewing it every day. That very well may include your children.

While filters on digital devices and your home Wi-Fi connection are important, nothing can replace having open conversations with your children. I recognize that these subjects can be difficult to broach, which is why some time ago I had a conversation with an expert on the subject — Kristen Jenson of Protect Young Minds — on my LifeSiteNews podcast. Many parents will be spending far more time with their children than usual right now, especially as most schools have not yet re-opened. This is the perfect opportunity to talk to your children about the danger pornography poses to their future, minds, and souls.

A final note: I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. I know that the temptation for many parents right now is to put their kids in front of screens to distract them for a while or gain a few hours’ respite from an exhausting and hectic day. If you are doing that, please, please be watching what they are watching like a hawk.

If they have a smartphone, don’t let them take it to bed with them at night. Make them leave it with you.

Don’t allow them to be in a private area with screens.

As parents in Oregon found out the hard way, most kids have already viewed pornography online during the COVID-19 lockdowns. We have a responsibility to ensure that our children are protected from these digital toxins — now more than ever.

Jonathon’s new podcast, The Van Maren Show, is dedicated to telling the stories of the pro-life and pro-family movement. In his latest episode, he interviews Scott Klusendorf about the fundamental flaw Klusendorf sees in the idea of locking down the country under the guise of preventing people from getting coronavirus.  

You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below: 


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