Pre­par­ing Young Peo­ple to Re­ject Pornog­ra­phy

Serve Daily - - LIBERTY SHALL BE MAINTAINED - By Vauna Davis

What would your child say to a friend who sug­gested that they search for the word “sex” on YouTube?

Many chil­dren would do as one sweet 9-year old girl did re­cently, who joined her friend to see what would come up. It took a few weeks for her fam­ily to learn about the de­grad­ing pornog­ra­phy that these girls had been watch­ing to­gether. Words can­not de­scribe the de­spair these par­ents en­dured as they be­came aware. As her mother noted, “Be­yond the fact that these girls have seen porn, they still both be­lieve in Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny and The Tooth Fairy!”

This doesn’t have to hap­pen to our chil­dren if we take steps to pre­pare them to re­ject pornog­ra­phy.

Why should par­ents tell chil­dren about such a dis­turb­ing sub­ject?

Think of it this way: par­ents don’t wait un­til a child is hit by a car to teach them to stay out of the street. Just as chil­dren are taught to walk safely on the side­walk, chil­dren need to be taught to rec­og­nize and avoid pornog­ra­phy be­fore they ever en­counter it and ex­pe­ri­ence neg­a­tive con­se­quences.

Chil­dren who are pre­pared will be able to re­act to pornog­ra­phy by think­ing, “My par­ents told me about this and why it is wrong. I know what to do – I will turn away from this and talk to my par­ents.” Un­for­tu­nately, chil­dren who are sud­denly ex­posed without any warn­ing could be more likely to con­tinue view­ing, be ashamed to tell par­ents, and even be drawn to se­cretly search for more.

Nat­u­rally, most par­ents are re­luc­tant to talk to chil­dren about pornog­ra­phy. The big­gest worry for par­ents is that talk­ing about pornog­ra­phy will create cu­rios­ity and cause chil­dren to go look for it. How­ever, we must rec­og­nize the dis­turb­ing re­al­ity that ex­plicit sex­ual me­dia is eas­ily avail­able from many sources, and we can­not con­trol when chil­dren may en­counter it. Avoid­ing this sub­ject leaves chil­dren un­pre­pared and vul­ner­a­ble. Therapist Anne Brown teaches that we don’t want to give kids just enough in­for­ma­tion to create cu­rios­ity without all the knowl­edge they need to be com­pletely pre­pared.

It may be a para­dox, but in or­der to pro­tect chil­dren’s in­no­cence, we must pre­pare them to turn away from pornog­ra­phy be­fore they are ex­posed to it. So what is a par­ent to do? You have the power to help your fam­ily! Fol­low these steps with each of your chil­dren.

1. Teach kids what pornog­ra­phy is in age- ap­pro­pri­ate ways.

2. Help kids un­der­stand what the harm­ful ef­fects of pornog­ra­phy are.

3. Prac­tice with your fam­ily what to do if they see pornog­ra­phy.

4. Use parental con­trols on all In­ter­net- en­abled de­vices. 5. Fol­low up with your kids:

• Check in reg­u­larly. Ask, “Have you seen pornog­ra­phy since the last time we talked?”

• Look for op­por­tu­ni­ties to praise them for good decisions – for ex­am­ple, when they tell you about prob­lems or speak up to their friends.

• Com­mit to help­ing them get back on track when they have seen it.

If you have a group of peo­ple who would like to dis­cuss more about how to fol­low these steps, con­tact Vauna Davis at vauna.davis@utah­coali­tion to sched­ule a free pre­sen­ta­tion. More good re­sources are utah­coali­tion.org, sal­ife­line.org, fight­the­new­drug.org, and wom­en­forde­cency.org.

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