Understanding and Overcoming
The Effects of Pornography on Children
Isabella is only eleven years old and was on snap chat. A sex predator connected with her and was working to arrange a meeting. The pictures and conversations became very disturbing. Her parents found out and were heart broken. How could this happen to their innocent young daughter? How are they to prepare and guard her heart for the future? The following information gave them hope and wisdom on how to manage this devasting news.
1. Pray and stay calm – Your child is the victim. If you’re upset, it will make your child worried she or he is in trouble. Stay calm and thank your child for being brave enough to let you know and reassure them that you will solve it together.
2. Listen and try to understand – If your child has accidentally stumbled upon inappropriate content, ask them how they found it. This will help you know how to improve security measures. Find out where it happened, who showed them, how they felt when they saw it. Remember to understand rather than reprimand.
3. Reassure your child that she/he is not in trouble – Above all, you want to save your relationship and keep open communication; therefore, avoid punishment. If communication is open, then your child will come to you about issues in the future. Don’t take their device immediately or they’ll feel punished. That may come later, but for now, be calm and let them know they’re not in trouble.
4. Pray and plan your talk – While it is tempting to be emotional and have a big lecture, it is better to take some time to pray and plan your conversation before you start the discussion.
5. Allow them to talk about their feelings – Ask, “How did watching this make you feel good, bad, safe, scared, uncomfortable, curious, or something else?” All of these feelings are normal. You may use this as a chance to teach about real intimacy. “Did what you viewed seem respectful?”
6. Talk about God’s plan for sex – Discussions about love and intimacy are important. Also, discussions about boundaries, appropriate age and timing for intimacy, and other personal values related to sex and love.
7. Problem-solve together – Ask them whether they think it is a good idea to look for those kinds of things on the Internet again. Encourage them to think of ways to stay safe. Answers might include:
- Stay away from keywords that lead to inappropriate images
- Update security levels on devices
- Avoid friends or anyone who is viewing pornography
- Have regular conversations about what they are viewing
- Encourage your child to talk to you anytime about any questions they have, or anything else they see.
Spiritual guidance: Solomon’s advice to parents is to “train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it,” Proverbs 22:6. Raising and training your child begins with the Bible, “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, correcting and training,” 2 Timothy 3:16. The truths in Scripture will prepare them to withstand the onslaught of cultures bent on indoctrinating young people with secular values. Below are key thoughts:
- Our bodies are a gift from God, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. God dwells in us.
- Taking care of our bodies includes being safe, Psalm 91. God protects us.
- We face many dangers, including pornography, Psalm 140:1. God saves us.
- Pornography is pictures of people with little or no clothes on, Matthew 6:22-23. God shields our eyes.
- You are fearfully and wonderfully made, Psalm 139. God helps us. We have two parts of our brain: a thinking part and a feeling part. Pornography pulls at the feeling part to try and get us to look at more, but we can use the thinking part to say, “That’s pornography. That’s not good.”
God will give your children the peace and protection of the Holy Spirit when you train them to honor these steps:
- Identify it and say “That’s pornography.”
- Turn it off and walk away.
- Tell a parent or a trusted adult.
A Parent’s prayer:
Father, I ask that you protect my children from the temptations in this world. Give them a desire to know you and to follow you. Give me wisdom, so that I know what to say if the need arises. Help me to trust you and to train them according to your plan. I bless my children with a desire to honor you, to walk in obedience and to obey us as parents in Jesus’ Name, Amen.