I recognize that my children will grow up in a culture where many accept porn as a form of entertainment and that our culture is highly desensitized to virtuous sexuality. I can't think of a single cultural example of Biblical, healthy sex that is celebrated within the right boundaries. That is scary. And our children, our very young children are impacted. What do you do when your very young child sees porn?
When I thought my phone was protected, I realized it was not because my son was stumbled upon, then looked for more post-plastic-surgery videos. You can imagine what the images contained and I'm grateful there was enough protection to filter full nudity. He was nine years old when this happened. We had talked about the mechanics of sex and the value of girls and boys and their differences, but this experience has forced me to think about how to continue to conversation.
After I stopped my panic-attack and filtered my own response, it proved to be a good opportunity for open discussion. Here's how I handled it:
- Assured my guy that he is not bad, but normal to be curious about women and about things he hasn't yet experienced. I asked him if he had seen images like this elsewhere? school? other parent's home? I wanted to gauge his familiarity with explicit content.
- Explained to him that what he saw is not real. What he looked at isn't what real women look like under their clothes (he saw extremely exaggerated augmentations). We talked about a woman's body and it's purposes: feeding a baby, strength for daily tasks, beauty that reflects God's creativity. We talked about what makes a woman beautiful being character, kindness and care.
- Enforced boundaries by removing all access to digital media until I could be confident in better monitoring and filtering controls. I reminded him that I will always be aware of what he is doing online and what he sees because it is my job to protect him. I tried to emphasize that this was for his protection not punishment...but it probably felt like punishment to him.
- Initiated self control and accountability. I talked with my little man about how even now he needs to begin to guard his heart and his eyes. We talked about how this kind of material is always available and if he looks for it, he will find it. All his life he will need to learn that it won't satisfy and that it isn't good for his heart or eyes. I talked about how looking at and longing for pretend things steals joy and pleasure from what is real.
- Prayed and prayed some more. This is a battle for my boys' minds. And my daughter's. It's real and it can't be avoided (though I would prefer to stick my head in the ground). I recognized that I must engage in this battle or I will be conceding territory. I cannot be passive.
Are you with me? Have you confronted the reach of pornography into your family? How are you preparing your children to deal with the barrage of sexual images they will confront in life? I would love to hear practical ways to battle and resources to any tools you find effective.
Your Children and Sex
Just One Click Away (This is graphic)
When Children See Porn
Freedom in the Fight
5 Surefire Ways to Train Your Kid to Use Porn