by Kristen A. Jenson, MA

5 steps addiction proof kidsHas addiction affected your family? This month is National Recovery Month. But wouldn’t it be great to designate one month as National Prevention Month? A time to focus on helping kids grow up addiction-free?

I believe our only hope lies in prevention! When we know better, we can do better! It’s important for parents to understand that they can take steps now to help kids become resilient to addictions of all kinds. (See our 5 steps below.)

Addiction Recovery Centers for Kids

Unfortunately, addictions are becoming very pervasive. Kids are becoming addicted, not just to substances, but to all kinds of behaviors.

In China, the government has opened up special video game addiction recovery centers for teens. These kids are completely dysfunctional because gaming has taken over their lives and squashed their interest in anything else. (Some of these kids wear diapers so they won’t have to take bathroom breaks!)

When you realize that China has more gamers (368 million) than the US has citizens, you begin to understand the enormity of the problem.

And addiction is affecting younger and younger kids.

10 Year Olds Seeking Addiction Recovery Treatment

Craig Perra, who runs a treatment program for sexual and pornography addiction tells us that he gets regular calls from kids as young as ten years old who want help with their porn addiction. Ten. Years. Old.

So why aren’t we warning kids about addiction when they’re young? We should!

One of the best ways to recover from an addiction (as well as to avoid it in the first place) is to understand how our brains work and how they become addicted to a substance or a behavior.

This understanding is foundational. In fact, we regularly hear from therapists who use the explanation of addiction from our children’s book, Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids, to help adults understand and overcome their addiction.

It’s amazing how empowering a few basic concepts are.

Addiction-Proof Your Kids

So here’s my advice for parents seeking to help “addiction-proof” their young kids. Take it step by step, and empower your kids for life!

  1. Teach them what an addiction is.
  2. Teach them the process of addiction.
  3. Help them understand how addiction affects their two brains.
  4. Help them deal with their negative emotions in healthy, non-addictive ways.
  5. Teach them to value relationships over things or even activities.


KristenAuthor3SmallKristen A. Jenson holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and a master’s degree in Organizational Communication. A late night conversation with a distraught mother sparked her passion for empowering kids to reject pornography.

Her Amazon best-selling book, Good Pictures Bad Pictures; Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids, provides parents with a comfortable read-aloud story that teaches kids what pornography is, why it’s dangerous and the specific steps kids need to take to reject it.

Kristen currently lives with her husband in Washington State, where she enjoys growing a vegetable garden and taking long walks with her extremely cute Schnauzer-Poodle named Blackberry. Above all else, her husband and three children are her greatest treasures.

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, and a master’s degree in Organizational Communication. Kristen currently lives with her husband in Washington State, where she enjoys growing a vegetable garden, watching Masterpiece Theater, 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.