Jeremy Carmon joins us this month to talk about how to protect our kids from the dangerous world of technology. Jeremy preaches for the Ashland Church of Christ and recently taught a lesson at our congregation on this topic. I asked him to be a guest on The Beaten Road podcast and give our listeners a recap of the advice he shared in his lesson. This is stuff every parent should understand.
Thanks for joining us, Jeremy!
You have great intentions, but you also have too much time on your hands. That’s when the temptation to look at porn loves to creep in. Today, instead of looking at pornography, keep yourself busy by choosing to engage in one (or all) of the suggestions below.
Exhaust yourself. Hike, bike, go paintballing or rock climbing, conquer the world… Do anything that gets you away from screens and uses up your adrenaline. Pent up energy is a set up for temptation.
Connecting with real people in real life is a strong safeguard against porn. You aren’t likely to look at pornography while you’re at Taco Bell grabbing lunch with your kids or shooting hoops with the guys. Porn is all about virtual reality. One of the keys to quitting is to become deeply invested in face-to-face interactions with people in the real world.
Pornography is very self-serving. It turns you inward, concentrating only on your thoughts, your feelings, your desires, and your pleasures. Get out and consider others! Figure out what someone else needs and how you can fill that need. Sometimes finding an organization to volunteer with is a good idea, but I usually recommend something more personal. Something you have to work at more. Helping someone one-on-one takes time and emotional investment. It grows you and helps them more profoundly. Working in this way also helps with suggestion number two – you are building even more relationships.
Look at the things around you that you’ve not completed or even started on and actually get them knocked out. Get the lawn mower up and going for this spring, get your car’s oil changed, write the term paper you’ve been putting off, get a head start on the project you are supposed to be working on Monday. Whatever is on your unending to-do list, get it done. All the way marked off and accomplished! Get to it!
“…and you’ll grow, grow, grow” as the children’s song goes. As it turns out, it’s very true. Stopping your pornography use is going to grow you exponentially, but to stop in a productive way you are going to need God’s help. You don’t want to rid your life of pornography just to have it filled with seven other worse demons than you already faced (Luke 11:24-26). You need God’s help. You need to open the conversation by speaking to God through prayer and allowing Him to speak to you through His Word.
Whatever you do today, make it count.
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).
Stay on the beaten road, friends.
What should you do if you suspect your husband looks at pornography? Brittany shares a few thoughts in this month’s episode of The Beaten Road Podcast.
Without further ado (because this is how I blog)…
If you really want to quit looking at pornography here are a few things that helped me quit and have continued to help me stay quit:
A brother (our premarital counselor who has now passed to his reward) once pointed out to me that pornography is all about fantasy. I was running away from hard things in life to a fantasy world where I didn’t have to deal with it. He told me to stop running and simply “Turn and face it!”
This has become one of my personal mantras ever since. I’ve realized that, most of the time, I turned to pornography when I really needed to do something else, and if I would just turn to what I should be doing and tackle it, the temptation to mess with pornography was much more conquerable.
Before this mantra became part of my life, I would often try to distract myself from pornography by playing video games, hiking, etc. But then when I got back to trying to work I still had the same undesired project in front of me and regularly would fall into temptation at that point.
Recognize when you’re running from stress to pornography and instead turn and face the issue.
When I finally started letting people know where I honestly was right then, things started to get a whole lot easier! There were a few people I had told that I struggled with pornography, but I painted it in a way that made it sound like I was beating it and was just tempted by it once in a while. Once I actually was honest about how involved I really was right then and how recently I had spent how much time looking at pornography, I was much better equipped to stop. We get so caught up with not letting people know about this particular sin that it leads to so many OTHER sins. If we would just let people know, it would remove the “need” to cover up with more lies and deceit.
When I told Brittany about my pornography use we pretty well stopped watching movies. I stopped playing video games, didn’t use the internet for anything but email, and no longer had access to the internet on my phone. Brittany had to be in the room and able to see the screen for me to use internet, and even then I avoided it as much as possible.
I realize this doesn’t exactly work the same for many single guys, but finding a way to limit your use by getting internet out of your house and off your phone and only accessing it at one point (the library, a trusted friend’s house, etc.) might be a good place to start.
Don’t give me one of those lines about how you need it for this, or that, or your job, yada yada yada. Are you serious about saving your soul and getting out of pornography? Then ditch the phone, ditch the internet, ditch the TV, and stay out of the theater!
“And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” (Matthew 5:29-30)
Cut off the source of temptation!
Find someone you can contact whenever you are tempted to view pornography. Find someone with whom you are close but not equal; someone you can look up to and explain to them what you are fighting and how you need help. Be open about your addiction to pornography. Promise this person that if you ever look at it again you will tell them, and set consequences in place that they will help you follow through with.
It’s really hard to find someone like this because it needs to be someone with whom you are close but not too close, but also someone trustworthy and respectable. But you can find this person and they are worth finding!
When and if you choose to return to the modern digital age after a detox period, cover every device you use with accountability software. Not because you are a terrible person who can never be trusted again, but because you are a righteous person who understands he has weaknesses and needs to carefully guard against them. By this point you should know as well as anyone, you can’t always be trusted with some things.
Maybe you have stopped using before and fell again. Maybe you’ve already tried some of the practices I laid out above. Try again. You can still quit for the last time. I don’t know how many times I quit for varying amounts of time before I quit six years ago. But that was the last time I’m ever quitting because I’m not ever using again. You too can quit and never have to quit again!
Keep on the beaten road! If you have some methods you’ve used that work, please share them in the comments. We want to add as many resources for people as possible.
I had a topic in mind to write about this week, but after reading an article on porn and sexual abuse I decided to point you to that information instead.
It’s about porn and our kids.
Porn use greatly increases the likelihood of violent behavior – particularly sexual assault – and it often starts at a young age. To highlight this fact, Ted Bundy (an infamous serial killer of the ’70s) enlightened the world with a startling observation during his interview with Dr. James Dobson the evening before his execution. He said:
“I’m no social scientist… but I’ve lived in prison for a long time now, and I’ve met a lot of men who were motivated to commit violence. Without exception, every one of them was deeply involved in pornography – deeply consumed by the addiction. The F.B.I.’s own study on serial homicide shows that the most common interest among serial killers is pornographers….There is no way in the world that killing me is going to restore those beautiful children to their parents and correct the pain. But there are lots of other kids playing in streets around the country today who are going to be dead tomorrow, and the next day, because other young people are reading and seeing the kinds of things that are available in the media today.”
Young people are being influenced to commit atrocious acts due in part to what we allow them to be exposed to in the media today. Children are built to imitate that which they see. It shouldn’t be a surprise that a child who views porn often acts out what he or she sees. But what might surprise you is that one of the largest groups of sexual predators today are children themselves.
In her article “Sexual Assault Expert Warns of Heartbreaking Trend Among Children,” Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Heidi Olson warns:
“The biggest age range of perpetrators that I see in my hospital are children. In fact, for the third year in a row, our biggest age range of people committing sexual assaults are children ages 11-15 years old.”
We hear more and more about how sexual abuse is often perpetrated by trusted adults and how we need to be careful about who we leave our kids with. But our culture has a bigger problem than watching out for creepy adults. Porn is destroying our kids, who are then turning around and abusing other kids! And, because those who have been abused are more likely to abuse… the cycle will continue.
I get asked often why I talk so freely about pornography. We need to talk about pornography because it is literally EVERYWHERE, and it is taking people down darker roads than most can imagine. Our young people are seeing it. Not only are they seeing it, but they’re acting on it. It’s our job to prepare our kids for how to handle pornography when (not “if”) they see it, and how to speak out if someone – anyone, no matter the age or relationship – violates them.
Read the rest of Ms. Olson’s article and find tips on protecting your kids HERE
 “Fatal Addiction: Ted Bundy’s Final Interview.” Focus on the Family. www.focusonthefamily.com/media/social-issues/fatal-adiction-ted-bundys-final-interview (accessed September 25, 2018).
Does your wife really need to know about your battle with porn?
[Spoiler: YES! Here are a few tips on making the confession]
“If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:6-7).
If you’re quitting porn and you’re smart, one of the first things you’ll do is get rid of internet access through your phone. While there are filters, restrictions, and accountability software available to help control internet usage on your phone, that’s usually not enough for a recovering addict. Get smart. Get rid of the portal of access completely.
Unfortunately, that’s not so easy anymore. If you’ve decided to quit porn you may already realize that getting smart means getting rid of your Smartphone. In fact, you may have already paid a visit to your local Walmart to pick up an old-school flip phone only to be discouraged by the fact that nearly every phone out there these days INCLUDING flip phones comes equipped with WiFi. Even if you don’t pay for data on these cheapo phones, you can still access a good bit of filth through the WiFi capability.
So, what are your options?
Below are the 6 phones we found that are WiFi free. As long as you aren’t paying for data, these phones will not connect to the internet at all. Disclaimer: We did our best to research these thoroughly, but be sure to double-check before purchasing. Sometimes a model will be WiFi free when sold by one carrier but the same model will be outfitted with WiFi by another carrier. It also depends on if the phone is the U.S. version, or a version made for another country. For instance, the Samsung Galaxy J2 Pro was released without internet access in South Korea, but the U.S. version has WiFi. So, if you’re buying off Ebay or some such, be sure to confirm whether that specific device is WiFi free.
This is the phone I have. Pros: It’s a simple sliding phone with a Qwerty keyboard and zero internet access. It’s got talk, text, and your basic tools such as an alarm, calculator, and poor quality camera. You can buy it on Amazon for around $60.
Cons: It only works with Verizon and it is 2G, which means it will be useless by the end of the year. Verizon is phasing out both their 2G and 3G, so I don’t recommend this phone unless you just need something right now and can figure out a better option later.
Pros: The Jitterbug Flip is designed as a basic phone for seniors. Yep, you wanna be like the old people, ’cause they’re less likely to wanna look at porn. Talk and text, the Jitterbug Flip is available for about $80 from Amazon. Be sure you’re getting the Flip and not the Smart, which does have WiFi.
Cons: You can only use this phone on the Jitterbug plan using GreatCall, which operates on the Verizon network. Not a huge deal, but that may not be the carrier you want. Their unlimited talk and text plan looks like it’s around $50 a month.
Pros: The newer models are 3G, so it should last for at least a little while (though everyone is phasing out 3G in the next couple of years). On Amazon for $55, the Nokia 3310 is your basic phone with talk and text and a couple of tools. It’s exceptionally small, fitting easily into your pocket. The battery is notably long-lasting, which is nice. AND, it comes with the legendary Snake game, so you won’t even miss your Smartphone.
Cons: It only works with AT&T (though some claim it works with T-Mobile, the coverage is terrible). No Qwerty keyboard.
Pros: Basic 3G flip phone. Available on Amazon for $55.
Cons: Only works with AT&T. It’s a flip phone so there is obviously no Qwerty keyboard.
Pros: This 3G phone can be used with Twigby, Sprint, or Boost, so that gives you more options for network providers. Slides out for a Qwerty keyboard.
Cons: Much more expensive than most of the other options, the Kyocera Verve is on Amazon for $180.
Pros: This is a pretty slick looking phone. It is the ONLY non-WiFi option we found that is 4G. It’s being marketed as “the phone that actually respects you,” encouraging people to leave their Smartphones behind and spend more quality time with loved ones. While the original Light Phone made voice calls only, the Light Phone 2 has added an alarm clock and text messaging (with Qwerty). Will be supported by AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. I say “will be” because…
Cons: It’s not actually out yet. It’s being launched by an entrepreneurial team and funded by the crowdfunding campaign site Indiegogo. Right now you can pre-order and be one of the first to receive a Light Phone 2, with an estimated delivery date of April 2019.
The other downside is the price tag. The pre-order price is $300 (or two for $500). Once it is released, the price will be shoot up to $400 for one, or two for $800.
The selling point for the Light Phone 2 is that it’s 4G. So, while the price is extremely high compared to other basic phones without WiFi, it’s the only phone we could find that will function in the years to come due to the shutdown of the 2G/3G networks. With the likelihood of all the other WiFi free options being inoperable in the next year or two, it may be worth jumping in on the pre-order price. If you’re interested, you can pre-order your Light Phone 2 at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/light-phone-2#/
Have a non-WiFi phone that I didn’t cover? Tell us about it in the comments below!
Introducing our podcast series. This is our first time ever doing anything like this so… be patient with us. It’ll get better with time, we promise! haha
Welcome to The Beaten Road blog! I want to start this blog with some blunt truths because I want you to know from the beginning that this is a place to come for information that is real and usable. I’m not much of a frosting kind of guy, I tend to lay it out and let you sort through it for what you can use.
First, I understand (though I did not at first) that everyone is different. My experiences are not carbon copies of yours. My temptations, triggers, and lies were mine, not everyone else’s. That said, as I write you may feel I am accusing you of all my shortcomings and you may also fear your spouse will believe things of you that aren’t true because of what I’ve said is true of me. There will be many things that I dealt with that you never have, but I also believe you will run across things that, as I describe them, you may recognize for the first time in yourself. So, reader discretion is advised!
Second, my qualifications for speaking on this subject are only this. I am a Christian who has found freedom in Christ from the bondage of Satan. I spent 14 years addicted to pornography before finding the courage to quit for good. Through the help of my wife, counsel from others, research into the science of addiction, and circumstances that I can only attribute to God’s grace, I have been clean for nearly 6 years now. In all honesty, that’s not that long, and I recognize that fact. I am not writing as one who has it all together, or as one who no longer struggles with temptation. I am writing as one man who went from living for porn to finding satisfaction in Christ I never thought possible. I want to share some of the ways I finally broke my addiction, not because I have some proven formula that will work for every man, but because I know that it is possible to be free, and I want you to know that, too.
It is possible to be forgiven.
It is possible to never seek porn again.
It is possible to rebuild your marriage and for your wife to heal from the damage you have inflicted.
But it’s going to take blood, sweat, and tears.
It’s going to demand the blood of the Savior, the sweat of your conscience, and the tears of a humbled and contrite heart.
It’s not as simple as saying that you’re not going to look at porn anymore. Staying clean is going to take gut wrenching honesty, embarrassing moments, and safeguards that you probably currently think are plain stupid. It takes living a counter-cultural lifestyle and being willing to look like a fool in front of others.
In other words, it is going to take the death of your pride.
One of the biggest things that keeps people addicted pornography is PRIDE! “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look…” (Proverbs 6:16-17a). God hates our human pride. It is an abomination to Him. Why? Because it keeps us from Him!
It is fascinating that when I was looking at pornography, I was completely self-loathing. I tried so many times to stop and couldn’t. I hated myself for my continual weakness and the destruction I saw in my life because I COULD NOT STOP! Yet that whole time one of the things that held me in Satan’s grip was my pride! I couldn’t let people know the truth. I had told some about my pornography use but always in a past tense. Something I might still struggle with (if I was close enough to them to admit that) but still something past. Most people didn’t know I had any issue at all. My pride would not let me be honest.
Without honesty you will never leave pornography’s grasp.
Spend your nights in empty prayer, try every trick you can find online, install all kinds of restrictions and filters, but without being honest with yourself, God, your spouse, and everyone around you, you will never be free. Honesty only comes with a great big helping of humility. Brokenness. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise (Psalm 51:17).” Pride does not live in a broken and contrite heart. I was afraid what people would think. I was afraid people would treat me differently. I was fearful of hurting people who trusted me. I was fearful of doing more damage than I had already. But as long as I allowed fear and pride to dictate my actions, I was going to make things worse. I was not getting out of my sin. I was not living for Christ. I was living for self and my version of God. You must find the pride in your life, the impulse to self-protect, and replace it with a broken and contrite heart that is driven to live in righteousness before God.
Stay on the beaten road, friends.