Protect Your Kids from Porn

Protect Your Kids from Porn

We want to protect our kids from porn. When I was a little girl, I found a magazine in our yard with porn, and the photos upset me.  Today children can find porn much more easily when they are on the internet or phone.

Author Kristen Jensen was my guest this week. She has written several books for parents on protecting kids from porn

Check out this episode!

Cynthia: Years ago, I walked to school every day.  I lived a few blocks from my school. Because the school was so close there were kids that walked through my yard. One day, I was out in the backyard, and I found a magazine. When I opened it up there were pictures of women without clothes on. I thought, “what in the world is this?”  I took it to my mother, and she just threw it away. Probably some boys dropped it when they walked through the yard. But that was my only experience. I didn’t even know what porn was for years. Now it is so much easier to find because of the Internet, and we do not want our kids to get into that. Today I have Kristen Jensen with me. She has a ministry called Defending Young Minds, and she’s actually written a couple of books for kids: Good pictures, Bad Pictures.  She’s going to talk to us a little bit about how we can protect our kids from porn. Welcome Kristen.

Kristen:  Thank you so much, Cynthia, it’s great to be here with you.

Cynthia: Kristen, why did you start this ministry?

Kristen: It was a tragedy in a family that got me started. The mother was homeschooling her children because she just really wanted to protect them from the evils of the world. But the Internet was in her home. Come to find out her oldest son aged 17 was sexually molesting his younger brothers and sisters. Porn was a big part of it. So, I woke up the next morning after hearing this really sad and tragic story, I couldn’t get the thought out of my mind that I needed to find a resource for her, but I couldn’t find anything. The crazy idea popped in my head that I could write it myself. That was the beginning.

Cynthia: We want to protect our kids from porn. You talk about a screen smart child. What is that?

Kristen: A screen smart child is a child that isn’t going to be caught off guard. None of us do very well when we’re caught off guard. We want to prepare our children. Not scare them, not burden them but prepare them so they have a ready response, so they know what they’re facing.

Cynthia: Tell me how to prepare a child.

Kristen: They know why it’s harmful and know what to do. I say give kids three things. #1, a definition that is age appropriate. #2 a warning so they know why it’s harmful. #3 a plan so they know exactly what to do when they are confronted.

Cynthia: OK, you said a definition a warning and a plan. What would you say in terms of the definition for a very young child?

Kristen: This was probably the hardest part of the book because you don’t want to burden them with the ugliness of it. We want to just let kids know that if they see nudity that focuses on the private parts of the body that they come and tell us.  I say bad pictures or videos or cartoons of people with little or no clothing on that focus on the private parts of the body that we keep covered with a swimsuit.

Cynthia: What is that warning?

Kristen: We do that for our children. We warn them about a lot of dangers. Don’t touch the stove. It’s hot. Don’t run out into the street. There are cars. When we give kids screens, we need to do the same thing. Teach them and give them some good reasons to reject it. Certain pictures are harmful for a growing brain. In the older book we talk about addiction. Bad pictures can really change your brain and cause an addictive disease in the brain.

Cynthia: Is this as dangerous for a girl as it is for a boy?

Kristen: Absolutely. We have a myth in our culture that girls are not the least bit interested in sex. If they are, they’re bad girls. That’s not true. They’re biologically human. Girls often are even more vulnerable because we don’t worry about them.

Cynthia: Can you give an example?

Kristen: I heard of an 8-year-old girl. Her mom had the talk about the birds and the bees. Then she gave her an Internet enabled device. This girl figured it out very quickly and started searching for the term sex and found horrific pictures. She would come home every day and watch it until her parents found her. By then her personality had changed. She had become just very withdrawn, depressed. They had to put her in counseling. Girls get into it differently, sometimes through romance novels. It’s very damaging to them to their whole concept of sex.

Cynthia: Yes, the media has a poor concept on that topic. How do you teach them to forget bad images?

Kristen: It’s a cognitive skill that I think everyone should have. It’s just a way of redirecting their thoughts so when that memory pops up, they go to something that is powerful that they like to think about. Eventually what that does is it creates a new neural pathway away from that picture. It’s three or four steps.

Cynthia: I see kids using TV or even the screen to avoid being bored even if they’re not into porn and I don’t think that’s good. I think it’s much healthier to do something in the real world or learn something or read something rather than be on the screen.

Kristen: Yes, a lot of kids are doing that these days and so are adults. But adults should be responsible enough to not do it. The people that make the social media platforms have hired the best and brightest. They know how to hook you, and you can go down the rabbit hole of those reels.

Cynthia: We have just done a segment on internet predators. The longer kids are online, the more likely they will meet one.

Kristen: The more inappropriate material a child sees, the more vulnerable they become to traffickers because they’re sexualized. Traffickers can see it a mile away.

Cynthia: We need to be aware and prepared.

Kristen: Kids should not be taking screens into their bathroom or bedroom. If your child suddenly is taking very long showers, make sure they’re not taking a device in there and just turning on the shower. The big tech companies are not being responsible. They’re not putting kids first.

Cynthia: I want to thank you Kristen for what you’re doing. I’m so glad that someone is out there addressing this. You can find her at defendyoungminds.com

To learn more about internet safety, click here.

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Protect Your Kids from Internet Predators Part 2

Protect Your Kids from Internet Predators Part 2

A couple weeks ago, author John Girolamo spoke with us about dangers from online predators. Today, we have the second segment of that interview.


Check out this episode!

Cynthia: We’ve been talking about human trafficking two weeks ago, and we are coming back to finish the topic. We were talking about some of the things the predators do and some of the grooming that goes on. John tell us how parents can be pro-active.

John: Sure. I think the first thing that any parent is going to want to know is what applications are on their kids’ phones. Go into your iPhone or Android and figure out what’s been downloaded. Set up some parental control software programs such as bark and canopy. Those are very popular, and they’ll help you manage that. However, you’ve got to check those things. And you need to check them often. Also, a lot of these programs have a secret or hidden folders. For example, Snapchat is a very popular program, and it has a secret folder called ‘for my eyes only,’ so if you’re not aware of that as a parent you have no idea what’s in there. You may be checking their Snapchat story think it’s appropriate and probably it is, but who knows what’s in this folder. Who knows what picture somebody has sent your kid. It really takes a lot of diligence, and not only just checking things but having those conversations with the kid explaining what your values are. What’s OK. What’s not OK, What are the time limits. I always recommend the child give you his or her phone when they go to bed. Don’t let it take them into their room. It’s a great way for a kid to waste time and not get good sleeping patterns. Who knows what they’re doing? You may have a parental control software set at 10:00 PM so they cannot have Internet access. Well, if they’ve set that time zone to Hawaii time, and you’re in New York City, well it’s not 10:00 PM. They can get around those things and so you’re going to want to be aware some of those ways that teens circumvent things. There’s just no way around it, you must be diligent, and you have to check often. If you do it once at 13, you’re going to have to do it many times throughout their young adult life. When you’re coming up with some interesting information.

Cynthia: You’re talking about a phone which your child is taking it to school with them. How can you monitor a phone?

John: You’re talking about something that’s going to be with the kid, and that means that they may not be using the family computer, which is going to be a little bit harder to control. Then there may be other programs besides just playing social media.

Cynthia:  You’re talking about a bunch of programs like Snapchat. What are some of the other ones important to watch?

John: Programs like TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram are probably the most popular in that say 12- to 20-year-old age group. Just about every kid has that now. The problem with a lot of these programs is you have no idea what all these other people are doing. A lot of these kids like to have lots of followers, so they’ll get a friend request, and they’ll just say sure, why not. I saw an interview of a teenager who said that that she would rate Snapchat and TikTok as R. She was quoted as saying “gross nudity pics just show up on my phone.” Parents think if you use privacy settings, that it’s going to keep their child safe. I can guarantee you that stuff is going to show up on their phone that they have no intention, and it will be inappropriate. That’s the problem with some of these programs and if you do any kind of search on a program like Tik Tok, you can link right to porn sites right away. The tech companies are going to tell you they have safety measures etcetera. I’m here to tell you it doesn’t work because people put up and take down profiles in a matter of minutes. If someone like Tik Tock or Snapchat throws off somebody, they’ll just go and create a brand new profile for that app. These things can happen really fast. You need to be checking that. Honestly, it’s not just girls, it’s boys as well. One example that’s very common is a girl will make a friend request to a teenage boy. This will be a very attractive college age person, usually a fake profile. They will make a connection online, and the next thing you know this woman has sent your teenage boy an explicit picture probably from a porn site. Then she’ll pressure him into sending his own picture. I’ve sent it to you now, you show me. When he does that, he will be immediately extorted for money. I’ve talked to police officers about this. All of this happens within 24 hours, and so it can be very quick, and that’s a tactic that these predators use all the time. Of course, once the pictures are out there on the Internet, it really doesn’t go away. This person on the other side will threaten to send it to this person’s other friends and family members etcetera. They’re counting on that teenager’s shame, and they’re trying to extort money from them.

Cynthia: Oh, my goodness. Teach your kids not to befriend just anyone. Instead, be suspicious of anybody unless they know that person already and have talked to them in person.

John: Yeah, that’s really the recommendation. I mean obviously, there can be issues with people you know. There’s cyber bullying. Things happen in the middle school and high school level between classmates, but at least there it’s somebody you know in their peer group. Not some adult predator that maybe after them.

Cynthia: This is more complicated than I expected. If people can create a profile and then get out of it and get another profile really quickly, it’s going to be hard to catch them.

John: It’s very difficult for law enforcement because of the way that these profiles are so easy to put up and take down, and a lot of these predators have multiple profiles. There are really no controls in place to stop somebody from doing that. Organizations like Stay safe.org estimates their 750,000 predators online at any time. It’s almost a guarantee that some predator will approach your kid online at some point. If they are online from 12 to 18, that’s six years, and at some point some predators are going to try to contact them.

Cynthia: Do you advocate not giving your address, or not giving information at all online.

John: Yeah, absolutely. You definitely don’t want to give their address in your profile. I also recommend, especially for the younger ones, not use a real picture of yourself. Put a picture of a pet, or a sport, or whatever that you might be interested in as your profile picture. Have the privacy settings not only on the phone, but on the application itself. Because if you take a picture, that picture is typically embedded with GPS coordinates, so if somebody looks at that picture, they’re going to know exactly where you are. Check the privacy settings on both the overall phone and the application.

Cynthia:  Your phone gives information about the location. I had forgotten that.

John: Yeah, that’s pretty much embedded in smartphones. There are things called GPS spoofer programs which will trick the phone into saying where that child is. So, it’s typically you’ll see that in sort of the later teenager. They say they’re going over to their best friend’s house. They plug in the address, but really they’re at some party or something like that. That ties back into knowing when applications are downloaded on the phone, and you as the parent, should be the only one approving.

Cynthia: You also need to be able to understand the phones because I’m discovering I don’t even understand my phone, and I’m an adult.

John: There are things called dumb phones. There are a couple different products out there, and what they’ll do is they will have phone and some texting information. You give that phone to your kid. “I’m done with practice come pick me up etcetera,” but it doesn’t have Internet access. It doesn’t take or receive any kind of photos. That can limit some of the things going on. Let’s face it the kids are always one step ahead of the parents on technology. Kids are always looking to circumvent some kind of parental control, and the Internet is helping them. I give presentations about this subject, and I tell the parents get out your phone, go on to YouTube and type in what to do if you have strict parents. There’s thousands of videos put up by teenagers explaining to other teenagers how to circumvent their parents.

Cynthia: That’s scary.

John: Yeah, it’s frightening actually.

Cynthia:  I’m kind of glad my kids are grown.

John: I understand. In the old days if you wanted to be sneaky, you had to either be creative or ask your friends.  Now you just ask Siri or Alexa or YouTube.

Cynthia: If I have a problem on my computer, all I have to do is go to YouTube, and ask a question. I can find 10 answers. Is that how kids find information?

John: Imagine if they’re looking up how to get around parental control software or something like that. There’s information out there for kids to try to follow, and there’s all kinds of things that they can do. They can start the phone in safe mode and download apps that look like other apps. It’s a fake program. I mean there’s a calculator program out there that does real math, but it advertises itself as hiding your secrets in different folders. But yet it’s a real calculator program, so a parent thinks, “Oh, they’re doing their math homework.” Maybe, maybe not.

Cynthia: That gets into the whole issue of openness and honesty. Anytime something is secret that’s a little bit suspicious. I think we need to be teaching our kids character and openness so that they’re open with what they’re doing. Evil is going to hurt them. That’s a conversation you might want to have with your kids too.

John: absolutely.

Cynthia: I’m not a young woman, but at least once a week somebody comes on and says “Oh you’re so pretty. Can we have a conversation? Will you be my friend?” I’m thinking, yeah right. I’m an adult and they do it to me, so I know they must do it to young people.

John: Yeah, absolutely. They’re out there, and every parent wants to keep their kids safe. You’ve got to be involved you got to be diligent. You must have those conversations. You must explain values, explain the danger, and put some parameters on them. Kids are always going to try to push the envelope, and they may not even be looking for some problem. But there are cases out there where somebody was on a group chat, and there’s this thing called revenge where somebody will send a picture of themselves. They break up, and now they’ve sent that picture to 20 people on a group chat. That’s happened at the middle school level between different students and that’s happened more than once. Since it’s unfortunately a common occurrence. Your kid might not even ask for any pictures, but now suddenly, they’ve got it. If it’s middle school or early high school, it’s child porn that’s now on your kid’s phone. That’s a problem. Now they can manipulate pictures even if they took a picture of you, they can manipulate that, and it wouldn’t even be you. But they could send it out as if it was. There are all kinds of possibilities. They may try to use that to extort somebody. You might say “Hey, that’s not really me. I never did this,” but if they go and send it on your friend list, 1000 different people That’s a scary blackmail tactic.

Cynthia: And your reputation is ruined.

John: You’ll spend all your time trying to defend yourself, and that’s where cyber bullying comes in. That’s going to lead to teen depression, low self-esteem. That’s when you’re going to want to look for those behavioral changes in your kid. It could mean all kinds of stuff, but it could mean this type of situation too. If they suddenly become angry, defiant, or on the other side become withdrawn and never leave the room. They don’t want to talk. Something’s going on. It may not be computer related, but something’s going on. The parent needs to find out the source of that issue because it’s probably not going to resolve itself.

Cynthia: It’s important for us to have good relationships with them when they’re that age so that they will talk to us. That’s a tough time for them anyway, but it’s important to have good relationships. Is there anything else you can add before we close?

John: Yeah. I think the one thing that every parent needs to know is that teen sexting is on the rise where middle school and high school kids are sending pictures of themselves. That is a rising problem, and it’s not just stranger predator, but it’s also people that you know. There’s stats out there that say that by the time someone graduates high school 90% of the students have sent or received some kind of picture. So, it’s going to hit your child in some fashion. You need to have that conversation. Explain your values, why that’s inappropriate, for a variety of reasons. Explain it from a biblical perspective. I think that will go a long way and we haven’t even talked about pornography for guys because that’s another entire issue.

Cynthia: If kids get into porn, they can get addicted.

John:  It is addictive. Unfortunately, the stats are showing the average age is now about nine or ten years old, which is super young. That really works that person’s view of sexuality of marriage and relationships. That really feeds into the into the predator situation. That feeds into sexting. If someone’s viewing these types of explicit pictures on a regular basis, it can become addictive. They tend to be more violent, more degrading to women. That normalizes things for that viewer and so if they’ve started seeing this at 10 years old. At 15 it doesn’t seem odd that they’re asking their girlfriend for pictures. That’s a big problem when it’s normalized.

Cynthia: That distorts that sense of what a relationship should look like.

John: It certainly isn’t a Christ centered view of how human sexuality should look like. The girl or the body becomes objectified to get pleasure.

Cynthia: It has nothing to do with the relationship between two people which is much deeper than just the sex.

John: Absolutely. It’s more focused on just the physical body, pleasure in the moment, that type of thing. There’s nothing there about love, marriage, commitment etcetera, which is what parents should be instilling in their children. The big tech companies are not looking out for you.

Thank you, John, for informing us about this problem. You can find John at itisnotabout.com. His book is called It’s Not About the Predator.

Independence Day: Two Revolutionary War Patriots

Independence Day: Two Revolutionary War Patriots

We’ve just celebrated the birth of our nation on July 4 when Continental Congress signed the declaration of Independence 247 years ago.

Listen here

The men who signed risked their lives and fortunes and so did the patriots who fought for our freedom. Who were those men?

I thought I’d bring history to you by sharing with you about two of my patriot ancestors.

Donald McInnis was a shoemaker who came from Scotland. He owned no land. His wife’s name was Mary. We believed they had just arrived in Surrey County, Virginia when she gave birth to a son on the 15th of September 1742. They listed his name as Daniel McKinney, Jr, and it is believed at that time that he also changed his name to Daniel McKinney senior, although in certain records he still listed his name as Daniel McInnish. Mary gave birth to twins on October the 31st 1751. Mary and the twins both died. Daniel McKinney senior died a few days later, leaving Daniel and his sister, Sarah orphans. Daniel was nine at the time.

The court appointed Reverend Mr. William Willis guardian to Daniel and his sister, Sarah. Willis also kept the parish register of Albemarle Parish. On occasion Reverend Willis sent records of his spending to the court. By the time Daniel was 24, he appears in the parish register.

In 1765 Daniel McKinney, a carpenter, purchased 100 acres of land from Joseph Denton for 100 pounds. This was probably around the time he married Sarah Weathers. The Weathers family appeared in the parish register, so it’s possible the two grew up together. He and his wife gave birth to their first child, William on the 6th of May 1766. Daniel and his wife had ten children in all.

About a year after their fourth child was born, Daniel moved their family to Bute County in eastern North Carolina, possibly to be closer to Sarah’s family. Daniel purchased 100 acres of land from William Fish in 1777, which is now Franklin County. He paid 100 pounds. His name is listed as Donald McKinney. Researchers found several land grants to Daniel along the South Side of Crooked Creek.

People said no Tories lived in Bute. While in Bute County, Daniel signed up to fight the British. North Carolina archives list Daniel McKinney private. His name appears on a certified list of having served in the continental line signed by John Hines and Captain N.C. Line countersigned by Colonel Arichbald Lyte. He apparently was not in the army long enough to receive a pension because we found no records.

His eldest son William substituted for him at age 17.

Here is his application for pension:

I entered the service of United States under militia officer Lucas in my 17th year. I went from Franklin, County North Carolina to Wellington. I was put under Lieutenant F. pastors and Major Hogg from Halifax and marched on by Hillsborough to Salisbury then to general Green’s army on Ashley river 12 miles from Charleston. There I was put under major Blount and Colonel Lytle and captain Carter after a short time I was chose one of an artillery infantry company under Captain Rayford, Lieutenant pastors and I went with the ? of Colonel Washington and General Lee of Charleston S.C. and took possession of the town. The British had left the same morning, the fires of the guard were still burning from there we went to Saint James Island and sometime in June I left on account of sickness 11 days before soldiers were furloughed. I started home on the 7th day of August 1872 for almost 18 months and I got home on the 7th day of July 1783. My father cleared a class of 20 of their draft and sent me in his stead. I have no documentary proof. I hereby relinquish every claim to pension or annuity except the present and declare my name is not on the pension row of the agency of any state. Signed October 23 1832, William McKinney.

Once William returned home, he married on the 17th of August 1783.  He and his wife had eight children. The McKinney family were always on the rolls of a church, and William spoke of studying the Bible. Even though they had no formal education, they both signed their name clearly. William only used an x when he could no longer see. There are no records of the McKinney family owning slaves.

On March 1834 the war dept gave him 36.66 per year during his natural life payable semiannually of the 4th of March and the 4th of Sept every year.

Dogs in Battle?

Dogs in Battle?

In World War II, German tanks devastated the Russian countryside, and Russian technology couldn’t compete. Knowing that the underside of the tank was the most vulnerable, the military trained dogs to fight. When the dogs were hungry, the staff placed meat underneath tanks. The dogs associated a nice meal with the tank undercarriage. Trainers intended to attach bombs to dogs that would detonate when brushed by the tank.

However, battle conditions confused the dogs. Russian tanks sat still during their training, and the dogs balked at the constant movement and noise. Plus, the Russian tanks burned diesel, while Germans tanks used gasoline, which smelled different. Dogs ran toward the Russian tanks and blew them up. They also dashed into the Russian trenches with their bombs. Many of them got so flustered that they carried their explosives back to their trainers.
Just like the Russians, we face battle today, and we must use the right weapons if we expect to succeed.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 says, “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”

Welcoming July 2023 With Thankfulness of Heritage

Dear Abba Father, as we celebrate the birth of our great country, may we remember our wonderful heritage and praise you for the many men who gave their lives for freedom. In addition, may we continually bless Your Name for the freedom that comes from Your Word. We also beg for peace and grace in these troubled times. In the Name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

CLICK HERE for your monthly encouragement  so you can download the July 2023 Calendar Challenge.

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