Before you freak out, let me explain. Today my husband and I took the first baby step in protecting our two boys from porn addiction.
But why now? They’re only 5 and 7, for goodness sake. What’s wrong with you?
For sure, it certainly felt weird, and more than a little sad, to have to talk about ‘bad pictures’ in between a trip to the fire house open day and an episode of Octonauts. But the truth is, there is never going to be a time when you feel okay about talking about porn with your kids. Your Mama Bear wants to shield them from all the awful things of the world for as long as possible.
The optimal time to start this discussion, is before you have to.
The average age of first exposure to porn is 9. That means for every 14 year old that stumbled upon porn whilst doing their homework, there is also a 5 year old who misspelled Dora the Explorer and was re-directed to a porn site.
1 out of every 10 porn users are under 10 years of age. Let that just sink in a moment. Out of all the millions of porn users, 10% are under 10 years old.
Just like any other porn user, the risk of porn addiction is very real. Recent studies found that 10% of seventh graders are worried that they could be addicted. For an undeveloped brain and an innocent heart, the ramifications of watching hard core porn are devastating.
We need to equip our kids to know what to do when, and not if, they see it. External filters are important but creating an internal filter is crucial.
The good news is, it wasn’t a difficult discussion at all. We cuddled up on the sofa and read Good Pictures, Bad Pictures Jr. A simple plan to protect young minds by Kristen A. Jenson. This quick, easy to read picture book is aimed at children between the ages of 3 and 6. It uses gentle, age-appropriate messages to teach children how to Turn, Run & Tell when they are accidentally exposed to inappropriate content.
There is also an older version of the book aimed at kids over 7. Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids. It explains what pornography is, why it’s dangerous, and how to reject it. Using easy-to-understand science and simple analogies, it teaches kids how to porn-proof their own brains.
My recommendation would be to get both books and use your own judgement as to which level is appropriate for your child.
Along with road safety, stranger danger and the underwear rule, porn proofing our kids is just another responsibility that parents have to do. Fortunately, there are great resources to help us on this one.
Now, if only they had one on table manners…