Shepherd Press is pleased to announce that we will be partnering with Covenant Eyes. Covenant Eyes provides a unique resource for addressing internet pornography. Their creative approach not only deals with stopping this particular sin, but it also has the potential to build relationships between teenagers and their parents. It is this feature of the Covenant Eyes program that is particularly attractive to Shepherd Press. I have asked Luke Gilkerson of Covenant Eyes to write a post which will introduce their approach to our readers. We are looking forward to working with Covenant Eyes. More information about our partnership will be available shortly. Here is Luke’s post.
Teaching Your Kids to Make a Covenant with Their Eyes
She sat across from her fourteen-year-old son, John, asking him what she knew was an uncomfortable question. “Have you been looking at pornography?” His face reddened. Hers turned an ashen white as he admitted to frequent visits to porn sites in the last year. Mixed and complicated feelings seemed to fill the room. John was filled with shame and embarrassment. She was frantically searching for words to say, trying to express disappointment and compassion, while squeezing in a badly needed birds-and-bees conversation. It was awkward, to say the least.
John’s story is a common one. Research shows that most boys and girls are exposed to pornography before the age of 18. About 70% of boys and almost 25% of girls admit they have spent more than 30 minutes looking at pornography on at least one occasion. By the time they get to college, half of all male students spend up to five hours per week online for sexual purposes.
We have more protective technology today than ever before, yet the rate of child and teen exposure to pornography continues to rise. This is because technology, despite its rapid development, is not a substitute for good parenting. Even the secular world acknowledges this. Patricia M. Greenfield of the Children’s Digital Media Center says, “A warm and communicative parent-child relationship is the most important nontechnical means that parents can use to deal with the challenges of the sexualized media environment.”
This is why Covenant Eyes exists. For the last decade we have been helping families and individuals use the Internet with integrity. Our Filtering service helps you block unwanted images and content out of your home. Our unique Accountability service provides reports that let you know how the Internet is used in your home. Each website receives a score for sexual/adult content, and all the information is presented in an easy-to-read fashion. Our reports are custom-made for good conversations, giving you a firm grasp on where your children have been online. This is how we help you bridge the gap between technology and shepherding the hearts of your children.
The author of the book of Proverbs counsels his son to keep himself far from the door of the forbidden woman (Proverbs 5:8). Today, thanks to the Internet, that door is only a click away. She is not only found in so-called “blatant” pornography, but in the sensual images seen in pop culture, tabloids, music, and even Facebook. Now that it seems she is lurking around every corner, how can a parent prepare a child to face it?
Thankfully, the book of Proverbs offers an answer, a way to be “delivered from the forbidden woman” (2:16). It is the way of wisdom. The biblical idea of wisdom essentially means “skillful living”—the ability to make right and good choices. Wisdom is moral skill with mental discernment. It’s both knowing what is best and knowing why it’s best, thus having the godly motivation to choose it.
We want our kids to have this sort of wisdom, a wisdom that comes from above and leads to purity (James 3:16). But this sort of wisdom is not learned in a vacuum. It is not just book knowledge. In the book of Proverbs, wisdom is practical and fruitful discernment based on the experience of generations. Wisdom isn’t something merely taught; it is caught. It is something we learn by rubbing shoulders with one another in covenant community. Most importantly, it is learned is in the home.
Proverbs 13:20 says, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” God’s path of maturity in the Christian life is the path of discipleship. Wise character comes from walking with the wise. A child can learn to keep himself from the lure of sensual images as he holds the wise teaching of his parents close to his heart (6:20-21). As your child walks through the world, those teachings will lead him; as he lies down at night, they will watch over him; as he awakens, they will speak to him (6:22).
This is why we need a culture of accountability in the church and in the home. Technology should never be used as a quick fix or a replacement for discipleship. We need a kind of technology that not only helps you guard the gates of your home, but also opens new doors for honest conversation. That’s exactly what Covenant Eyes provides.
Luke Gilkerson is the general editor and primary author of Breaking Free. He serves as the Internet Community Manager at Covenant Eyes. Luke has a BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies from Bowling Green State University and is working on his MA in Religion from Reformed Theological Seminary. Before working at Covenant Eyes he spent six years as a Campus Minister.