Tips for Talking to Kids about Pornography

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The Poison of Pornography is rampant, and we need to do our part to teach our children that pornography is poison, so below are my thoughts on talking to kids about pornography.

How to talk to your kids about pornography

Tips for Talking to Kids about Pornography

I’ve wanted to share my thoughts on talking to kids about pornography for a long time. {Not to be confused with pho-tography, they look similar!) With the recent discussions in the media about sexual harassment, I feel like this topic goes hand in hand. Pornography objectifies women (and men), and I believe that if we as a society view pornography as “ok” then it sends the same message that sexual harassment is “ok” or tolerable. Read how to talk to your kids about sexual harassment on this link.

I’ve hesitated talking about pornography not because it’s an awkward conversation for some (bring on the awkward!) but because I don’t feel eloquent in my thoughts about it, don’t have a ton of back up articles to link to, I really just have my own thoughts. At times, it occurred to me to do some major research, but that hasn’t happened, so the purging of my thoughts is what you’re going to get.

I feel fortunate that I haven’t had any direct impact of the poison of pornography in my life. It’s never been something that interested me (studies show that girls are susceptible to the problem as much as boys). I’m grateful that my husband realized in his youth that it’s poison and has steered clear of it. My children also seem to have caught the vision that it’s poison, maybe from my lectures? However, not being personally affected by it’s poison, hasn’t prevented me from making it a personal passion project of my own to arm my children with knowledge that it’s out there, and how to steer clear of it.  It is a HUGE problem in our society, just as dangerous as drugs.

My husband and I differ on how to approach this topic a bit, and I’ve been grateful for his feedback. My thoughts are to have it a regular part of our conversation. Ask if they saw it on a regular basis, keeping the topic open. Remind the kids of the dangers, etc. After all, our church leaders have warned about it often. His thinking is that the more we talk about it, the more they become curious, and may want to go searching. He says that by not hearing it talked about as a teen, young adult, not being a part of crude conversations, he was able to keep his thoughts pure, with no desire to seek after it.

But, times have changed.

The Poison of Pornography

It’s all around our kids, and with those little devices in their hands, no matter how many filters we have placed on them, we need to teach them to have their own personal internal filter. To have integrity, to know it’s out there, how to access it, and CHOOSE to stay away from it.

When my teenage boys were in middle school, I remember hearing that I should be asking them WHEN they saw pornography not IF they saw it. Even if they weren’t looking it up on their devices, likely boys in the locker room, or the lunch table were, and would show them.

I asked them that often, and they assured me that had never happened. Now, whether they are lying to me (not a history of that), completely oblivious, or it REALLY didn’t happen, I’ll never know, but I do feel like they get it. It’s poison. It’s unrealistic expectations, and often creates mis-trust in a relationship.

I told my boys once a few years ago, “If I can beg and plead with you, as your mother, and a woman in this world, STAY AWAY FROM PORNOGRAPHY, IT WILL RUIN YOU, AND YOUR MARRIAGE.” If for no other reason, I wanted them to know that it hurt ME, and hope that that was a sticking point. I had them look me in the eye and promise ME that they’d stay away from it.

We should add “say no to pornography” along with those say no to drug campaigns, because it is truly an addictive drug. The dopamine in ones brain craves it, and then when the basics aren’t enough, more and more is craved.

The expectations of a healthy physical intimacy are just null and void when pornography is prevalent in ones life.

How to Protect your Children Against Pornography

  • Conversation–I feel like this is the biggest and most important thing we can do. Talk about the poison of pornography with your kids. When they are young, introduce children’s books about the dangers of pornography. Have a family meeting and show this clip on how the brain works with pornography. Talk to your kids about if they’ve seen it, to tell you. There is often SHAME associated with it, and they just need to share and let it go if they do stumble across it intentionally or on accident.
  • Media Filters–I’ve seen this gone about in lots of different ways. Lots of blockers you can put on your home computers and phones. Most middle schoolers have smart phones now, and I’ve seen some moms take off the Google app so they can’t search the web. We have always had a the code to download new apps so we have to approve first. Some have data turned off at night time.
  • Computers/phones in family spaces–this has been another big one at home. Our kids bedrooms are upstairs and no phones or devices are allowed upstairs and recently in bathrooms. Basically, no media behind closed doors. It’s a safeguard that we decided on a long time ago, and I actually like it because even when we are all on different devices, we are in the same room and feels more connected!
  • Be careful what you bring into your home–I remember my husband telling me they had a JCPenney catalog in his home growing up, and there were pictures of women in bras and underwear that made him feel uneasy. Before he told me that, it’s something I wouldn’t have even THOUGHT about. I love my People magazine, but the dresses are scantily worn, and I don’t need my boys seeing that. Sometimes advertisements on the back are suggestive, and it really opened my eyes, seeing them through his.
  • Replace the thought–Though it’s all around us, and we will all inevitably come across it, we choose what to do after. We can teach our kids to replace the thought with something positive. A quote, scripture, uplifting song, and pray it away. I believe in those tools.

Conversation starters in talking to your kids about pornography

  1. Have kids at school shown you something inappropriate on their phones?
  2. Have you googled something for a school project and accidentally saw an inappropriate picture?
  3. Have you been curious what something meant, so you googled it?
  4. What words have you heard kids using at school that you aren’t sure what it means?
  5. How do you feel when you see {enter a TV show like Dancing with the Stars} people dressing in a certain way?
  6. Do you have any questions for me on how the body works?
  7. Do you know how babies are made? (my favorite kids book linked)

Keeping the conversation open, allowing them to purge their thoughts knowing they won’t be shamed is important.  As parents, we have to practice our STRAIGHT/NON SHOCKED face, so they will want to continue sharing with us, and make sure we are being empathetic and encouraging.

I do feel like we have helped to instill and foster an internal filter within our kids. They KNOW that pornography is poison, and I hope it’s something that will help them steer clear of it indefinitely.

Most importantly NO SHAMING! It will only make it worse if they’ve come across it and told you about it. They will need your love and support if it’s already become a concern.

Some additional articles you might like:

The poison of pornography

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