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What happens when my kids discover porn?

By: crystal cox

“Pornography.” The word sends a wave of anxiousness through my body. As a mom of two children, I would love to avoid the subject, but avoidance is not effective. 

In our culture, pornography is easily accessible by children. Some research indicates the average age of first exposure to pornography is 8 years old. Not only are there the scantily dressed ladies on the pictures of grocery story magazines, the magazines with naked people in the gas station, the novel or magazine shared by a schoolmate — porn can be accessed at homes on mobile devices, tablets, and TV. 

When our children are exposed to pornography, we may feel helpless and hopeless but God is with us to guide us and guide the hearts of our children.

In this culture of easy access, it is likely our children will unintentionally or intentionally view pornography at some point as they are growing up. How do we talk to our kids about the dangers of porn? What do we do if they view something pornographic?

First, we teach our children God’s design.

This is an analogy we use with our children. Think about fire. Fire is beautiful and beneficial. We can warm ourselves and cook with it. The lapping array of colors awe us as we sit around it and fellowship with friends. Just like fire is beautiful, sex is beautiful, too. 

We must teach our children God’s intent for sex. God created sex to be a union between a husband and wife, for pleasure and for bringing children into the world (Genesis 2:24-25). We are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and our sexuality is nothing to be ashamed of (Psalm 139:14). When children understand God’s design, they learn to understand the value of purity to honor God with their bodies and minds.

Second, we help our children set boundaries. 

Fire is only beautiful within boundaries. When the fire escapes the fireplace or firepit, or when it rips through a forest, fire is scary and dangerous. Uncontained fire causes significant harm. 

When sex is taken out of the context God intended, there is pain, danger, confusion, disappointment, unrealistic expectations and guilt. Viewing pornographic images or videos is taking sex outside the boundaries. Teach your children the importance of boundaries. Help them think through situations. What will they do if they receive an email with a sexual image? What will they do if a friend shows them images that are inappropriate? 

As parents we should set some boundaries for our children. Consider having your child only use devices with internet connection in common areas of the home. This means phones don’t go to bed with children at night. 

There are great accountability software options and internet blocking devices that make parents aware of the sites their children visit. Children’s devices and social media accounts should not be considered private. Make sure you are connected as a friend or follower on their social media accounts. Beware of social media apps which are not monitored under accountability software. 

Third, we focus on hearts, not behavior.

In teaching God’s design, the focus is already on our hearts and being in line with God’s Spirit within us. This focus must reach to the day we find our children have seen something pornographic. In talking about the exposure or behavior, we should focus on the heart. As Christ followers, we want to follow Jesus in every aspect of our lives. Pornographic material does not lead us where God wants us to go, and that is why we want to stay far from it. A focus on rules and not Jesus will fall short in guiding our children when opportunity presents itself again or when they are outside the parameters of our safeguards. 

God has a good plan for our children. In Jeremiah 29:11, God says, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 

When our children are exposed to pornography, we may feel helpless and hopeless but God is with us to guide us and guide the hearts of our children. 

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