Pornography. It’s everywhere and it’s accessible. Even to our very young children. Your children have likely experienced some degree of pornography.
Remember, a child’s brain doesn’t process and rationalize information the same as an adult brain so yes, to a 7-year-old thinker, that Victoria Secret window or cosmetic counter banner is a form of pornography. We call it GP (gateway porn) at our house because those “soft” images dull the senses and act as a gateway for later exposure. Thank you, Kristen Jenson and PornProofKids for that suggestion!
It is such a part of our children’s world that I feel pretty darn confident saying that if you have a 10 year old who tells you they haven’t encountered some form of pornography, they’re embarrassed and aren’t being completely honest about it. It’s a hard conversation for a child to initiate. Even when the parent takes the lead, some kids talk more openly than others.
One of the trickiest elements about pornography is that it preys upon the innocent. And so many emotions are experienced after its viewing: surprise, embarrassment, hesitancy, curiosity, excitement, intrigue, shame and the pull to return. It’s tricky. It’s deceptive. It destroys families.
Maybe they won’t feel super excited to come tell us, but they need to know they aren’t in trouble, they aren’t bad, and that we can help. When we invest the time and heart to build solid relationships, we increase the odds of fighting this together.
Where do we start? A great resource I have relied on is Good Pictures, Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids by Kristen A. Jenson, MA and Gail A. Poyner, PhD. Whether you have no idea where to start or feel like you’ve got this covered, it is worth having. Why? Because it
· teaches about addiction and its impact on the brain, and
· lays out a 5 step “CAN DO Plan ™” that’s easy for kids to remember and follow.
Additionally, PornProofKids.com has a wealth of information about how to start that first conversation with your kids as well as a series of posts coaching parents on how to create a S.M.A.R.T. plan so that you can respond to their exposure to porn in a way that creates a safe environment.
I love getting their newsletters because it reminds my brain to check in and keep the conversations going. The days of a one-time sex talk are long gone!
It’s awful to hear that your child has been exposed to pornography. Each time, I feel sick to my stomach and feel worried, but I don’t want my kids figuring this out on their own. When we bring conversations about pornography into the open, we are arming our children and disarming the porn industry! Take time today to educate yourself so you can begin the conversation and join in the fight against pornography. You will be so glad you did.