virus-41366_640I got very sick on Monday. Without giving too much information, I quickly became very grateful for indoor plumbing! A microscopic virus got inside of me and my body knew just what to do: clean out the entire GI tract immediately!

Unfortunately, our brains have no such ability to expel pornography. Images “stick” and can last for a lifetime.

Dr. Jill C. Manning, author of What’s the Big Deal about Pornography, explains:

“Because pornography activates such strong emotions and reactions in the body, the brain remembers and recalls those types of images easier than other types of images it encounters… [pornography] ‘sticks’ because of (1) how the images are designed, (2) the sexual feelings and urges in our bodies that get triggered by pornography, and (3) how our brains work.”

But does that mean our kids are helpless? Absolutely not.

Dr. Manning has two pieces of powerful advice.

Father and son talking in living roomTalk to a trusted adult. Teach your child that talking to a trusted adult about what they’ve seen and how it made them feel is very helpful. Ask your child questions such as, did it scare you? Did it make you feel sick? Did it remind you of someone you know or something bad that’s happened to you? Dr. Manning assures us that “talking it out can help get the image out of your head and into a different zone, where it can be perceived and challenged differently.”

Even Dr. Manning practices this— if she is exposed to a pornography image she tells her husband. Processing the image in this way helps the brain to reject it.

Practice diverting your thoughts. Dr. Manning says that it’s critical to “guide your brain and thoughts toward something that is…intense and powerful, something strong enough for your brain to take hold of and pay attention to.” This skill requires practice and patience. It may take time to find the types of positive thoughts that are powerful enough to pull the brain’s focus away from the pornographic image.

“If you have a song, movie clip, activity, excerpt from a book, or photograph that evokes very strong emotions in you, this could be an excellent thing to turn to when you encounter an image or thought you wish to let go of.” (What’s the Big Deal about Pornography, p.91.)

“Forgetting” a pornographic image takes patience and continued effort. A person who’s been exposed to pornography and wants to “forget” those images, needs to, over time, weaken or starve neural pathways. How? By using their pre-frontal cortex or “thinking brain” to redirect their thoughts.

thinking asian girlI can’t stress enough that we must give our kids some strategies to cope with growing up in a pornified world before they get trapped by a very destructive addiction.

What have you taught your kids about dealing with pornography? Do they know you want them to come and talk to you if they see pornography? Please leave a comment and share your experiences.

Kristen Jenson
Kristen A. Jenson is the founder of Protect Young Minds and author of Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today's Young Kids. Kristen enjoys speaking, writing and anything else that will help empower kids to reject pornography. Kristen earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature (mostly because she had no idea what she wanted to be when she grew up), and a master’s degree in Organizational Communication. Kristen currently lives with her husband in Washington State, where she enjoys growing a vegetable garden, cooking those vegetables in new and delicious ways, and taking long walks with friends who tolerate her incessant talking about you know what. Above all else, her husband and three children are her greatest treasures.

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