Google Search: Are Your Eyes Open, Parent?
I overheard a distraught mother telling of her inquisitive young child and a Google search that went wrong right before her eyes. It took her by surprise, but she was thankful she was there. She was able to quickly intervene and later corrected the problem with the proper filters so it couldn’t happen again.
Unfortunately, a parent can’t always be there.
Parents need to be vigilant in striving for the utmost in internet security for their children. This is especially true regarding younger children who are not even aware of the dangers.
There are many search engines in existence that are specifically devoted to providing safe search for kids with a higher level of filtering. Safe Search Kids is just one of many.
When I think about unsuspecting young children that stumble upon heart-corrupting filth online and are affected in significant ways, stealing their innocence forever, it breaks my heart. Pulled into a vortex of secrecy and shame, many will experience lifelong struggles and addictions, but vigilant parents can make a difference.
My husband and I were faced with these same challenges of what to do just as computers were becoming commonplace in homes. We were on an accelerated learning curve because we hadn’t been raised with computers, and we knew we needed to respond with purpose, understanding, and wisdom. We did not know anything about this, but we sought the Lord and good counsel and found some answers.
Benjamin Barber (in his book below) paints a vivid portrait of an overproducing global economy that targets children as consumers in a market where there are never enough shoppers and where the primary goal is no longer to manufacture goods but NEEDS.
A sizable portion of these marketers are peddling porn. They want people to need it and in their greed will not hesitate to target children.
Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole, by Benjamin Barber
The media, Hollywood, marketing firms, and others want to take the place of God in front of our children and capture their hearts and minds. That has been Satan’s intent all along. (Isaiah 14: 12-14)
Right now Google is under fire for ‘failing to stop easy access to porn’ despite tweaking search results in the US to hide X-rated images.
Google search is an easy open door to filth that your child might have access to, and we and our children are being exploited for profit and control.
Users accessing the popular Google search engine and Yahoo! web sites can conduct image searches to view millions of indexed images, including inappropriate pornographic photos, and children quickly learn to go to the images. URL filtering alone cannot block these pornographic images, so parents need to get savvy to first guard and then train their hearts while young. It really is a heart issue as much as a tech issue.
“I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart. I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not fasten its grip on me.” ~Psalm 101: 2-3
What we really want for them is heart change, for once they are on their own, we can’t make decisions for them. Even if you blocked everything, they often have friends who will share how to get around your blocks and filters. Our best protection is done at the spiritual level.
The best preparation is done incrementally, in the day to day teaching in the home. Our ultimate desire is for self-controlled and self-governing young people who are empowered and transformed by the Holy Spirit by the renewing of their minds.
“We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” ~2 Corinthians 10: 3-5
Proactive Steps For Parents
1.) Be aware of and alert to the forces around us but not fearful.
2.) Become wise and proactive gatekeepers as to what comes into our homes (friends, internet, devices). Covenant Eyes has the best internet filters and they grow with your kids. I am not an affiliate, but recommend them. CE is the company we use.
3.) Teach your children the Word of God, give them the Gospel, and live it yourself (“I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” ~Psalm 119: 11)
4.) Don’t just give your child an iPhone! Seek counsel and learn about how to make your computer, iPhones, and other devices as secure as possible to prevent being party to your child stumbling in this area. Covenant Eyes offers great help in this area. With one username you can install CE on many devices.
Some young men we know today (including our sons) are asking to have their smart phones and iPads pass-coded and they themselves do not have the pass-code. They have requested that all apps are checked out and approved first by their accountability partner for unprotected browsers.
5.) From the youngest ages read wholesome character-building books with the Bible in hand and lessen your dependence on electronics.
6.) To set a good example, you need to be willing to ease up on your dependence on your devices first!
Dear Mother, when you trust in the Lord to guide you through His Holy Spirit in training up the hearts and minds of your children, the Lord will honor it!
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” ~Matt. 7:7
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” ~1 John 5:14
Covenant Eyes, our internet accountability of choice, has some VERY helpful and eye-opening FREE e-books to help parents navigate their way through these challenging times:
Protecting Your Family Online: A How-to Guide For Parents
Parenting the Internet Generation: 7 Potential Threats and 7 Habits for Internet Safety
Your Brain on Porn: 5 Ways Porn Warps Your Brain and 3 Biblical Ways to Renew It
Porn and Your Husband: A Recovery Guide for Wives
The Porn Circuit: The Science of Porn Use
Coming Clean: Overcoming Lust Through Biblical Accountability
And for you who have a child already in trouble in this area, or any area for that matter, we parents can rest on THE PROMISES OF GOD!
Thanks for reading!