Do Porn Talks Work? New Study Gives Hope to Parents

by Feb 19, 2015Prepare Kids to Reject Pornography

Do regular talks about pornography really make a difference?

Do you ever wonder if anything you say is really influencing your kids? Are they even listening? Turns out a new study shows that parents who talk to their kids about avoiding porn are making a difference! In fact, these talks also improve their kids’ self-esteem.

Study results are impressive

Here’s a quick run-down on the ground-breaking study which was done by Texas Tech University published in the Journal of Children’s Media.

  • Children of parents who regularly talked about their dislike for pornography expressed more negative attitudes about pornography as college students.
  • These negative attitudes correlated to less porn use.
  • Kids who were caught looking at pornography and consequently received more porn talks also developed a greater degree of emotional resiliency. Specifically, they were less likely to report lowered self-esteem when they discovered that their romantic partner used pornography.

Researcher and author Eric Rasmussen doesn’t know exactly what is causing this increased emotional resiliency.

However, others note that it just makes sense. As reported in the Deseret News article The porn talk works: If parents dislike porn, kids will too, Washington State University associate professor Stacey Hust explains that parents who can talk to their teens about the hard topics enjoy a more open communication with them.

Hust explains that these adolescents benefit in more ways than one. They “tend to have stronger self-esteem and be higher critical thinkers and be…more aware of the media’s role in their life.”

mom and daughter blurredTalk early, talk often

I’ve always assured parents that talking to their kids about pornography will only increase the trust their kids have in them as well as increase their ability to talk openly. I mean, if you can talk with your kids about pornography, you can talk about anything!

One mom of four recently shared this great advice with me:

“It’s so important to get out in front of the game—to talk to your kids about pornography before they get exposed or interested. Otherwise, you will be playing catch up. With our first child, we figured we’d just wait for him to ask us questions. That was a mistake. Now we realize we need to be the ones being proactive and asking our kids questions about what they have seen online.”

 

It’s either you or them

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It’s true. Either you can set your kids’ attitudes about pornography or you can let the media do it for you.

As quoted by Deseret News, Rasmussen reasons:

“Our kids are going to learn about sex and pornography from the media, whether their parents are involved or not. So if parents have any ounce of concern about how their kids approach media and pornography, this research shows that parents’ influence can be stronger than the media influence. Parents are in the best position to influence their kids’ media habits.”

I’m so excited that this research has come out! I hope many more studies will be done to show that talking early and talking often does make a difference.

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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