Kids’ Access to Pornography Online: Raising the Alert

A few days ago one of our readers sent the following letter to us:

Dear Writers at Catholic Exchange:

I’ve never thought of myself as a prude, rather just a good Catholic, but when I found my 13-year-old son watching a movie online that had two young ladies getting hot and heavy with each other in a small car I almost lost it.

It amazes me the access young children have to inappropriate content on the internet, and when I did some research, I found the website.

The movie in question is called In Search Of. It is showing on www.hulu.com right now for free, and I discovered my son lied about his age when he signed up for an account. It all just seems a little too easy for my comfort.

I watched In Search Of, and have never been so offended at the fact that my boy would have access to something of this nature so easily. The movie is about sex. It has scenes depicting everything from rape to abortion to homosexuality to infidelity. And best of all, it’s filled with all of these religious icons (crosses in the background, an intro with a priest talking about Adam and Eve) as if the people that made the movie are trying to make some kind of connection about Christianity and sex.

And the message boards on Hulu are revolting. There are people who are actually calling this a Christian film, promoting abstinence. Sorry, but I prefer my Christian films without male and female genitalia.

Thank you for your time. I also sent this exact email to Harry Forbes and the USCCB to see if it was something they’d like to tackle or at least review. Or at least bring to their’s and your attention my distaste with the internet’s complete lack of censorship. But judging from past articles you’ve done on Mr. Forbes, he apparently goes easy on these kinds of issues. It’s a shame, really.

Sincerely,
Rachel

As Rachel noted the ease with which children (or anyone) can access pornography online is almost beyond belief — but if you are a parent or are in any capacity responsible for youngsters who frequent the Internet, you had better believe it.  Pornography is not merely available online, it is targeted at youngsters.  Pornographers make sure to associate their websites with the names of things children are likely to look for, like the names of Disney movies, kids shows, and pop idols that appeal to the preteen and early teen set.  They set it up so that a child innocently searching for something in his line of interest will be likely to click on a site featuring nudity and sex scenes.  The innocence of children is being targeted for eradication by an industry that is all too happy to create early psychological dependence upon its products.

So far, every attempt to protect children from this plague from the Internet side has failed.  The pornography industry spends the billions it rakes in from its current victims to protect its ability to create more — useful idiot politicians and librarians take its side.  Forget parents’ rights.

That means that you, and only you, can protect your children while online.  Unfortunately this means that along with the burden of responsibility, there is going to be a burden of either cost or time or both.  Unless you are going to personally monitor every click of the mouse while your children are online, you will need to obtain blocking software that allows you to control what sites your children may visit.  Robust software that allows a high-level of parental control costs money and takes time to download and set up. It’s a real pain.

Do it anyway.

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

  • deirdrew

    These days, one is never ‘just a good Catholic’ :) we are called to so much heroic stuff….on one decade, what was innocent for kids on the internet has changed so much…

    hulu is promoted so heavily on tv with certain personas, ‘hip,’ i knew it had to be trouble….oh yeah and ‘free’ ???? we have to pay attention to everything

    I have prayed for a President and Congress that would take these threats to our society seriously, too many in the past have passed the buck :(

  • http://arkanabar.blogspot.com Arkanabar Ilarsadin

    Linux Mint is free to download, install, and redistribute. It includes software to filter out all blacklisted sites, or else all sites EXCEPT those on your whitelist. The latter is probably safer.

    You will have to learn to use Mint; it does work differently from Windows, and you will have to learn replacements for most of your software. But it is free, and it does put you in control.

    I’ve written a bit about linux in general:
    http://arkanabar.blogspot.com/2009/05/linux-usage.html

  • DonnaMaria

    Until things change (doesn’t look like soon) I recommend having your computer(s) in one central area (like the kitchen), never, never in a child’s bedroom, and when they need to do a search, you do it for them. No exceptions. They will learn to do searches on their own soon enough. Their time should also be limited. The big problem is the time they spend on the computer at school–even at Catholic schools, they are not monitored closely, and the schools don’t significantly block anything coming in. Many, many really good kids spend time on Facebook, etc. while at school!

  • princessflavia

    K9 Web Protection is free and extremely good. Works great with Macs and PCs.

  • kirbys

    we have a filter, but unfortunately I left the computer on in my haste to get out the door several weeks ago. I checked the history, and found that my 14yo had taken an intense interest in NFL teams–this in March! Hmmm…I checked them out, and he had linked to the cheerleading sections of the teams’ sites. Hmph. clothed–sorta.

    We can’t let down our guard–our filter is great, but my mistake plus his curiosity (which, thanks be to God, did lead to a good conversation with our son–a conversation which is ongoing in our house) equaled an unfortunate episode.

    I have five sons and I am resigned that each one will at least try once to check for something along these lines. Even heading to the beach in the summer requires thought (when to go, where to stay, my husband discussing temptations with our older boys–not in a repressive way, but in a this-is-how-you-can fight-against-objectifying-women way). Prayer and monitoring as DonnaMaria recommends is what we have to do.

  • Paul

    I have been using Unbuntu with DansGuardian. DansGuardian is difficult to setup and I only got it right the second time I installed it on a clean system.
    It is also really heavy handed, a good thing, in the default setup and requires administrator account modification of a bunch of text files to open up video and audio. Is MintNanny the application you are using Arkanabar?

  • goral

    The responses to this scourge have been nothing short of pitiful. The Christian West is worse than the terrorist Arab world and the current and former Communist world. Both know the demoralizing and destructive effects of pornography so rampant and pervasive in a society. Godless communism outlawed what we in the west consider normal.
    We have sewage flowing into our homes and we’re not demanding that anyone stop it.

    Business will not stop it, there’s big profit in it. The return on investment is a thousand-fold.
    Gov’t will not stop it; they have no interest in a moral and self-restrained citizen. Then we would hold them up to a higher standard and require that they mean what they say.
    The academia doesn’t want to infringe on all our personal wrongs.
    Even churches dance around the issue instead of saying point blank that porn will hollow-out the victim’s soul.
    It’s creating a nation that is ruled by sin and a slave to sin.
    It’s the only crime that we’ve accepted as victimless, which means sinless, which means don’t get yourself worked up over the fact that evil forces are brainwashing and violating your children.

    As I said the responses everywhere including this website is son put this filter on your eyes so that you won’t see her come into our home and sup with us in the nude.
    Porn is the best ally of the culture of death because its destruction is complete – body and soul.

  • Mary Kochan

    Sorry Goral, not my (our) fault. I voted for people who wanted to protect my kids, but my fellow Catholics voted somebody else into power. So there you go.

  • http://arkanabar.blogspot.com Arkanabar Ilarsadin

    Paul, MintNanny is the one I was speaking of. I have no children in my home, so I am not using it, but I became aware of it when I first installed Mint in January. Odds are that it’s based either on DansGuardian, or else the filtering software included with either Ubuntu CE or WebStrict (which is what Sabily, the Muslim community version of Ubuntu, uses).

  • goral

    I’m sorry too, Mary. For a long time I’m trying to impress upon anyone who listens, that we need censorship. This is the law doing something. That will not eliminate evil but will keep it in proper check. Software and other blockers are just playing games with the devil, who will always win.

    The “C” word strikes terror into the hearts of all the do gooders who think we can beat the wiz at his own game. The wiz actually came up with some of the blockers to give us a false sense of protection. He’s the father of false.

  • http://arkanabar.blogspot.com Arkanabar Ilarsadin

    Incidentally, WebStrict is a graphical front end for DansGuardian, which probably makes it easier to configure. Ubuntu Christian Edition is now defunct, and the team that developed it is now working exclusively on “Jesus TV.”

    The sole review for the current version of Sabily listed on Distrowatch (review at http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,2845,2347168,00.asp ) requested that the Sabily team work on a Christian linux distro with artwork as beautiful as Sabily has. Never mind that the Sabily team is a Muslim community, developing software to meet needs exclusive to Muslims.

    That’s actually a challenge to send to the Catholic and Orthodox communities. We have a long history and rich tradition of some of the most beautiful artwork the world has ever seen.

  • sholditch

    Good article but the responders go it wrong. Content filters are not expensive or hard to set up and maintain. InternetSafety.com has Safe Eyes which is not only effective, it costs less than a dollar per week (about 14 cents per day).

MENU