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5 Ways to Protect Your Kids from Porn


92.5 million. That’s how many times just one porn site was visited each day in 2018. EACH DAY! It’s devastating and straight-up frightening. Pornography and explicit imagery have become a custom of modern culture and, tragically, our kids are being targeted. What is now being called a public health crisis, the porn industry is fighting for the minds and hearts of the next generation.

As a father, I am grasping for ways to not only protect my kids but also educate them on both the beauty of sex and the dangers of sexual deviancy and perversion. This recent Exodus Cry Podcast episode, “Preparing and Protecting Your Children Living in A Porn Culture”—an interview with accredited sexuality educator, speaker, and author Liz Walker—was a God-send for me personally and a power-packed conversation, full of high-impact tools every parent can use right away.

Ep. 67: Preparing and Protecting Your Children Living in A Porn Culture: Liz Walker

There was so much gold in this session but, to best summarize, I pulled out 5 ways parents can begin to confront porn culture in their homes:

1. Develop a solution mindset instead of a fear mindset.

For far too long, I was too intimidated by the power of porn to do anything about it. Knowing its addictive power and shocked by the industry’s boldness, I felt paralyzed and powerless to fight back. One immediate theme from the conversation was the need for parents to be proactive with pornography and to be solution-focused.

I believe this begins with being honest with ourselves and our own past with porn so we are better positioned to help our kids. Beyond that, we should develop a sound plan to approach the topic of sex and teach our children what firm and healthy boundaries look like. Ideally, this should provide them with simple, practical steps they can take whenever they feel threatened or uncomfortable.

2. View technology as a weaponized tool, not just a toy.

The conveniences of 21st-century technology have simultaneously opened doors to unforeseen threats. “We need to view porn as a sexual predator,” Liz articulates, and that means being aware of how easily it can penetrate our homes and attack our children’s innocence.

Aside from the fact that porn is highly accessible through online searches, pornographers are inventing new ways to stalk kids and introduce explicit content. Social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube and even video games are being used to bait and lure kids into viewing content.

We need to view porn as a sexual predator.

According to a recent survey, the average age for a first-time smartphone user is 10.3 years old. As mentioned in the podcast, kids are spending an average of nine hours a day viewing digital media. That means pre-adolescent kids are getting a ton of access to a world they are unequipped, and too immature, to process. These statistics also reveal that many parents may not fully understand the risks these devices pose.

Of course, having necessary online protection and filters on devices is a must, but it’s not enough. I know parents who only allow devices to be viewed in family or living room settings and not in bedrooms or in private. Some have a nightly curfew where devices are turned over, and some won’t even allow their kids to have personal devices. Having a system or standard when it comes to technology seems like common sense and it’s something that needs to be evaluated constantly.

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3. Focus on prevention AND preparation.

While focusing on preventing porn’s inroads into our homes is extremely important, preparing for our child’s inevitable exposure to explicit content is also vital. We must control what we can but also prepare our kids for what’s outside our control. Whether on the bus, with friends, or at school, there are too many variables that can lead to exposure.

Helen (Exodus Cry’s Director of Intervention) shares an incredible story of her interaction with a pedophile at age seven. In her account, she mentions three simple but powerful steps she learned from a book her parents read with her. The book prepared her to navigate that unexpected and vulnerable moment and stay safe. The porn culture is here and we must prepare our kids to live above its depravity.

4. Discover and use the resources available to you.

This was an eye-opening highlight for me. Like in Helen’s story, Liz’s book Not for Kids!: Protecting Kids Online is one of several resources designed for kids to help prepare them to handle inappropriate sexual behavior and imagery. I honestly never thought of using a book to assist me in having this conversation or knew something like it existed! Not only did I order the book but in 30 minutes of research, I discovered other resources my wife and I can employ to win this battle in our home.

5. Set your children’s sexual template by speaking first and often about sex.

The porn industry is “conflating the concept of porn and sex,” Liz reveals, and it’s shaping young people’s ideas about what sex is. She powerfully describes porn as a “grooming tool” which perverts the beauty of sex into something violent, deviant, and abusive. Young, developing minds are unable to decipher good from bad and are therefore extremely moldable.

As was eloquently stated, parents bear the responsibility of setting our child’s “sexual template.” By being the first to discuss sex, and by speaking early and often, we can foster open and honest dialogue with our kids about sex and normalize the conversation. This, in my opinion, is our greatest weapon against porn culture. Our honesty and consistent communication are profound gifts to our kids that will assist them immensely.

This podcast episode opened my eyes to the gravity of the times. But I feel much more empowered with practical steps to help my kids to win this war! From one parent to another, I challenge you to listen to the content and join us in paving the way for our kids to become sexually healthy, well-balanced adults.

PJ Vescovi is a speaker, pastor, church planter & business consultant. He recently launched The Qara Mission, a non-profit that supports single mothers. He and his wife Emily live in Fort Worth, TX with their children.

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Photo Credit: unsplash-logoGaelle Marcel