And when it comes to online safety, parents need to be prepared for several different conversations. Here are three easy role plays that will empower your kids to reject pornography.
(We created these role plays for the May 2014 End Sexual Exploitation Summit in D.C. I was honored to be in a panel with Jan Garbett, founder of EPIK, Jennie Bishop, founder of PurityWorks, moderated by Vauna Davis, Executive Director of UCAP.)
Role Play #1: Initiating an introductory discussion about pornographyScenario: You and your child are looking at a family pictures in an album or on your social media network of choice.
- Cue 1: “These are fun photos of people we love, but do you know there are also very inappropriate pictures on the Internet called pornography? Pornography means disrespectful pictures, videos or even cartoons of people without any clothing on. Have you ever seen pornography?”
- Cue 2: “Sometimes when I’m on the Internet, I’ve accidentally seen pictures that make me feel very uncomfortable. They show naked people treating each other in very disrespectful ways. It’s called pornography. Have you ever seen anything like that?”
- Cue 3: “I really like sharing these pictures with you. Sometimes friends or even family members share very bad or inappropriate pictures or videos that show people without any clothes on. These pictures are called pornography. Have you ever seen anything like that?”
Role Play #2: Discussing your child’s exposure to pornography after they have reported it to you
- Cue 1: “Thank you for telling me about what you saw online. I’m so sorry you were exposed to such inappropriate and horrible images. They are called pornography. I can see we need to talk more about how to keep pornography from hurting you. Can I ask you a few more questions? (Ask where they saw it, on which device, who they were with, how often.)
- Cue 2: “Thank you for having the courage to come and tell me about what you saw. I really appreciate your honesty and how you are working to protect yourself from pornography by not keeping your exposure to it a secret. Would you mind if I asked you a few more questions about what you saw?” (Ask where they saw it, on which device, who they were with, frequency.)
Role Play #3: Discovering your child watching porn or finding a history of porn searches on a device
- Cue #1: “I see what you’re doing. Please turn it off (and give me the device). I want you to know that I love you, and we are going to work through this together.”
- Cue #2: “I need to talk with you about something. Recently I found some searches and websites for pornography on the iPad (or other mobile device). I’m not mad at you, but I need to understand why they are there. Could you tell me how you first found out about pornography and how long you’ve been looking at it?”
Have you had conversations with your kids about pornography? Do you think these role plays are helpful? Please join the conversation and leave a comment. Thank you!
Other Helpful Resources:
Jeffrey J. Ford, LMFT, has a series of five helpful YouTube videos: The Five Cs: What if my child has been exposed
Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids by Kristen A. Jenson, MA, illustrated by Debbie Fox. A read-aloud book to educate young kids about the addictive nature of pornography before they’re exposed and empower them with an action plan to reject it when they’re exposed.