Although the Christmas holidays may be over, parents’ duty to safeguard their children's Christmas presents with internet access is not. Many children may have received Christmas presents of computers, tablets and smartphones for Christmas. Parents, however, do need ensure that there are proper content filters with the digital devices so that their children are not inadvertently exposed to internet pornography.

An alarming statistic from is that nearly 80 percent of all children are exposed to internet pornography, with the average age being 11. Many of the exposures are accidental, with children lured to adult content by pop-up ads and misdirected searches and links. Also, 79 percent of online pornography exposures take place in the home.

According to Dr. Marysia Weber, an osteopathic family physician, “internet pornography addiction can develop even more easily than a drug or alcohol addiction because it engages the most sensitive sense we have, our eyes, and it’s readily available in unlimited quantities.”

Unfortunately, any effort by government to restrict minors’ access to pornography, including mine when I was a member of the Louisiana Legislature, has been quickly struck down by the courts as an unconstitutional restriction of freedom of speech.

Consequently, it’s up to parents to protect their children from pornographic content on the internet. Content filters are available, but require effort and attention and, in some cases, bootstrapping.

Some of the most popular parental control software include Qustodio, Norton Family Premier Review and Covenant Eyes. Covenant Eyes also sends an email to a designated responsible person in the event that access to an adult website is attempted.

Unfortunately, content filters do have their limitations. While the software will block the pornographic websites themselves or urls (the address on the world wide web), it may not block images and/or videos accessed from those sites. That is why the Windows filters need to be bootstrapped with restrictions to nearly all the search engines with the exception of Google.

The Apple devices (computers, iPads, iPhones) are actually equipped with their own parental control features, and pornographic content is easier to block than the Windows devices. Start with settings tab, then scroll down to the general menu and to restrictions, which can be set up with a four-digit code.

For a free, comprehensive "Parents’ Guide to Protect Your Children from Internet Pornography," go to

Tim Burns