How to Define Pornography for a Seven-Year Old

by Apr 30, 2012Especially for Girls

Conversation togetherDefining pornography for your younger child is a difficult proposition at best! You’ve got to give just enough information so they can recognize it and reject it, but you probably don’t want to do more than that.

The hardest part of writing Good Pictures, Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids was coming up with a basic definition of pornography that would be appropriate for a seven-year old. I talked with several parents and people who have struggled with pornography addiction. I wrote and re-wrote dozens and dozens of versions before finally feeling successful.

Let’s start with a “grown-up” definition by Dr. Jill C. Manning (What’s the Big Deal about Pornography, p. 2):

Pornography is material specifically designed to arouse sexual feelings in people by depicting nudity, sexual behavior, or any type of sexual information. This can refer to pictures, stories, sounds, symbols, actions, or words that depict bodies and/or sexual behavior.”

So that’s for you, but how do you adapt it for your child?

happy kid with magnifying glassLet me just say that I think the gender of the child may shape your approach. Both boys and girls are curious and both can become addicted to pornography, but boys are more visually stimulated. According to one male friend of mine, a picture of a scantily-clad woman, whether she’s in the underwear section of the J.C. Penney catalog, in a National Geographic magazine, or on a porn site may all be equally arousing to him.

cute-kidWith a girl, depending on her maturity, you may be able to make further distinctions between a nude statue at a museum and the overtly sexual images of internet pornography–but this is tricky to a young brain that is fairly black and white and has not yet learned to understand shades of intention.

So, as Maria says in The Sound of Music, let’s start at the very beginning!

  • Pornography is pictures of people without any clothes on.
  • Pornography may make you feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, or sick to your stomach. (Children who are exposed to pornography often describe it with words such as “gross” or “weird.”)
  • Pornography may also feel exciting–which can be confusing to experience two feelings at the same time! (For more explanation, see this blog post: Porn is Tricky! SMART Parents Assist Kids to Understand Feelings)
  • Pornography should never be kept secret. (Encourage your child to come and tell you if they ever see something they believe is pornography.)

Every parent will want to adapt a basic definition for their own family.

Family playing with Tablet computer at homeThe most important outcome of your conversation is that you are making it okay to talk about pornography. You are taking it out of the dark and bringing it into the light where it can be defined, discussed and rejected.

If you’re feeling burdened by the prospect of talking to your child about pornography, take heart! Most parents I’ve talked to have felt a giant weight lift off of their shoulders once they’ve started the process of porn-proofing their child.

Kristen Jenson
Kristen A. Jenson is the founder of Protect Young Minds and author of Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today's Young Kids. Kristen enjoys speaking, writing and anything else that will help empower kids to reject pornography. Kristen earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, and a master’s degree in Organizational Communication. Kristen currently lives with her husband in Washington State, where she enjoys growing a vegetable garden, watching Masterpiece Theater, and taking long walks with friends who tolerate her incessant talking about you know what. Above all else, her husband and three children are her greatest treasures.

Your Daughter’s Body Image – Healthy or Shameful? 4 Ways to Counteract Toxic Media

Both of my daughters dance. They have an incredible ability (that I don’t share!) to communicate their emotions and ideas through the power of movement. They practice hours on end at home and the studio to push their bodies to new levels. They celebrate their growth...

Parent Alert! Is “After” the New “50 Shades of Grey” for Kids? (Watch out – It’s Coming to the Big Screen!)

Our regular Parent Alert! news updates help parents stay ahead of the trends affecting kids in our hypersexualized culture. This month we’re covering headlines from around the world: a twisted erotic fiction series popular with teens is coming to a theatre near you; a...

Calling All Fathers! 4 Simple Ways to Raise Confident Daughters

Fathers are super heroes when it comes to raising confident, secure daughters! Involved fathers can even help prevent the sexual exploitation of their daughters. That’s the message that Dr. Tim Rarick shares at the United Nations, at national conferences on sexual...

I Was Sold on Backpage.com: The Story of Jane Doe

No one knows the real number of children prostituted every year in the United States. Estimates are between 100,000 to 300,000. These are children bought and sold for sex in our own backyard. And, until last week, Backpage.com, an online classified ad platform, was...

Fifty Shades of Abuse: 5 Lies Every Girl Needs to Recognize and Reject

It’s no secret that the Fifty Shades franchise has capitalized on the trend to push porn into mainstream media. When Fifty Shades Freed opens in theatres this month, it’s estimated that Universal Pictures will round out their revenue on this trilogy at $1.2 billion....

#1 Amazon Best Seller

A read-aloud book that’s comfortable for parents and empowering for kids.

Learn More →

Get the Book

#1 Amazon Best Seller

A read-aloud book that’s comfortable for parents and empowering for kids

Grab your FREE Guide!

How do you immunize kids against porn? Learn our 3 Secrets to Porn-Immune Kids!

Your FREE Guide Is On The Way!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This