Kids are growing up in a confusing world. Sex is equated with violence in popular movies (think 50 Shades) and love seems completely divorced from sex. That’s why kids need intentional lessons about love to give them more power to resist viewing pornography.

The truth is this: Porn is enticing and kids are curious! They need clear reasons from their parents to look away from pornography. Valentine’s Day is a great time to teach kids that love leads to happiness, not porn.

It’s easy for kids to confuse love with the pornified images available almost everywhere. They may see mom and dad kissing or hugging (expressions of love), but they also see highly sexualized images of others doing similar things (expressions of, umm, lust). To help kids sort out this confusion, it’s helpful to teach children what love is and what love is not.

(Below see my list of five love lessons that counter five messages from porn. And don’t miss the free bonus that will make your whole family smile: 23 Questions to Inspire Fun Family Conversations)

What Love is Not

Our friends at Fight the New Drug (FTND) say it in just three words: Porn Kills Love™. Porn won’t get you what you really want, which is connection, intimacy and love. In fact, pornography use can destroy all of that.

FTND makes these comparisons between porn and love:

Porn Love
Fake Real
Selfish Selfless
Degrading Uplifting
Ugly Beautiful
Demanding Giving

Porn Exploits People as Objects

Part of the reason pornography kills love is because it teaches viewers to objectify other human beings. In her book What’s the Big Deal about Pornography? A Guide for the Internet Generation, Dr. Jill Manning describes this anti-love process:

“Pornography encourages people to be less sensitive and respectful toward others because it treats people like objects who simply exist to satisfy another person’s sexual urges or desires.”

She concludes that:

“When humans begin to objectify other humans, we lose part of our humanity and diminish our divine ability to love and care for others.”

Teaching kids what love is and what it is not will help them recognize that porn is not about love. It’s about exploitation and using others for selfish reasons.

Coming Soon! Good Pictures Bad Pictures Jr: A Simple Plan to Protect Young Minds is almost ready. CLICK HERE to learn how to protect kids ages 3-6 from the dangers of pornography.

5 lies about porn, 5 truths about love

To help immunize kids against pornography, it’s helpful to examine five lies from pornography and five truths about love. Knowing the difference will help them reject the violent and abusive pornography which is so easily available on the internet today.

Porn’s lie #1: When you focus solely on your own pleasure, you’ll be happy.

  • Love’s true lesson: When you treat others with love, you feel happy. It’s true! Helping someone else is the quickest way to fill our own happiness bucket! Helping someone feel loved is a special power we all have. I love this video of a 12-year old boy at a Red Sox game who gave a foul ball he caught to a little girl seated behind him. We all have the power to make others happy! And that is a big part of learning to love.

Porn’s lie #2: Watching people being hurt in a sexual situation can be exciting! In fact, these people (women, usually) enjoy being hurt!

  • Love’s true lesson: You try not to hurt the people you love. Pornography is filled with violence, especially towards women. Porn stars act as though they enjoy being treated with disrespect or even physically tortured, but this is a lie. No one likes to be hurt. Love means showing people kindness and not hurting them.

Porn’s lie #3: Don’t waste your time empathizing with others’ feelings—just get what you need and move on!

  • Love’s true lesson: When you love someone, you care about their feelings. Everyone has feelings inside–that’s an important part of being human.

“Watching pornography can lead you to believe that people are objects to use instead of real human beings with feelings. We know that everyone has feelings and wants to be treated with kindness, so that’s one more way pornography lies to people who look at it.” (Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids, p. 24-25)

Porn’s lie #4: Actors in porn are consenting adults so it’s okay to watch them…no worries! They’re getting paid so whatever happens is fair.

  • Love’s true lesson: You should treat those you love with fairness. Kids have an acute sense of fairness. When something isn’t “fair” they hate it! Watching pornography is like voting for it. Is it fair to watch others being treated in violent and disrespectful ways merely for the pleasure of others? No it isn’t.
  • Once your kids are older, you can teach them about sex trafficking and how it’s tied to pornography.

Porn’s lie #5: Your only value is in how your body looks, how “hot” you are.

  • Love’s true lesson: We love people for who they are on the inside, not for how they look on the outside. Girls especially, but boys too, are getting the message from popular media that their worth depends on outer beauty. It’s a great marketing scheme because it keeps consumers buying products and services promising to make them look younger, thinner, hotter, whatever.
  • Social media also promotes this lie that appearance determines worth:

“For many girls, the pressure to be considered ‘hot’ is felt on a nearly continual basis online. The sites with which they most commonly interact encourage them to post images of themselves, and employ the ‘liking’ feature, with which users can judge their appearance and, in effect, rate them.” (American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers, p. 13)

  • So catch yourself when you notice someone’s looks and start pointing out people’s inner beauty and qualities as well. Do it for your kids, too!

Teaching kids the truth about love and the lies of pornography will help them reject harmful media. In fact, learning to recognize the value of true love is an important part of building a child’s internal filter.

Free Bonus: 23 Questions to Inspire Fun Family Conversations

What else can you do to build a child’s internal filter? Find times (like during dinner or on a road trip) to practice asking each other questions. Kids love it when parents ask them questions! When you listen to your kid, you are showing them your love. And you are creating safety in your relationship because your kids are learning that you are willing to hear what’s on their mind. We’ve made this activity simple for you. Click on the image below and get 23 questions that your whole family will have fun answering:

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.


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