Monday, August 24, 2015

Teaching Your Kids About Pornography

Parents, what is your game plan to protect your kids and family from the dangers of pornography and its accessibility, anonymity, and affordability on the internet?  Are you aware of how easy it is to find pornography or to see it without even searching for it?

Jessica Harris of Beggar's Daughter (a ministry for girls/women who wrestle with sexual addiction) first found pornography on an educational web site where she was searching for info to complete a school assignment.  She writes:

I first came across pornography when I was 13. It was completely by accident. While I was researching for a school project, I came across a video website (think “YouTube” but 1999 style). There were plenty of educational videos on the site, but in the midst of all of those was a video of hardcore pornography. It opened up an entire world of struggle for me, one that I would deal with for years.

I was the good church girl, the class virgin, the 4.0 student. I worked hard to make sure no one ever suspected anything was wrong. But my struggle with pornography reached a point where every day I would come home from school, call my mom to tell her I’d be using the internet so she wouldn’t be able get through on the phone (dial-up), and then I would spend hours sex chatting and watching hardcore videos. I was losing sleep and school was becoming a struggle. I tried to stop watching porn, but found I couldn’t.

Crystal Renaud of Dirty Girls Ministries (another girl who got hooked on pornography when not yet even a teenager and whose several year addiction to it led to her setting up a meeting for sex with a stranger she met online and now as a committed Christ-follower walking in repentance has a ministry for women whose mission statement is Help, Hope and Healing for Women with Pornography and Sexual Addiction) will be the first to tell you parents how easily pornography can be found, what a secret addiction it is, and how it steals your hope, joy, freedom, and dignity with its entangling snare.  Read the article she wrote entitled Your Kid Is Watching Porn: A Word of Warning for Parents That's Worth Sharing here.

I was eleven years old when I first saw pornography.  It was at a relative's house and an uncle was viewing filthy photographs when my sister and I were over, playing with our cousins in the living room.  Thankfully my mom had taught us from a young age about healthy sexuality and to always tell her when we see something that we know is wrong or abnormal.  I cringe at the thought of what my first exposure to pornography could have led to or what mere curiosity might have had the potential of turning into if it had not been for my faithful mom whose desire to honor God with her life and live according to His word led her to raise her children knowing God's truth and instilled in us the difference between right and wrong, abnormal and healthy, abusive and appropriate.

I plead with each of you parents reading this to sign up for the Covenant Eyes accountability report and filtering service.  It is never too late to take initiative, set guidelines and rules for internet use, and speak to your children about the harms of pornography, how much it distorts sex and creates unhealthy longings, twisted attractions, and bizarre ideas about sexuality.  It is never too late to educate yourself about pornography and addiction.  I highly recommend daily reading resources or watching lectures and videos by Covenant Eyes and XXXChurch.

I have written other blogs (or posted articles from different ministries) to parents warning about the dangers of porn and the need to intentionally and purposefully protect the eyes, hearts, and minds of your family and challenged parents in other posts to not take this topic lightly:

'Tis the Season to Be...Addicted to Porn?

Preparing Children to Live in a Porn-Infested World

Does Your Teen Own a Smartphone?

Protecting And Guarding the Hearts of Children

Parenting the Internet Generation

Talking to Your Kids About Sex

If you have kids or teens already in the clutches of pornography or are there yourself, please take the time to read the previous posts I have written or articles I have posted on my blog about pornography where I offer many steps in how to overcome it, underlying causes, etc.  Be sure to check out iParent.TV whose web site describes its mission as follows: is an online resource that features hundreds of videos and posts to keep parents in the loop on all the latest tech fads that your kids might or might not be into. Want to know how to set the privacy settings on the Xbox One? We show you how. Want to decide whether SnapChat is right for your teenager? We give you the info. Want to find out what Reddit is all about? We have the answers.

If it’s online, it’s on

Look, you’re spending money on these things for your kids, but how much do you really understand about them? Get fast, thorough information and get the most out of your devices while taking care of your kids at the same time.

If you are the parent of kids ages anywhere from birth to pre-teen years, check out Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today's Young Kids by Kristen A. Jenson and Gail Poyner.  Amazon describes the book as follows:

Good Pictures Bad Pictures is a comfortable, read-aloud story about a mom and dad who teach their child what pornography is, why it's dangerous, and how to reject it. Using easy-to-understand science and simple analogies, this ground-breaking book engages young kids to porn-proof their own brains.

It only takes a few taps on a mobile device for a curious young child to find an endless supply of deviant, hard-core, and addicting pornography--all for free. Unfortunately, many young kids are being exposed to pornography without the slightest clue that it can damage their developing minds.

The 5-point CAN DO Plan teaches kids how to avoid the brain-warping images of pornography and minimize the troubling memories of accidental exposure that often tempt kids to look for more and lead them into a dark and destructive addiction. To stay safe in the digital age, kids must install an internal filter in their own brain. Good Pictures Bad Pictures shows them how.

Parents will appreciate this resource to porn-proof their kids because it makes a difficult discussion easy and empowering. How? By teaching kids simple concepts about the brain and the process of addiction, and by giving them a specific strategy for keeping safe from the poison of pornography.

As a young adult with married friends who have kids, I have recommended this book to them and also purchased it for a friend with a daughter who just turned six years old.  I also bought it to donate to my church library along with these books I recommend each of you read as well:

  • Dirty Girls Come Clean by Crystal Renaud
  • 'Just One More' When Desires Don't Take No for an Answer by Edward T. Welch
  • Understanding Homosexuality by Alan Shlemon
  • A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality by Joseph Nicolosi & Linda Ames Nicolosi
  • Porn-Again Christian: a frank discussion on pornography & masturbation by Mark Driscoll
  • Self-Injury: When Pain Feels Good by Edward T. Welch
  • Every Man's Marriage by Stephen Arterburn, Fred Stoeker with Mike Yorkey
  • It's (Not That) Complicated: How to Relate to Guys In a Healthy, Sane, and Biblical Way by A & E Botkin

It is never too early or too late to begin teaching your family about the lies pornography propagates, the harmful practices it promotes, and the many ways it will mess up a person's life, relationships, self-image, and ability to see others and relate to them in a healthy and normal way.

If you sign up for the Covenant Eyes service with my affiliate link, a small proceed of the initial sign up will go to me (which I solely use for purchasing resources for others) and you will receive the first month free.  I use the Covenant Eyes service myself and cannot say how immensely helpful it has been in keeping the lines of communication open between my teenage brother and I if there happens to be something questionable on the daily accountability report I receive from his internet use.

One last word of warning: if your kids or teens own a smartphone, be sure to put the Covenant Eyes service on all their devices.  It may upset your kids that you are all of a sudden taking charge of the time they spend on the internet and putting up safeguards when they're used to using the internet freely without them, but as a young adult who has wrestled with various forms of sexual sin for years of my life which all stemmed back to my early pre-adolescence when I was exposed to mere music videos and inappropriate shows and movies on cable TV (not realizing the effect it was having on me at the time as I also loved watching Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel), I cannot say strongly enough how important it is, crucial actually, to be actively involved in your children's lives and openly & often speak about sex (not only from a Biblical perspective, but welcoming questions and comments they have and making sure to let them know they can ask or tell you anything because you are a safe person for them).  Be sure to cover their lives in prayer and plead with God to surround them with godly friendships, to bring genuine accountability into their lives, and allow the people around them on a regular basis to be like-minded in their pursuit of godliness and a God-honoring, Bible-applying, Christ-exalting life.

Don't believe the lie that your kid is different or that they know better.  Temptation abounds and the opportunities to sin in wretched (and secret) ways really are endless.  When my mom discovered I had engaged in self-injury for the first time at the age of fifteen, she was shocked and furious because she never thought her innocent daughter would consider doing something like this.  When my dad discovered I was a compulsive liar, I know he never expected that from his sweet daughter.  And the list goes on and on in regards to the different sinful patterns and choices I've made in life that shocked others.  Please know that with pornography being accessible, affordable (most of the stuff on the internet is free and hardcore, violent, abusive, degrading material is only a click away), and anonymous, your kids might already be stuck in bondage to this destructive sin without your knowledge (remember, they are likely much more internet savvy than you are and know how to hide their trail of regretful and secretive choices).

It's never too late or too early to begin and continue the dialogue with your kids or teens about pornography, sex, promiscuity, lust, and what God calls every believer to: abstinence from sexual activity until marriage.


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