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4 Benefits of Having the Family Computer in a Central Location

Keeping the family computer in a central location in your home makes a lot of sense, especially in your fight to keep your home porn-free. It's especially helpful if you have kids/teenagers, though it can certainly benefit adults who are trying to stay porn free.

Having a family computer, in a public part of the home (living room, kitchen nook, etc.) is always a good idea.

Here are four benefits to centralizing the location of your family computer.

Read more: Best porn blocking apps

Spousal Accountability

One of the reasons we want to be free from pornography is for the benefit of our marriage.  A simple way to help with this is to set up your family computer in a central, high-traffic area in your home.  This allows your spouse to easily see what you’re viewing and to engage with you while you’re on the computer.  The most recommended areas are family rooms or large areas adjacent to the kitchen, as these are hubs for family activity and don’t lend themselves to privacy and secrecy.  In your fight to be free from porn, accountability is huge. This tip will help.

Openings for Communication

As I touched on above, placing the family computer in a centralized location helps to prevent secrecy.  Not only does this increase spousal accountability, but it increases and improves communication in the family.  A centralized family computer forces a family to talk more and to work dependently with each other.  Increased and open family communication is always a good thing.  Which is tied to the next benefit…

Your Kids and the Internet

Statistics show that the vast majority of children in the United States have already viewed pornographic material by the age of 11.  This is staggering and sad.

We want to protect our children from the devastating effects of porn, so placing the family computer in a central location is vital.   For the same reason that it helps with spousal accountability it also helps to keep our kids off of porn.  When the computer is easily accessible to anyone in the family, parents are better able to keep track of what their kids are viewing online.  

This increased ability to monitor your kids’ online viewing is important, but not sufficient.  We at The Shield Audit urge you to protect your kids further with accountability software, which you can read about here in a previous article: What is accountability software? Simple Explanation | Shield Audit (theshieldaudit.com).  Also check out this article on the cost of an excellent tool that can help:  How much does Covenant Eyes cost? (updated May, 2024) - The Shield Audit

Monitoring Communications

Centralizing the location of the family computer helps keep tabs on your kids and the internet.  But it also helps reduce the risk of your child receiving dangerous communications from strangers or even friends.  Having the computer in a spot that is highly visible helps you as a parent know who your child may be communicating with via Instant Messaging, Email,Social Media, etc.  The child is more likely to let you know about it, and you are more likely to view it happening if the computer is in a public location in your home and not being used in private.  Again, an open and public location for the family computer increases family communication and could prevent a dangerous situation where your child is contacted online by a friend or stranger with bad intentions.

Best Practices for Having a Family Computer

It should be a desktop and not a laptop

A laptop is easy to move, while a desktop sits in one spot. To avoid temptation to simply move the laptop to another location, even if it's just for convenience, I'd recommend the family computer be a desktop tower with a monitor and a wireless keyboard/mouse.

It should have accountability software installed

Even with a family computer, it's not always going to be monitored by a parent or a third party. You can further protect teens, kids, and even adults with accountability software that relies on the "buddy system" to provide reports of internet use, usually on a weekly basis. Covenant Eyes is the program I've used since I was in college, roughly 15 years ago. You can check out Covenant Eyes below.

Need help stopping? Here are the best porn blocking services for 2023.

Covenant Eyes Software and NordLayer DNS Filtering: Covenant Eyes provides accountability software that covers URLs and images, as well as blocking options, and lots of resources for helping you quit porn.

NordLayer allows you to implement network-wide filtering, and is a much more comprehensive blocking option, with added security measures and more extensive configuration options. It's effective for both homes and businesses.

It should be for all members of the family, including the parents

If anyone is struggling with pornography, even if they're an adult, they should probably only be using the family computer in a public place. Keep in mind that this shouldn't be viewed as something to be ashamed of, but rather a diligent effect to stave off an addiction.

The broad point is that a family computer should be the primary - if not the only - point of internet access for the entire family, not just the kids.

It should be protected by a VPN

VPN's do not mitigate porn use, and do not interfere with accountability software. They'll simply conceal your IP address and protect your information, location, and other sensitive data from outside entities like advertisers and spyware. I prefer it for protecting my kids online and just adding a layer of security over a computer that everybody is using.

I use ProtonVPN so I can recommend them from personal experience.

Conclusion

Parents, it’s a very good idea to take the family computer out of a bedroom or small office that is tucked away.  Bring it out into the open around the kitchen or family room and open up your family’s internet use to the accountability of the rest of the family.  Whether it’s between spouses or between parents and kids, increased accountability is one of the keys to ridding your home of porn.    

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  • Matthew Hall

    Matthew is a youth football coach, copywriter, and dad of four. He has also lead worship in the PCA for over a decade.

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