When it comes to pornography, it’s not often that my jaw hits the floor anymore!

I’ve been writing and speaking about porn for 7 years now. I’ve listened to hundreds of personal stories and read more articles than I can count. I’ve journeyed the road of addiction with my husband, and I’m on the front lines protecting my kids. But when I think I’ve heard it all and we’ve scraped the bottom of the barrel as a society, I hear something that takes my breath away.

protect kids from pornography

This happened recently when I heard about Kanye West’s response to Jimmy Kimmel’s question about whether having two daughters impacted his view of women. His response? “Nah, I still look at Pornhub.”

Whaaat??

That a father could feel this way at the height of the #MeToo movement, when we are more aware of how things like pornography perpetuate a culture of sexual exploitation, is utterly outrageous.

I’ve racked my brain to figure out why his response disturbed me so much. Perhaps because he was so flippant? Because the word “Pornhub” was his first response when talking about raising daughters? Because my husband began raising two girls while he was in the throes of his own porn addiction?

It’s all of it, I concluded.

Kanye is 41 years old. He is the same generation as my husband and I — a generation where so many started using porn through magazines and VHS tapes, then developed sexual addictions under the influence of the internet.

Personally, I don’t want our children to ever think like Kanye, and I bet you don’t either. So what can we do?

We will not make progress as a society in truly valuing human dignity if we do not speak up about the harmful effects of pornography.

A catalyst for change in your community

Educating those around us about porn isn’t about casting judgment or shaming. This is about coming alongside each other with powerful information, encouragement, and wisdom. Knowledge is power, as we know!

Collectively, we can raise a generation that advocates for health—physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. That will require speaking up about the destructive nature of pornography (and hyper-sexualized culture) so that communities can work together.

It’s easier to raise healthy kids if the village is supporting you, rather than contradicting everything you are trying to teach at home.

Of course we care about all children just because they are children, but we also have a personal stake because ultimately, those children affect our children.

The truth is, our kids attend school with other people’s kids. They date other people’s kids. They are at the pool and the park with other people’s kids.

And in our children’s future, other people’s kids will be their coworkers, policy makers, health care providers, media creators, and neighbors.

Pornography affects kids – and the world they are creating

Let’s look at some stats we need to understand as a society so we can create change. Note, the facts we unpack here are not just about how pornography hurts children who view it. We need to see how the perpetuation of pornography puts an entire generation of children at risk for harm.

Porn hits the young.

Children under 10 account for 22% of the porn consumed by kids under the age of 18. It’s a gut-twisting statistic, isn’t it? Kids who haven’t even reached puberty yet have been exposed to porn, accidentally or intentionally.

Talk to kids about pornography early – younger than you think they need to know. Sooner is safer!

Related: Kids Under 10 Make Up 10% of Porn Site Visitors

Porn is prolific.

How many kids are accidentally exposed to pornography? The truth is, we don’t know for sure and it probably changes every single year as access to internet-enabled devices grows. One of the more recent peer-reviewed studies (2013) found that 68% of kids under 18 had been exposed to pornography. That was 5 years ago, and you know how more common mobile devices are for kids now.

The risk of a pornographic encounter is real. We can educate our kids age-appropriately so they don’t get blindsided.

Porn can be addictive.

Porn addiction and drug addiction are similar because the same chemical, dopamine, is released in the brain. Dopamine makes us feel good and creates the desire to repeat the experience. This drives us to change our behavior so that we can keep getting those rewards.

A child’s developing brain is more susceptible to dopamine rushes than an adult’s brain. This study reveals that younger people have greater activity in the brain from pornography.

In addition, with the prefrontal cortex still developing, a child has even less ability to show self-control and wise decision-making. Want to know when that area of the brain is fully developed? Not until a person is 25 years old!

Addiction is a hard road. For the same reasons we teach our kids to say no to drugs, we need to teach them to say no to porn.

Porn is often key to the grooming process.

One way predators manipulate children is by leading them to believe that what is abusive is actually normal. An abuser will use pornography to “educate” them about sex and set them up for abuse.

If we warn kids, they will sense that something is very wrong if someone tries to show them pornography – and they will be more prepared to get away immediately.

Porn influences kids’ sexual interactions and expectations.

This study shows that 13- to 14-year-old males who viewed porn were almost three times more likely to have engaged in oral sex. They were 10 times more likely to have had sex two years later. Kids’ behavior also changes as they view pornography that is violent. Viewing violent pornography increased the chances of engaging in sexually aggressive behavior by 6 times.

Dr. Sharon Cooper tells the disturbing story of a young man who was repeatedly shown violent pornography by his father to “educate” him about sex. When he was 16, he went on his first date and attempted to strangle the girl.

Why? Because he had been shown through pornography that this is how men treat the women they like.

Repeated and unaddressed pornography use can influence young people to engage in risky and damaging behavior in real life. We can help redirect kids to a healthier path.

“Have you wanted to talk to your kids about pornography, but didn’t know what to say?! I’ve felt that way for quite some time and finally found a solution – Good Pictures Bad Pictures. . . I highly recommend this book to all people with children. A must have for all parents!” – Amazon Review. CLICK HERE to learn more about Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids.

Make an impact in your community

Knowing about porn and keeping yourself informed goes a long way in keeping the children within your own four walls safer. Why not share this knowledge in helpful and empathetic ways so your entire community is safer?

Not sure where to start? Consider these 5 proactive ideas:

#1. Casual conversations with other parents.

Share what your own kids have run into when you’re swapping parenting stories with your friends. A personal story starts a conversation and builds trust with others. Set the tone that you are a fellow learner, you’re not coming with judgment, and you have empathy for all parents in this struggle to raise kids in a digital world.

It could be as simple as: “Yesterday, technology totally let me down. We have content restricted and pop-up ads blocked and my daughter still saw a pop-up. It was a fake Amazon ad – and when she tried to click the ‘x’ to close it, pornographic images started popping up.” (This really just happened to us this weekend!)

By sharing a story, you just alerted a parent that this can actually happen. It invites questions like, “What did you do next?” so you can share how you talked to your kids after the incident. Also, you’ve opened the door to future conversations.

Conversations about pornography are crucial to empowering each other, and their worth cannot be dismissed. (Note: If it’s something personal, check with your kids first to make sure they are okay with you sharing.)

#2. Connect with your local schools.

Do your schools have a digital health and safety class? Do they need volunteers to teach it? Oftentimes, schools will have mandatory classes for students, but not for parents. Would they be willing to let you lead a class for adults?

You don’t have to do it alone. Get a small team of people together and use your individual strengths: marketing, teaching, researching curriculum, etc.

Even if only a handful of parents attend the first time you hold the class, you have equipped them in a tangible way. They now have resources they can use in their families and share with others.

What if your school isn’t interested? Contact your area HOAs and neighborhoods to see if there is a common meeting space you can use for your gathering.

#3. Teach at your local faith organizations.

That class you shared at school? You can use the same one here. Connecting with the family or children’s program director would be a great first start.

#4. Start a book club for parents.

Book clubs are often for fun and fancy-free reading. But every once in a while, it’s good to read something that really helps us grow. Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World is one great book I suggest (but there are many out there to choose from!) As you read it together, share stories of parenting in this digital age.

#5. Take public action.

Big-picture changes take many people contributing their time, talent, and treasure even in small ways. National Center on Sexual Exploitation and the National Decency Coalition are two resources for learning how to get involved with community action, corporate activism and policy change.

These are only a few possibilities. The internet spreads good ideas as well as bad ones, so we can use it to advocate for digital health and safety. Let’s share ideas with other families! We can be the village that children around the world need now.

Get a guide for how to write an effective letter asking for action! Click below for your Speak Up and Speak Out! Complaint Letter Template

Share on Pinterest!

protect kids from pornography

Jen Ferguson
Jen Ferguson is a wife, author, and speaker who is passionate about helping couples thrive in their marriages. She and her husband, Craig, have shared their own hard story in their book, Pure Eyes, Clean Heart: A Couple’s Journey to Freedom from Pornography and are also creators of the Marriage Matters Prayer Cards. They continue to help couples along in their journeys to freedom and intimacy at The {K}not Project. Jen is also a mama to two girls and two high-maintenance dogs, which is probably why she runs. A lot. Even in the Texas heat.
Share131
Tweet
Pin10
141 Shares