One of the first gut-reactions to finding out about your husband’s pornography and/or sexual addiction is to focus on internet filters. However, too much reliance on filters can lead you feeling frustrated and disappointed when pornography slips through the cracks. Installing internet filters are an important step towards safety in the home, but no number of filters will stop an addict who chooses to seek it out. Filters, though a helpful tool, are not the final answer to solve this “problem.”

Boundaries To Ensure Internet Safety

Though you cannot control another’s resolve to seek out pornography, you can control how you will respond to this breach in your home’s and family’s safety. Healthy families make and hold boundaries. Rather than controlling access to porn with an internet filter, you’ll have more peace and better success as you teach your family how to respond when they see pornography and what the family boundaries are regarding pornography in the home and on their phones.

Online filters only go so far because pornography is available everywhere. The second your child or husband has access to a smartphone, you have no control over what they view. Blocking pornography at the DNS or router level may work well at home, but tech-savvy sex addicts will find their way around it. Children are also able to get around blocked websites on their phones through apps and a multitude of other ways.

Protecting Your Family Online – Internet Safety

As a parent, you do have the right to limit your child’s internet access. Limiting access to apps is one step you can take for the safety of your children. Here are some ways to protect your children through online filters. 

1.  Limit access by turning on Google Safe Search.
2. Limit access by filtering from the router level.
3. Disable your child’s ability to download new apps.
4. Watch out for Instagram, Snapchat and other dangerous apps.
5. Follow Protect Young Minds and Educate and Empower Kids.
6. Set parental locks on TVs, gaming devices and other internet portals.

There are many, many other ways to protect your children online. Internet safety could literally become a full time job. But above all, talking consistently and openly with your children about the dangers of pornography is the best defense. The safe conversations you have with your children are the best filters.

Learning How To Check Cookies Will Not Solve Your Problems

In my experience, being in recovery myself is THE BEST WAY to protect my family from pornography. SAL 12 Step has taught me to have conscience contact with God everyday, to put God in my center, and to surrender my concerns to Him. God can then direct me to know exactly how to protect my children according to their unique needs and circumstances.

Boundaries In The Context Of Blocked Porn

Since there is no way to block all porn from your husband or children, perhaps it’s time for a shift in how we think about protecting our children online.

Most people immediately turn to finding a way to block porn. But installing an internet filter will not keep your child from being a sex addict. Similarly, it won’t keep your husband from practicing his addiction.

Shame – the pain of feeling flawed – is at the heart of compulsive behaviors. So the best way to protect your children is to raise them in an emotionally healthy home. Going to a 12 Step yourself and getting qualified therapy are the best ways to create a healthy, home environment for your child.

You may think that you are emotionally healthy, but what criteria are you using to measure yourself and your home against?

If your husband has a problem with pornography and you are not in recovery, your children are not safe. Your husband will exhibit emotionally dangerous behaviors that will put your kids at risk for pornography use:

1.  Shame – your husband’s anger, irritability, emotional distance will leave your children feeling unloved, unwanted and confused – ripe for compulsive behaviors and addiction.
2. Secrets – your children will grow up in a home where some topics aren’t discussed or if they are brought up, someone gets mad or someone leaves – these unhealthy behaviors put them at risk for addiction.
3. Co-dependency – if anyone in your family suggests to your child that he/she is in anyway responsible for their father’s anger (don’t make Dad mad! or other unhealthy behaviors), it can teach them that they are responsible for the emotions or behavior of others. This is not true. Teaching kids that they can somehow control other people’s emotions is damaging.

But What About My Husband? How Do I Check Cookies on His Phone?

The simple answer is: you can’t.

And you don’t want to.

Many women set a boundary and say to their husband: “No porn allowed in the home. If you use pornography, you must leave the house.” I set this boundary myself. But when it came to enforcing it, I didn’t have the strength to actually follow through. I’m so grateful that the police did that for me when they arrested my husband for domestic violence.

The problem with that boundary is that checking up to make sure your husband isn’t looking at porn or flirting with other women is the exact opposite of healthy. If you want to be healthy, consider setting boundaries around his behavior rather than his porn use.

Here are some boundaries to consider:

1.  If my husband is angry, irritable or isolates, I will separate myself and my children from him until he regains my trust.
2. If we are in the car when this happens, I will sit in the back seat.
3. I will not have sex with my husband unless I feel completely emotionally safe and emotionally connected with him. I will not initiate or agree to sex as a way to get him in a better mood, keep him from being angry or to get him to notice me.

The reason you want to learn how to check cookies in order to find out who he’s been talking to or what he’s been watching is because you want to feel safe. But catching him cheating or viewing porn won’t actually keep you safe. Only boundaries will. I learned that the hard way. 

If your husband has cheated on you, or if you’ve experienced your husband’s emotional infidelity in it’s many forms, the best way, the only way to keep yourself safe is to be in recovery yourself. For me, when I wasn’t in recovery, I wasn’t strong enough to set boundaries, my connection with God wasn’t coherent enough to understand or do His will. In short, I wasn’t in a place where I could actually protect myself and my children.

Now I am.

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