Latter-day Saint Life

13 Ways Pornography Leaks into Your Home (and How to Stop It)


A few weeks ago, my wife and I took our two young kids to a neighborhood party. When we arrived, we scouted the food, grabbed something tasty, and made our way over to a couple of neighbors we recognized from the ward.

After talking for a while, somehow the conversation turned to our kids and the schools in our area. Since our son is getting ready to enter the public education system, we discussed local preschools, favorite teachers, and the general atmosphere at the elementary school.

And that's when it happened.

Our neighbor (and fellow ward-member) told us the story of how her young boy (he's only in the second grade) was exposed to pornography.

Pornography… in the second grade.

My entire world stopped.

I looked over at my son and daughter. Two of the most precious people in my life. My thoughts raced. How was I going to protect them? How could I keep them from being exposed to such disgusting filth at such a young age? How could I keep them innocent for as long as possible?

As I've had a few weeks to recover from the initial shock of the moment, I realize it's impossible to put my children in a bubble and protect them from everything bad in the world (even though I plan to try my hardest for as long as I can).

But I can make a plan to keep pornography out of my home.

As Sister Reeves reminded us in the April 2014 general conference:

"Pornography is more vile, evil, and graphic than ever before. As we counsel with our children, togetherwe can create a family plan with standards and boundaries, being proactive to protect our homes with filters on electronic devices."

In this article, you'll find 13 ways pornography may be leaking into your home without you even knowing it. We've also included a few recommendations on how to fix any leaks that may be causing spiritual damage to your family.

1. Mobile Devices

One of the most common culprits of bringing pornography into your home undetected is through mobile devices. While many families have web filters installed on their home computers, filtering software for tablets and phones is much less common.

How to fix the leak:

Instead of using web filters that are only installed on your family computer, try installing filters at the entry-point into your home. A quick google search will reward you with thousands of options for routers (filtering any and all internet devices in your home) and other similar options. If your family uses Apple devices, be sure to check out this article about how to set up parental controls on iPhones, iPads, and other Apple devices

2. YouTube Ads and Related Videos

Even though Google (the owner of YouTube) has announced they will no longer allow pornographic ads on their ad services, it's vague what they deem "pornographic." Much of the time, even the related videos in the sidebar on can get a little dicey.

How to fix the leak:

There are lots of options for removing related videos on YouTube. One widely accepted option (10 million+ users) is AdBlock Plus for Chrome which not only turns off related videos but also filters out ads and other content that may be questionable.

3. Shopping Catalogs

Believe it or not, direct mailers landing in your physical mailbox can be a common (if less obvious) way for family members to get access to pornography. Although the content in a shopping catalog may not be deemed "explicit," it can be a gateway to more hardcore pornography.

How to fix the leak:

One way is to make sure to get the mail and throw out any catalogs straight away. If that's not possible, try using an anti-spam service for your physical mailbox. There are a handful of services out there that will actually help you unsubscribe from physical mailing services. Most of these services are marketed under the premise of saving the environment, but they can be used to protect your family from pornography as well.

4. Previews & Deleted Scenes in Your DVD collection

Have you ever noticed that little disclaimer at the beginning of your DVDs? It reads something like this: "bonus features and deleted scenes, not rated."

That's right. Just because your teen is watching a movie rated PG or PG-13 by the MPAA doesn't mean the additional content found on the same disc isn't potentially R-rated or worse.

How to fix the leak:

Filtering DVD content has been a hard-to-reach goal for anti-pornography organizations for years. While some have made incredible strides in filtering and editing content on a DVD, they face a major challenge: the film industry holds the copyright to films which gives them the exclusive rights to alter their own movies.

So what should we do until Hollywood and filtering DVD players can find a middle ground? Try tossing out your bonus features discs (most people don't use them anyway) and teaching your children about the dangers of unrated bonus content.

5. Netflix, Hulu+, etc. accounts

We don't have cable anymore at my house. Which means we avoid a lot of filth on cable and satellite TV. But it also means that we have signed up for Netflix, Hulu+, and Amazon Prime which potentially bring a lot of filth back into our home. Plus the addition of technology like AppleTV, Google Chromecast, and Amazon FireTV (all of which allow you to stream content from the web right to your TV) make it all-too-easy to watch something you shouldn't.

How to fix the leak:

The first option is easy: unsubscribe to these services. If it's not available, then your family can't watch it (accidentally or on purpose). If you want to still use services like Netflix or Hulu+, look into their filters and kid-friendly channels. Hulu has parental controlsso does Netflix, Amazon, and Sling. Take the extra time to set up filters and controls to keep your family safe.

6. TV Commercials

Watching primetime television can be a risky proposition. Even when the content is family friendly, the advertisements that show up every 7-10 minutes can pose a threat of unintentional exposure to content you simply don't want in your home.

How to fix the leak:

Again, there are a couple of options. First, if it works for your family, avoid watch television. But another approach is to turn the TV off or change the channel during commercial breaks, or avoid watching shows on live TV. You could use a service like TiVo to pre-record shows and then skip commercials. Alternatively, you could watch shows online from subscription services that don't have commercials. If that works well for your family, check out tips 2 & 5 in this article!

7. Kids' friends and schoolmates

Now we get into difficult territory: friends. What do you do when one of your child's schoolmates exposes your son or daughter to pornography? You can't simply buy a friend filter. You can't just lock up your child (even if you want to sometimes) and keep them away from the world. 

How to fix the leak:

With the growing ease with which kids can share content with each other (think social media, texting, and other mobile apps mentioned in #12), there's a greater need than ever to teach your children correct principles and about standing up for what's right and having the courage to walk away from a bad situation (even when "walking away" means closing a browser window).

8. Mobile Game Ads

I'm not a big mobile gamer. But I've admittedly played my share of Angry Birds, 2048, Candy Crush and the like. I'm appalled by some of the ads that pop up on my game. In what world does an ad with a half-dressed woman (cartoon or otherwise) make sense on a game for kids? 

How to fix the leak:

Aside from ad-blockers (there are mobile versions of the software mentioned in tip #2), another great way to reduce the chance of seeing ads during games is to put your mobile phone in airplane mode. This cuts off access to the internet (which most ads need in order to load properly) and allows you (or your kids) to play games without inappropriate interruptions.

9. Music and Album Art

Pandora, Grooveshark, Spotify, and the never-ending list of music apps are a great way for you and your family to discover and enjoy new music. But what happens when discovering new music goes sour? Depending on your listening habits, you may eventually find yourself with inappropriate artwork or lyrics showing up on your screen without asking for it.

How to fix the leak:

Be vigilant when it comes to telling services like Pandora what you do and do not like in terms of music and lyrics. Adjust your user settings. Click the "thumbs down" button when inappropriate music comes on. These kinds of measures will reduce the risk of being exposed to the wrong kind of music.

10. Video games

Even video games that seem harmless may have dangerous or inappropriate content inside. Racing games are notorious for animations of scantily clad women. Some games may portray sexual activity. Regardless of the genre, it's important to be careful which games we allow in our homes.

How to fix the leak:

First, be smart about which games you let your children play. Use the ESRB rating system ("E for Everyone," "T for Teen," etc.), but be sure to use it wisely. Even a Teen rating on a game may not be suitable for teens in your home as they "May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language." Even the "E 10+" rating (ok for everyone older than 10) mentions there may be "minimal suggestive themes."

Additionally, sit down and play the games with your kids, or at least watch them play and make sure the game complies with your family standards.

11. Books

With all the talk of technology, mobile apps, YouTube videos, and online streaming, it can be easy for us to forget about one of the oldest culprits of leaking pornography into our homes: books.

Mostly, books are meant to be cherished. Reading should be encouraged. What parent wouldn't rather see their kid cuddled up on the couch with a quality book than playing games on their phone or gaming console? But now and again, books may contain material that's simply not appropriate for your family.

How to fix the leak:

Avoid and teach your family to avoid novels with questionable artwork on the cover. Take time to read reviews for books your children are interested in before buying the book or checking it out from the library. Teach your children what to do if they start reading something they feel uncomfortable with. Remember, just because there are no pictures doesn't mean something can't be pornographic in nature.

12. Apps like SnapChat, Gaggle, and more

A few weeks ago, we covered "7 Risky Apps All Parents Should Know About." The list of dangerous apps is always growing and changing and it's important to know what your family is using on their mobile devices, why, and how often.

How to fix the leak:

Encourage your kids to be open and honest with you about what apps they use on their phones or tablets. For some families, a "no secret password" policy works, where family members either forego the use of passwords on their devices or share their passwords with you, the parent.

From time to time, take an inventory of which apps your family members have downloaded, what they seem to spend the most time on, and what the purpose or content of the app entails. If necessary, use a service like OurPact which allows you to set time limits, block calls from strangers, and more.

13. The internet

The internet, in general, gives us access to a lot of data. While the internet can be a useful tool, we all know it has a dangerous side. With efficient search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, accessing pornography is easier than ever with the internet and accidentally seeing pornography is just as common.

How to fix the leak:

Help your kids learn the difference between good and bad. Help them understand why the bad things are detrimental to their spiritual and emotional health, and help them learn to independently make those decisions for themselves. If appropriate for your family, use a program like Router Limits Mini Easy Network Add-On. This program allows you to monitor screen time, browsing history, and websites in real time. It's easy to shut off devices with a single click or set different limits for different people and more.

A HUGE disclaimer

At the end of the day, there's no perfect way to protect our families completely from the growing pornographic content found on the internet and through all the channels listed in this article.

The most important thing you can do is to teach your family important values and gospel principles they can use to make smart decisions. As Sister Reeves taught in her April 2014 general conference address, "The greatest filter in the world, the only one that will ultimately work, is the personal internal filter that comes from a deep and abiding testimony of our Heavenly Father's love and our Savior's atoning sacrifice for each one of us."

I'm sad that my son will most likely (according to statistics) be exposed to pornography before he's even old enough to pass the Sacrament. At times, I'm angry that we live in a world where I have to fend off evil content and actively work to keep it out of my home.

I am, however, confident that as families (mine included) work hard to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ, love each other, and make their home a place where the Spirit of the Lord can dwell, our Heavenly Father will bless us and protect us from the evils of the world.

If we do our part, I am certain He will do His.

Additionally, the following resources may be able to help you protect your family from pornography:

Young children deserve to be armed early against internet dangers. Good Pictures Bad Pictures Jr. makes it easy for parents to protect their young kids ages 3 to 6. Using gentle, age-appropriate messages, children will learn to Turn, Run & Tell when they are accidentally exposed to inappropriate content.

It only takes a few taps on a mobile device for a curious young child to find an endless supply of deviant, hard-core, and addicting pornography—all for free. Unfortunately, many young kids are being exposed to pornography without the slightest clue that it can damage their developing minds.

Good Pictures Bad Pictures is a comfortable, read-aloud story about a mom and dad who teach their child what pornography is, why it’s dangerous, and how to reject it. Using easy-to-understand science and simple analogies, this ground-breaking book engages young kids to porn-proof their own brains.

*Additional resources connected to these books and helping children protect themselves against pornography can be found on*

Both heartbreaking and heartwarming, What Can I Do About Me? tells the life story of a headstrong mother of 7 children, Rhyll Croshaw, and her personal struggles due to the trauma of her husband’s pornography and sexual addiction. She tells of the choices she made, both mistakes and successes, along this journey, and comes out on the other end a stronger, healthier person with more joy and peace in her life than she could have ever imagined.

In Understanding Pornography and Sexual Addictionis designed to give leaders and parents the tools to help people who are addicted to pornography and/org sexual addition get the help they need to heal and overcome their addiction. Internet pornography is a stealth attack on our homes and families through invisibly transmitted electrons. Education about the addictive, destructive nature of this attack is paramount, and hence this manual. We must address prevention and recovery with the same tenacity the pornography industry has employed to invade our homes and our lives. Only then can we turn the tide and begin to win this war.

In What's the Big Deal About Pornography: A Guide for the Internet Generation, Dr. Manning speaks directly to the young people she calls the “internet generation.” She discusses such topics as: What is pornography? How does pornography affect people? Can pornography teach me things about sexuality that I need to know in the future? What do I do if I can't stop looking at pornography? What do I do if someone I know can't stop looking at pornography? And more.

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