They say you know porn when you see it. Kids know it too– and they usually want to keep looking, keep listening or keep reading. Talk to your kids about porn when they are 7-10 years old, before they start encountering it on their own. Internet filters and other safeguards are important, but nothing is foolproof. As parents, we need to teach our children what to do when they find porn. Even though they may find it interesting and want to keep looking, they need to shut off the screen or close the book or magazine and tell a parent. Kids need to understand why porn is not good for them– that it can be addictive, just like drugs. I also talk about how porn can make it harder to love real people, that after a while you can start to like porn better than real relationships, but only love from real people can make you happy in the long run.
Here are 5 ways to “porn proof” your kids and your home:
1. Read the book, “Good Pictures, Bad Pictures: Porn Proofing Today’s Young Kids,” by Kristen A. Jenson M.A. (Author), Debbie Fox (Illustrator), and Gail A. Poyner Ph.D (contributor). This read-aloud book is an Amazon.com #1 bestseller in sexual health recovery. From the Amazon description:
“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.
2. Turn on porn filters and parental controls on all your mobile devices, even your own phone. iPhones and iPads have offered porn filters since the release of iOS 7. You do need to ensure that they are turned on in settings.
3. For computers, get Internet Filtering Software such as K9 Web Protection, Covenant Eyes, Mobicip, Net Nanny, or Screen Retriever. In our house we use K9 Web protection. Every time one of our kids tries to go to a restricted site the computer makes a dog-bark sound… and we know to go check on them. It was free and easy to install.
4. Get rid of your own porn: The first porn kids see is often from their parents. Kids find magazines hidden in closets, or see online porn triggered by frequent web searches. Watching TV at night is another source, especially if the TV is already set to a channel that shows explicit content at night.
5. Model healthy love for your children: The best way to teach your kids that they don’t want porn is to give them what they really want? Love. Model healthy romantic relationships for your children. Show your children how you love them through words, service, actions and touch. As children grow into teenages, there is a tendency to touch them less, and they may even shirk off hugs and pats on the back. If you don’t hug your children, they will find someone else to provide them with physical love, and it might not be what is best for them.