Joyful friendsSummer—the very word sounds like happiness to me. Relaxing days spent at the beach or hiking through shaded forests; neighborhood BBQ’s; picking berries and visiting local farms.

But there’s a dark underbelly to summertime. According to Google Analytics, porn searches skyrocket by 4700% when kids get out of school. Yikes!

Think of the hours and hours of unscheduled and often unsupervised time kids have in the summer. So what’s a parent to do? Here’s a 3-step plan that will help keep kids safe online during the summer:

Your 3-Step Plan for Summer Online Protection

1. Talk with your kids about the dangers of pornography.

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Don’t shame them, but explain that porn can be harmful to their brain and to their future relationships. It can also become an addiction, just like any other drug. In fact, there’s evidence that porn affects more parts of the brain than drugs like alcohol and cocaine; that’s why a porn or sexual addiction can be even harder to overcome.

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Reading Good Pictures Bad Pictures to kids is a comfortable way to educate and empower them with an action plan to resist the pull of pornography.

2. Make a list of your family’s technology and spend 15 minutes a day learning how to set parental controls or install filters to protect your kids from accidental exposure to Internet porn. Start by doing internet searches like “how to set parental controls on the iPad” or “how to set parental controls on the Xbox.” Commit to finding answers for each of your devices, one by one.mom with laptop

Check out these resources to help you: NetNanny, Covenant Eyes, Open DNS Home are just a few filtering/accountability options out there. I know you’re busy, but you can do this in small sessions of 15 minutes each day, researching these resources until you make a choice. (Remember, something is better than nothing!)

Then set a goal date for when you will have each and every device protected. “By June 25th, I have protected every Internet-enabled device (including game consoles and e-readers) in my home.”

3. Fill up your kids’ schedules with non-digital activities. A few minutes of planning can yield huge gains in summertime porn-proofing. Addicts in recovery understand how important scheduling their time is. I believe the same principle works for prevention.Happy boy with lifted hands

  • Look for local community programs and events (parades, day hikes, petting zoos, kid-friendly museums, geo-caching). Do an online search for “Family Summer Fun in [your city or town]” and you’ll find all kinds of activities. Or get together with other parents to plan “DIY summer camps.” Here’s an article from Power of Moms describing one family’s DIY summer activity calendar. Find tons of ideas on Pinterest for DIY Summer Camps.
  • Check out my Summer Fun for Kids Pinterest board, and then create simple ways to reward your kids for participating (like earning tokens for each activity that add up to a reward your kids would enjoy,such as a movie outing, pizza night, backyard camp out etc.).
  • I love this new idea called Play Unplugged! It’s an ingenious community-wide program to help kids put down their electronics and get out and playWatch a video about how it works and consider starting one in your area.

Every parent wants their kids to have fun during their summer vacation. I believe the more proactive parents are in educating, protecting, and engaging their kids in fun activities, the better porn-proofed they’ll be throughout their summer vacation. You CAN DO it!

Let us know your ideas for summer fun!

Please SHARE this post if you believe that every child deserves to have a fun-filled and porn-free summer vacation!

Kristen Jenson
Kristen A. Jenson is the founder of Protect Young Minds and author of Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today's Young Kids. Kristen enjoys speaking, writing and anything else that will help empower kids to reject pornography. Kristen earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, and a master’s degree in Organizational Communication. Kristen currently lives with her husband in Washington State, where she enjoys growing a vegetable garden, watching Masterpiece Theater, and taking long walks with friends who tolerate her incessant talking about you know what. Above all else, her husband and three children are her greatest treasures.
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