Tech In Ministry: Accountability (aka: The Porn Talk)

Tech in Ministry is a series about putting digital tools to use in the Church. 

The Problem

According to statistics from CovenantEyes.com, one out of two boys under the age of 13 have been exposed to pornography; 30% of 17-year-olds admit to having watched pornography “too often to count”; 62% of girls says that they have been exposed to pornography before the age of 17. If pornography were the flu, these numbers would be considered epidemic level.

If you work with teens, these numbers are probably not surprising. You’ve probably read them before. I’m also fairly confident that you know teens who have struggled with pornography. Statistically speaking, there’s a good chance that you, or one of the people who works with you in your ministry struggle with an addiction to porn.

In fact, ministers are some of the most likely people in a congregation to struggle with an addiction to pornography. I’ve seen numbers quoted that are higher than 50%.

I will be completely honest right now and say that I too have struggled with pornography in my life. I’m very open with this fact, because I believe that by being open I’m more likely to have others confide in me. If my honesty can help open the discussion, all the better.

Why Does It Matter?

Jesus said not to. For a Christian, that should be sufficient. Of course, maybe you’re reading this and aren’t a Christian, so lets talk about something else. Lets set aside Jesus words in Matthew 5 about “look(ing) at a woman lustfully”, and lets talk about the problem of human trafficking and abuse. While many people would argue that porn is victimless (“They’re getting paid to do something that feels good.”), many overlook the fact that porn addiction has been linked to a higher likelihood of pursuing sex with a prostitute. Likewise, involvement in pornography is often a stepping stone to “escorting” for many women. If you would like more information on why the discussion on pornography matters, feel free to browse a few articles. If you think those sites have agendas to push, take a look at the FBI’s statistics.

Tools

Screen Shot 2014-02-06 at 2.46.44 PM

x3watch’s free features are check marked. The subscription version includes all of the other features.

Lets begin with a group that is ministering to both addicts and those involved in the porn industry: x3church. These guys are serious about getting you to stop watching porn, and about brining those who are caught in the world of pornography into relationship with Jesus. Their software, x3watch comes in two varieties with the features of each outlined in the picture to the right.

When you sign up for x3watch, it will ask you to specify two individuals to have an accountability report sent to. This report will contain a breakdown of all the websites you’ve visited since the previous report. It also uses a “blacklist” method that prevents a device from visiting known pornographic websites. The team behind the desktop version has also developed apps for Android and iOS that, when installed, contribute to the same report as your computer. On iOS this requires disabling Safari, and it doesn’t work on the browser that is often built into third party apps like Twitter, Facebook, an many others. Either way, some amount of accountability is better than none.

I would recommend x3watch for anyone who is looking for software to help keep them accountable. It’s easy to use, employs outside help, and covers a range of platforms.

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 2.51.14 PM

K9 Web Protection works across a range of platforms, and offers accountability and filtering for a number of types of content.

Alternatively, there is K9 Web Protection. K9 is a free software for people looking to completely block entire types of content. Once installed, it acts as a filter for pornographic, violent, gambling, and other content. These categories are set at the time of installation, and can be overridden with a password. This is a great option for Parents, or those who have a computer that they make available to others, and is also available on iPhone and Android.

Additional options that I won’t spend too much time outlining are Safe Eyes and Covenant Eyes. I don’t have personal experience with either of these packages, but they have been spoken of highly by friends.

Conclusion

Maybe you don’t struggle with pornography. I pray for your sake that you don’t, but maybe you know someone who does. As a minister, it pays to be equipped with a bag of tools that you can refer people to. Even still, the most important aspect of any plan to combat an addiction to pornography is accountability. Having someone on your side changes the battle in a meaningful way.

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