Pastor Nathan’s religious perspective: “What do you think God wants us to do to protect our families?”

This week’s video focuses on Pastor Nathan’s religious principles and why his faith in God motivates him to fight against pornography. If you are religious, or just curious about how religion and and the anti-pornography movement go hand in hand, check out his answer below!

 

 

Pornography erodes personal dignity, harms children and teens, and damages marriages– sometimes beyond repair. Click here to read more about the negative effects of pornography!

 

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Teens are more likely to sexually harass if they watch porn, study says

In our national conversation about sexual harassment and sexual assault, we’re leaving out an important factor– pornography. Research from multiple studies shows consumption of pornography is highly correlated with violence against women. For ethical reasons, it’s difficult to prove causation in studies, but this study shows that, for many teens, pornography consumption often predicts sexual harassment.

 

The study, published in academic journal Communication Research, surveyed almost one thousand young teenagers. 66% of the boys reported they had seen pornography in the last year at least once. Two years later, the boys who had seen pornography were more likely to have sexually harassed someone than the boys who had not seen pornography.  These boys also had less progressive gender role attitudes, more permissive attitudes about sex, and were more likely to be sexually active.

 

You can read more about the study here.

 

They say we are what we eat, but as members of modern society, we’re equally likely to become what we watch. Our brains are wired to pay attention to sexual imagery, and teens are already eager to learn about sex from whoever will teach them. In pornography, violence and degradation are made attractive, commitment is undesirable, and love is irrelevant. Obviously, this is not what we want our teenagers to be taught. Exposure to pornography at an early age shapes attitudes about gender, sexuality, and relationships for life!

 

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Porn use predicts support of violence against women, study says

A recent study found individuals with a history of heavy pornography use are more likely to support violence against women.

 

The study surveyed 200 Danish young adults about their history of pornography use, attitudes about sexual violence against women, and certain personality traits. Researchers found that the individuals in the study who had a history of heavy pornography use were more likely to support violence against women.

 

There are several interesting aspects of this study. First, Denmark is known for extremely liberal pornography legislation and is often held up as an example of a society that has supposedly benefited from pornography use. Linking pornography use to support of violence against women indicates that, to paraphrase Shakespeare, something is indeed rotten in the state of Denmark. The genders of the participants are also noteworthy. While many studies on the effects of pornography use focus on men, this study includes both men and women. Lastly, the study convicts both violent and nonviolent pornographic content. Individuals who merely experimented with nonviolent pornography were also more likely to support violence against women if they also scored lower on a trait termed in the social sciences as “agreeableness” (Agreeableness is a term used in academic literature that normally encompasses tact, warmth, friendliness, optimism, and the ability to get along well with others). While some hold up “ethical” pornography as harmless, this study indicates no pornography is innocent.

 

You can read the original study here.

 

Pornography brings out the worst in viewers. While violent pornography is obviously destructive, even nonviolent pornography can desensitize users until they support atrocities against women– even if the users themselves are female! Such disorientation of ethics and personal values would be especially destructive to children and teens. For the sake of communities, families, and individuals, we must teach our children to shun pornography.

 

Pornography has no place in our homes.

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Porn associated with marital instability, study says

 

A new study further illustrates the awful effects of pornography on marriage.

 

The researchers, drawing from data from the National Portraits of Life study, studied married couples surveyed in 2006 and in 2012. The couples were asked in 2006 about their pornography consumption habits, and, in 2012, the researchers checked to see if the couples were still together and again assessed the couples’ pornography consumption.

 

Analyses of the data showed that couples who viewed pornography in any amount or frequency in 2006 were TWICE as likely to be separated in 2012 as the couples who abstained from pornography. Furthermore, the correlation remained even after controlling for marital happiness and sexual satisfaction in 2006 and other sociodemographic factors. To read more about this study, click here!

 

Pornography is frequently sold as a way to “spice up” marriages and relationships, but modern research debunks this myth. Drs. John and Julie Gottman, prominent marriage and family experts, published an open letter on the harms of pornography, including reduced relationship satisfaction, decreased emotional connection between partners, and a higher likelihood of extramarital affairs. Anecdotally, spouses of individuals who use pornography report lower levels of self-esteem, body image, and trust, and higher levels of depression and anxiety. In short, pornography is more likely to torch a marriage than to spice it up.

 

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Pornography use predicts decreased religious observance in teens and young adults, study says

Faithful families, take notice! A recent study suggests that viewing pornography leads to lower levels of religious observance and belief in God.

 

The researchers, Samuel L. Perry of University of Oklahoma and George M. Hayward of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, wanted to explore “how viewing pornography may shape young Americans’ connection to key social and cultural institutions, like religion.” They used data from the first three portions of a nationally representative, longitudinal survey of young Americans. When the survey began, the participants were between thirteen and seventeen years of age. At the end of the third portion of the study, the participants ranged in age between eighteen and twenty-four years old. For those unfamiliar with academic research procedure, such data is difficult and expensive to obtain and considered the “gold standard” of data collection.

 

Upon examination of the data, Perry and Hayward found that, the more often teens and young adults viewed pornography, the less often they attended church and prayed. The participants who viewed more pornography were also less likely to value religion, perceived less closeness to God, and had more religious doubts than those who did not view pornography.

 

The article reiterates previous research in noting the probable role of cognitive dissonance in these results. In other words, religious individuals who engage with pornography feel the conflict between their actions and their religious values. Such conflict is extremely emotionally uncomfortable, and we as humans either change our values or our behavior to alleviate these feelings of guilt and shame. Unfortunately, changing one’s values is often easier in the moment than discontinuing habit-forming behavior like pornography use.

 

To read the study in full, click here!

 

Research shows again and again that pornography erodes the best of each of us: our values, our self-control, and our relationships. Parents who want to protect their homes and families can no longer afford to do nothing! Talk to your children about online pornography from infancy. Initially, these conversations won’t be about sexuality or explicit content, but about kindness, respect, and house rules for technology use. However, these simple themes will lay a foundation and prepare both the parents and the kids over time to tackle more advanced topics like pornography, self-control, social media use, and more.

 

Talking to your kids about pornography can be intimidating, but it is easier than it sounds and absolutely essential. Click here to read more about family internet safety on our blog and start the conversation today!

 

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3 warning signs that your teen may be viewing pornography

 

By age fifteen, your teenager has probably seen pornography, say social science researchers. You may be one of the parents who has walked in on your teen looking at pornography. However, many of today’s kids and teens are tech savvy enough to hide their pornography usage from their parents. If you believe your teen might have started viewing pornography, here are three red flags to watch for.

 

A sudden desire for privacy when using technology

If your teen starts to balk at long-established family tech rules, like keeping computers in public spaces or turning off the internet when no adults are home, don’t chalk it up to normal teenage envelope-pushing. Few (if any) teens will view pornography out in the open– darkness and secrecy are pornography’s preferred environment. So, if your teen wants excessive alone time, especially with electronics, ask yourself what he/she can’t do in the open.

 

Loss of interest in other activities

It’s normal to be excited about a new video game or television show, but if your teen starts neglecting school work, ditching sports practice, and avoiding friends so he or she can spend time online, get worried. Pornography is highly addictive, and it’s all too easy for teens to be sucked in. Pornography use is also linked to depression, which is also characterized by dropping favorite hobbies and pastimes. Either way, apathy in teenagers is a red flag.

 

Internet history has been deleted

You may not know how to delete your internet browser history, but your teen almost certainly does. And if he doesn’t, a Google search will inform him within seconds. You won’t get a notification that your browser history has been deleted, so watch for an unusually short browser history or the absence of sites you know you visited recently. Consider using a parental support system, like Clean Router, that records the sites visited on your internet network even if the browser history is deleted or incognito browsers are used.

Some families periodically delete their browser history as part of their computer maintenance. If so, consider a family rule that only a parent is allowed to delete browser history. As a parent, you need to know where your kids go online, just like you need to know where they spend their time offline.

 

Of course, the best way to know if your teen is viewing pornography is to ask. But too many parents don’t ask, because their teen is such a “good kid,” that he or she would never look at pornography. This fallacy has left too many “good kids” vulnerable! Gone are the days when teens had to go looking for pornography; now, pornography goes looking for kids. Their targets are the “good kids,” whose parents trust in their kids’ goodness to protect them. Parenting in the digital age requires carefully monitoring kids and teens online, watching for red flags, and maintaining an open, continuous dialogue about pornography and internet safety.

 

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Pastor Nathan: “How has pornography impacted your life and marriage?”

If Pastor Nathan seems to feel strongly about pornography, he has a good reason. Pastor Nathan stumbled on a pornographic magazine as a young teen, beginning an addiction with which he would struggle for decades. Watch his video below to hear how pornography has impacted his life, his faith, and his marriage, and to learn what he feels is the most common trigger for men who struggle with pornography.

 

 

Pornography is the epidemic of our generation! Click here to read more about how pornography harms individuals, marriages, families, and society as a whole, and what you can do to protect your family and community!

 

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Life Lessons from a Recovering Porn Addict

“He was hooked on porn for eight years. Then he learned to fish.”  

 

Thus begins a Washington Post account of a pornography addict, Dave Barnette, looking for support, self-mastery, and new meaning in life as he struggled to rid his life of so-called adult entertainment.  The article (which you can read in full by clicking here) is an honest and slightly humorous illustration of addiction recovery and highlights several life lessons for anyone seeking to break a habit, fight an addiction, or simply understand the real consequences of pornography use.

 

“She consulted her notes, then looked me over. ‘You,’ she said with finality, ‘alone.’ As an ad guy, I could have campaigned for a thousand words and not nailed the truth like that.”

 

The Fight the New Drug slogan is more than catchy– porn really does leave you lonely. Dave lost his wife, his children, and even the physical ability to be intimate with a romantic partner. Extensive anecdotal evidence cites pornography as a major contributor to marital dysfunction and divorce, and a recent study broke ground by confirming that couples who began using pornography were more likely to split up. Ultimately, pornography isolates its users from family, romantic partners, and healthy relationships in general.

 

“The speedometer was one thing I could still make rise at will.”

 

Many addicts begin unhealthy behaviors as a way to feel in control when struggling with difficult life circumstances (click here to listen to Pastor Nathan discuss the relationship between pornography use and control). Other common triggers for bad habits and addiction relapses are loneliness, depression, and other powerful emotions. Learning to cope with emotional stress in healthy ways can be one of the most effective protections against unhealthy behaviors and addictions.

 

“Porn, he said, is a cigarette without a warning.”

 

Watch almost any movie or television show from the 1960s, and someone is smoking. Decades passed before scientists realized the horrific health consequences of tobacco use, before cigarettes were labeled with dire warnings. Similarly, pornography is a major public health crisis of our day. It has taken years, but research is finally starting to show the addictive and negative effects of pornography use on individuals, marriages, families, and society as a whole.

 

“I eventually made an appointment with someone who I’d heard might be good with this sort of thing…she suggested I spend some time reading ’50 Shades of Grey.'”

 

Unfortunately, myths about pornography have affected even the mental health community. Too many therapists believe that pornography can be a solution, and clients searching for guidance and support are pointed down the wrong path. If a mental health professional ever encourages pornography use, seek a second opinion.

 

“’Don’t come to your next session without being able to tell me something you did just for fun this weekend,’ she said. ‘And not the kind of fun that includes sex or bourbon.'”

 

One of the most difficult aspects of breaking an addiction or habit is filling the void of time and energy formerly occupied by the undesirable activity. Encouraged by his second therapist, Dave took up fishing. The new hobby gave him something new to focus on and a reason to turn off the computer. Enjoying a wide variety of on- and off-screen activities helps us maintain healthy technology habits and can help prevent bad habits and addictions.

 

“A few months ago, since my laptop wasn’t up-to-date enough to install a porn blocker, I handed my phone to the friend I had confided in earlier and asked him to put one on it.”

 

While internet filters are no silver bullet, they can be a powerful tool in protecting your home against pornography and promoting personal accountability. To make sure your home is fully protected, we recommend a router-based internet filter that automatically covers all devices, like Clean Router!

 

“He was hooked on porn for eight years. Then he learned to fish” is a thoughtful analysis of the impact of pornography use and the process of breaking an addiction, and you can read it in full here!

 

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3 Things to do if you find porn in your child’s browser history

You never thought it would happen to you, to your child, but here you are. You found pornography in your kid’s internet history. Or you walked in on your teen surfing adult websites. Or you stumbled on images in your tween’s smart phone. However it happened, you now know your child has been viewing pornography. What should you do now?

 

1) Nothing
That’s right– if you discover your son or daughter has been viewing pornography, the first thing you should do is absolutely nothing. The idea of your child viewing porn will evoke strong feelings– anger, fear, disgust, guilt– none of which will be helpful. Take care of yourself first. If you’re religious, pray for perspective and peace. Ponder your values and your goals for your child’s future. Visualize how you want your relationship with this child to look next week, next month, next year, ten and twenty years from now. Talk to your spouse or a trusted friend or relative with similar values. You may need to spend a few hours or a few days on this step, and that’s ok. When you feel your knee-jerk reaction dissipating, move on to step 2.

 

2) Plan your approach– and approach your child
Prepare a few talking points. The following statements may be helpful:

 

The problem with pornography is…
I’m worried about you because….
I don’t want you to look at pornography because….
I want …. for you, but viewing pornography will mess it up by……

 

Keep it to a few sentences, then end with a question or open statement.

 

What can I do to help you?
Tell me about your experience with pornography so far.
How long have you been viewing pornography?
When did you decide to look at pornography? Why?
When you look at pornography, what do you get out of it?

 

3) Make a plan together
Your plan will be unique, but here are some possible components:

 

*An internet curfew
*No private internet usage
*All computers and mobile devices out of bedrooms
*Install a hardware-based filtering system, like Clean Router (highly recommended!)

 

Whatever the specifics, your child should be involved in creating both the limits and the consequences. Rather than an enforcement mentality, ask how you can help him or her stay away from pornography in the future. Make sure the plan provides structure and promotes accountability– no excuses or gray area.

 

It’s natural to feel angry or frightened when you discover your child is involved with online pornography. The effects of porn are serious, especially for children and teenagers. Try to stay calm, though, and focused on your child’s needs. There is a way forward, and you and your child can do this– together.

 

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Delaying boys’ exposure to porn is worth it, study says

Naysayers claim you can’t keep porn away from your kids forever. They are probably right. However, a new study suggests preventing your child’s first exposure to pornography as long as possible matters in later life.

 

The study, conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Nebraska, surveyed 330 men between the ages of 17 years and and 54 years old. The men reported the age at which they first saw pornography and the context of the exposure; that is, whether the man (or boy) in question was looking for porn, stumbled on it accidentally, or was forced to view it. The participants were also surveyed about their attitudes towards women and sexuality.

 

On average, first exposure to pornography occurred around age thirteen years old, though participants reported initial exposure as young as five years old and as old as twenty-six years old. Almost half encountered pornography accidentally (43.5%), about a third (33.4%) went looking for it, and a few were forced to view pornography (17.2%). While the context didn’t matter later in life, age did. The younger a boy (or man) was when he first viewed pornography, the more likely he was to want and believe men should have power over women. According to the report on the study published in the BBC, these men were more likely to “agree with statements that asserted male dominance, such as ‘things tend to be better when men are in charge’.”

 

Hierarchical attitudes about gender are highly problematic, especially because they correlate with domestic violence, rape, and other types of violence against women. Pornography often depicts male dominance and even male on female violence as part of normal romantic relationships. This could not be farther from the truth!

 

As parents, we may not be able to shield our kids as adults, but the protection we provide them as children makes a difference. Of course, there is never a good time to be exposed to pornography. However, if we shield and teach our children when they are young, they will be better equipped to process exposure later in life. Just because we can’t protect them forever does not mean we should not try to protect them at all!

 

The other takeaway from this study? If you want to prevent your child’s first exposure to pornography for as long as possible, it is NEVER too early to institute protective measures. The participants in this study reported exposure to pornography as early as five years old. Pre-empting an exposure at five years old requires parents to act when their kids are preschoolers or toddlers. Create a family media plan that begins with your child’s first moment of screen time. Make internet safety a way of life for your kids. As we learned from this study, your efforts make a difference!

 

You can read more about this study here, here, and here.

 

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