The Dangers of the ONE and ONLY Porn Talk: 4 SMART Tips for Regular Conversations with Kids

by May 23, 20140 comments

This is the fifth in a six-article series to help parents respond to a child’s accidental porn exposure or purposeful seeking it out. The first three articles in the series are Your Child Has Viewed Porn, Now What? 5 SMART Tips for Parents; SMART Parents Stay Calm; SMART Parents Make a Plan to Address Pornography Exposure; Porn is Tricky! SMART Parents Help Kids Understand Feelings.

Young dad and sonThe SMART Plan

  • Stay calm
  • Make a plan
  • Assist your child to sort out their feelings
  • Regularly check in with your kids
  • Train your family

SMART Parents Regularly Check In with Kids about Internet Safety

Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could have ONE talk about the harmful effects of porn and be done with it? But that could actually makes things worse.

  • Kids need additional age-appropriate information about online safety as they mature and find themselves in new and different social and media situations.
  • Kids need continual encouragement to reject porn when their peers may be making other choices.
  • Kids need to be reminded that you are open to talking with them about the online and social media challenges they face.
  • Kids may feel confused and overwhelmed by a one-time, never-mentioned again porn talk. Confused kids may seek out answers from their peers or search online if they feel you’re not willing to answer their questions as they come up. Too little info can be a dangerous thing as illustrated in the story below.

The Dangers of a One and Only Porn Talk

surprised boyJeffrey J. Ford, MS, LMFT and author of the online article Creating a Safe Place to Talk About Dangerous Things, encourages parents not to overwhelm kids with one big porn or sex talk, but to make these conversations an ongoing part of your parenting. He shared this telling experience to show the danger of the one and only talk:

One young man shared that his father took him on a long walk when he was twelve years old and that when the walk ended he never heard anything about sex or pornography again. He told me “I was in shock! My dad talked for 2 hours about things I had never heard of before.”

The result was that the boy took all of the confusing information his father gave him and did two things: 1. He asked his friends about it. He shared that this confused him more than before because it was clear that many of his friends were as ignorant as he was. 2. He went to the internet and looked things up. This boy’s [Internet] inquiry began innocently enough, but that day it ended in an exposure to pornography that created a hunger that developed into a full-fledged addiction.

Four Tips to Encourage Regular Conversations

No one can learn everything all at once, so here are four things you can do to incrementally talk to kids about pornography and keep the conversation going:Family Eating Meal At Home Together

1. Be open. Communicate the message that you are open to answer any questions your kids may have about pornography and that you want them to ask you.

2. Make yourself the expert in your kids’ eyes on the topics of sex and the dangers of pornography. Explain to your kids that the Internet is not a safe place to ask questions about sex. If you’ve read Good Pictures Bad Pictures with them, they’ll understand how Internet pornography can trap them into an addiction.

3. Find natural ways to check-in on a regular basis. Maybe you could begin by mentioning something you saw (“Today I was watching a TV show and I turned it off because…”) and then ask if they have been recently exposed to anything inappropriate or pornographic. The more you talk, the easier it will become.

4. Plan regular Media Safety Nights to discuss various topics related to pornography, addiction and Internet safety. (Read the story below to see why these can be so important!) Make them short and serve their favorite treats! Check out the following posts for ideas to get you started:

An Eye-Opening Talk with Teens

Father and son talking in living roomI recently visited a friend who asked me to share my presentation, PornProof Kids 101, with her family. Her two teenage boys were intelligent, open and honest and we had a very eye-opening conversation about the world they live in and how they were coping.

My point is this: Because we set up a specific time to talk about the dangers of pornography, these boys candidly shared experiences and observations that their parents might never have heard otherwise.

By the way, one of the boys complained when he heard he was going to be subjected to my presentation, but he ended up asking the most questions!

Kids need constant encouragement and additional information to help defend themselves against an extremely predatory porn industry. What could you do to make discussing media choices and Internet safety a regular and empowering part of your parenting?

Here’s the final article in this series: 3 SMART Tips to Porn-Proof Your Entire Family

Do you know any parents who could use these ideas? Please SHARE this post with them! Thank you!

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.

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