It’s NOT what you think!
True. Lots of parents are scared to talk to their kids about the dangers of pornography. Some are worried that talking about it will just initiate curiosity. Others simply don’t know what to say.
But the #1 reason most parents stay silent isn’t fear: it’s false security. Most parents, deep down, think pornography exposure can’t or won’t happen to their child. Or, at least it won’t happen this year, this month, or this week.
Can you predict when exposure will happen?
The problem is that parents have absolutely no idea when it will happen. In today’s digital age, every time a child interacts with technology or with people who interact with technology – that child is at risk. And although parents can minimize the risk of exposure using filters, they cannot eliminate it. Why?
- No filtering system is foolproof; filters fail regularly.
- Parents cannot control devices they don’t own, and
- Pornography exposure can happen in ways that parents don’t suspect
Exposed at kindergarten
Let me tell you about a mom I know who happens to be a certified sex addiction therapist. As you can imagine, she had a fierce determination to protect her 6-year-old son from pornography. She invested in the best filtering systems available, she kept a close eye on his friendships, and she even invested thousands of dollars to send her son to a well-respected Christian private school. But one day, another kindergarten boy brought a phone from home. In less than a minute, he introduced her son to hardcore pornography.
When parents believe they have everything under control and convince themselves there is no need to talk to their child about the dangers of pornography, they are putting their child at risk. Pornography exposure often happens when kids are very young and it can happen fast!
When parents fail to warn their kids
Let me tell you what a child who has never heard of pornography could experience if exposed:
- Extreme shock. These kids have no idea what they are seeing. Some wonder whether their parents would even know what this is! Many kids see violent porn which is even more shocking and confusing.
- Fear. They sense what they are seeing is “bad” and are afraid they will get in trouble.
- Shame. While they sense it is bad, they want to see more. (This is a normal biological response.) Internally, they think they must be “bad” or something must be wrong with them.
- An inability to verbalize. Even if they want to tell someone what they saw, they don’t know the words to express it.
- Loneliness. Without knowing what to say or who to tell, they have no way to process the experience and it stays stuck inside them. They feel alone.
Of course, parents would never want their children to face pornography alone. But this is the risk of staying silent.
The benefits of early warning
Here’s the good news: there are amazing benefits to warning a child early! Kids who are warned
- Experience less shock. Kids think, “I’ve heard of this before. My parents told me about this!”
- Feel more trust. Their parents told them this would happen and it did! This leads them to believe their parents about other things, too. These kids see their parents care enough about them to prepare them for challenges they might face.
- Have more confidence. They know how to use their thinking brain and are able to look away from images that will harm them.They know they have don’t need to be ashamed of any of the ways pornography made them feel.
- Can safely report their experience. They know the word pornography and they know they won’t be in trouble when they tell their parents they saw it.
- Feel connected. They know what to say and who to tell. They don’t feel alone.
In other words, kids who have been warned about pornography are prepared to reject it when they see it!
How sure are you?
Parents- how certain are you that your child won’t see pornography this year? This month? This week? Does your child have a plan of what to do when they see it? If not, what are you waiting for?
It’s never too early or too late to talk to your kids! Protect Young Minds is here to help you!
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Need help talking to kids about pornography?
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