For over 10 years I have been fortunate to speak to parents across the country about how to protect their kids from Internet dangers. One handout parents receive as they walk into my seminars is an “Amnesty Agreement”. And it’s the first thing we talk about. Here’s basically what it says:
The undersigned hereby acknowledge that the information provided in the seminar may lead to a discovery that a child has used the Internet to view material that may be inappropriate or against our family values. We further understand that addictions, such as an addiction to pornography, can be very strong and not easily cured. In the event we discover that a child is using or has used the Internet for inappropriate purposes, we agree to treat them with Mercy, Understanding, Grace and Love. Specifically, any confrontation of the issue will be made in love and will not be judgmental or unforgiving. Further, upon such confrontation in love, we commit to helping the individual fight their battle in a God-honoring manner.
The “Amnesty Agreement” is an important tool to set the right tone. If your child is viewing porn you, the parent, are partly to blame. You pay for the Internet service and most likely the computer, tablet or smartphone they’re using to view the Internet. You are the one giving them access to porn. So if you haven’t put protections in place to help limit their access to objectionable content it’s partly on you. So you need to acknowledge that and forgive your child and yourself for what has happened. Whatever your child has done online in the past you give them “Amnesty” for it. After the seminar is over parents have the information they need to put the appropriate safe guards in place. So as a family you wipe the slate clean and start anew. Amnesty.
Once amnesty is in place your entire family can start working together to keep each other accountable and safe online.