Chapter 7, “Parental Controls and Media Literacy,” begins to get into the tools that you can use to help yourself and your family build up your virtue and self control. Humans are creatures of habit. Every time we make a decision and act upon it, we reinforce that behavior in ourselves. If we continue to act in a certain way, then it can eventually become a habit, and, if we continue, it will become part of our character. The problem is, it’s easy to form bad habits and hard to form good ones, and it’s easy to break good habits and hard to break bad ones, so we need all the help we can get.
The goal is to have the ability to regulate ourselves and control our own impulses, so that we control our desires instead of letting them control us. However, we know that it’s hard even for adults to do sometimes. There are all kinds of ways that can help with this, and each family has to decide what measures are best for them. When you go on a diet, the best way to control your cravings is to not keep junk food in the house. The same is true of pornography. You can keep the computers in public areas, not allow people to use their smart phones and tablets in their rooms, use parental controls, filters, and monitors, and set a good example yourself.
Teenagers hate to be told that something is adults only, especially when it doesn’t sense to them. When it comes to sexual content, if it’s not fit for being watched by children, then it’s probably not fit to be watched by adults either. The best way you can help your children develop virtue and self control is to set a good example.Treat the opposite sex with respect, especially your wife or husband, don’t tell crude jokes, don’t watch tv shows that amount to soft core pornography, and don’t listen to music that glorifies sexual sins. Your children will pay more attention to your actions than to your words. Seeing you try to live a virtuous life will encourage them to try as well.
Fr. Bryan was pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes from July 3, 2017 to June 2022.