Maybe you've spent some money on some kind of internet filter or porn blocking software. Listen: you should not have to do that. Maybe you chose to get a dumb phone instead of a smart phone. That can work well, but I don't believe you should have to do that either. Especially in the world we're living in, there is a better way. There are FREE solutions. So today I‘m teaching you three steps to secure your digital devices FOR FREE without giving them up. Sounds good?
Personally, I have never used any kind of internet filter or porn blocking software. Why? Because they never worked for me.
I was fully sexually aroused by images that would never get blocked on social media. On Facebook and Instagram, I could find more than enough to suit my fancy without traditional porn. And even if I did get safety software, I would spend all my time trying to get around it. With my personality, I would view it as a game.
Here's the point: any system you set up is a system you can get around.
Any wall you put up is a wall you can climb over in the end. So unless you blindly destroy all of your digital engagement entirely (bad idea), porn is going to be a risk. Here’s the good news: there are ways to minimize that risk so you can have enough safety to feel confident.
I feel confident about this and my clients do too. I use my phone and computer every day, and I feel great about it because my technology is actually part of the solution, not part of the problem anymore. So first of all, we need to make a distinction: a little bit of foundation before we get into the details here.
There is a difference, my friends, between being careful with your technology and your devices and being wise.
Most internet filters and accountability software promote being careful. Like, “Don't cross that line. You can get close to the line but don't cross it.” And that's the way we usually think about these things. In contrast, being wise means asking not just “What do I avoid?” but “What am I pursuing?”
It’s kinda like hiking. If you're hiking, it’s wise to stay right in the middle of the trail and to focus on your goal. It’s unwise to walk on the edge of the trail, hoping you don't fall off. That’s no way to climb a mountain! You can be careful and still be in great danger…like when you try to be careful while scrolling social media on your phone in bed late at night. That is a losing battle, my friends.
If instead you focus on being wise, doing what you were made to do, staying safely far away from your sexual boundaries because you're in the center of the road and you have the summit in your sights, you will be set up for success.
So here are three boundaries for your devices that will make it so much easier to quit porn:
1. CHOOSE YOUR WHERE. Where should you use your digital devices? Only in wise places. If you have accustomed yourself to sexually acting out in your bedroom, you should not have your devices in your bedroom. That should be a boundary for you.
Don't bring it in the bedroom. If you've used porn in the bathroom, don't bring your devices into the bathroom. Why should you use your phone in the bathroom? There's no good reason (although it can be convenient to check emails on the toilet…not that I’ve ever done that! 😉).
Use your phone in the living room instead, where other people might be around. Use it in a place where you know you’ll do good things with it and you won’t be tempted to isolate, become passive, become idle…and in the end you Netflix and chill with yourself. Don't do that.
Find the right places for your devices. This is something I do with my clients right away. We set boundaries on locations and you know what? I have boundaries too. I don't use my phone in my room unless I'm setting my alarm for the next day, or sending a text message. I’m not going to browse the internet or cruise social media in my room. No way.
2. CHOOSE YOUR WHEN. When should you use your digital devices? At wise times. People like to say, “Nothing good ever happens after 11:00 PM when you're with your girlfriend.” Well, in the same way, not very much good happens at that time either on your devices. What’s the solution? Have a curfew for your phone. Every night, tuck it into bed. That’s what I do!
Basically, I have a little place where my phone goes down for the night and I tuck it in and I don't use it until the morning. That's how it works. I have boundaries not just on my places, but on my times. I never check personal emails in the morning because that's my work time and I never check emails after dinner because that's family time. Well, maybe sometimes I do! 😩
You need to have a schedule. You need to have a time when it's good to use your phone, when you use it for work, and when you can use it for play. Be intentional about that. The point is not necessarily to use your devices less. It's to become more aware of how you're using them when you're using them.
3. CHOOSE YOUR WHY. Why do you have a phone? Why do you have a laptop? Have you ever thought about this? I mean, what's your bigger purpose? Maybe you have multiple purposes. It’s really important to get clear on that question so that you have a filter to say, “Yes, this is a good use for it. This is a bad use.” The biggest danger with digital devices is drifting: when you don't have a purpose, when you don't have that bigger why.
Digital drifting leads to passivity, idleness, and isolation. And that is a perfect recipe for relapse. On the other hand, creating a “digital mission statement” can reinforce your recovery. Do you use your phone for work? For school? For reading the Bible? Truly wise people only use their phones for truly wise purposes.
Wise places, wise times, and wise purposes: This is the way to secure your devices for free. This is the secret to having peace of mind about how you're using them and how much you're using them, and let me tell you:
The rituals you've set up to sexually act out will be totally disrupted when you implement this change.
Try it out for a week. Try it out for a month, see what happens.
The point is not to use your phone less. It's to become aware of how your phone is affecting you. It’s to become aware of the bigger picture. It's not just about being careful and avoiding porn and certain sexual images.
It's about pursuing the purposes that God has given you. That is wisdom.
If you can master these three boundaries (the when, the where and the why), it will have a huge payoff. You should never have to buy security software. If software helps you, that’s great. But if you're like me, and all you want to do is figure out how you can get around it, then it's a losing battle. The winning battle is to get clear on your why and then to craft your when and your where accordingly.
If you’re ready take action, I have a worksheet for you. It will help you implement what you just learned. You’ll get clear on, “What are my boundaries? And what are my exceptions?” Because there have to be exceptions to these kinds of rules if they're actually gonna work for you.
So grab a pen, get out some paper, print out this worksheet, and get started!
Download your free smartphone safety worksheet here: