- Think carefully about what you watch and read. Often the images and messages, even in the mainstream media, can be sexually provocative and make us want to look for more explicit material.
- Turn on ‘safe search’ so that most inappropriate content will be filtered out. For more protection, use a blocker app. This kind of software allows you to choose what kind of material you want to filter, block specific sites and select times (e.g. late in the evening) when access to the internet is blocked. It’s even possible to choose an ‘accountability partner’ who can monitor what you’re using and help to encourage you. Examples of free blockers include Safe Surfer, BlockerX and FamiSafe.
- Consider not using the internet when you are alone. Nowadays the internet can feel like it’s everywhere (computers, phones, tablets and even TVs) – but temptation is lessened when we are accountable to others. Simply being in a room with family or friends while browsing the internet is very different from browsing alone.
- Be careful about what others show you. Many who are addicted to pornography say it started when they were shown or sent pornographic material by a friend on their computer or phone.
Ask for help.
If pornography is a problem for you, if you have seen things you wish you had not seen or if you feel pornography has got some hold over you, do not keep it to yourself. Ask for help. It may feel daunting to admit to your parents, but they love you and want the best for you – they might be the best people to help you. You could also confide in a teacher or someone who you respect at your church. If you are nervous, talk to one of your friends first; they could then go with you for support when you discuss your problems with an adult.
There are also websites which aim to help people who are struggling with using pornography. One example is Fortify (which offers a free plan for under-18s): visit www.joinfortify.com or download the app from your Appstore
Remember that God offers forgiveness and a new start.
People who watch pornography often know that what they are doing is wrong and describe feelings of confusion and guilt. The Bible teaches that nothing we have done is beyond God’s forgiveness, if we wholeheartedly want it and ask for it. We know that God is able and willing to forgive us all the things we have done wrong because He sent His Son Jesus to take the punishment that we deserve by dying on the cross. If you are truly sorry that you have been looking at things that are wrong, you can ask God and He will forgive you, help you to start again and strengthen you to change your ways. If you do this, it will be important to read your Bible, pray and meet regularly with your church family; this will help protect you against further temptation.