by Eric Gomez, MS, LMFT, MHP
Pornography has seeped its way into our society, and has affected the lives of countless children. This is something parents simply cannot overlook in today’s world when we consider that 51% of male and 32% of female students first view porn before their teenage years.1 These are incredibly concerning statistics, and they reinforce why parents must proactively speak to their children about the dangers of pornography, as part of preventing them from being caught in its grasp. My own story related to pornography may help illustrate why these conversations are needed early.
Running Into the Unexpected
I was close to 7 years old and decided to explore the vacant lot next to the trailer in which my family lived. I walked into an open shed to see what was inside and found something unexpected, a magazine replete with images of adults exposing themselves. I’d never seen anything like that before, and though I couldn’t have anticipated it at the time, it wouldn’t be my last encounter with pornography as a child.
My parents likely never anticipated I would stumble across anything pornographic at that age. I’m sure the same is true for parents today. Yet, as the above statistics indicate, that’s exactly what is increasingly happening in our hyper-sexual, hyper-digital, Smartphone world. Thankfully, we understand the damaging effects of pornography, and we can proactively help our children veer away from it as a whole.
The significance of what we’ll be discussing quickly comes into view when we consider how our world has largely condoned the sexual exploitation of countless lives, treating sex as nothing more than a commodity.
Speaking to Our Children About Pornography
That being said, the notion of tackling this issue with our children brings into focus numerous complexities, anxieties, and questions such as: “Are my kids too young? What should I say? What if they’ve already seen porn?” These are all relevant questions which I’ll be addressing at a special breakout session during the upcoming Restoring Hearts Women’s Conference: Parents, Children and Needed Conversations About Pornography.
Additional topics being covered in this workshop include:
How to remain calm and overcome fears related to addressing the subject of pornography with our kids.
How to be proactive in developing healthy, safe and open conversations with our kids about the harmful effects of pornography and about healthy sexuality as a whole.
How to arm ourselves as parents with knowledge related to the neurobiological, addictive and social effects of pornography.
How mothers can specifically support each other in the important endeavor to protect their children from porn in a culture that normalizes sexual exploitation.
The significance of what we’ll be discussing quickly comes into view when we consider how our world has largely condoned the sexual exploitation of countless lives, treating sex as nothing more than a commodity. As parents, we stand as the first and primary rampart for our children against this type of dehumanization by having conversations that instill in them a sense of love, respect and honor for their own bodies and the bodies of others who are made in the likeness and image of God. May we endeavor to engage our children in safe and open conversations, and in doing so work to ensure a life rich with emotional health and meaningful relationships.
Covenant Eyes. 2015. Porn Statistics (2015 Report).