Too many parents, when picturing talking to kids about pornography, imagine gathering teenagers around them for a conversation about sexuality, addiction, and violence. However, statistics indicate that that the average age of initial exposure to pornography is eleven years old. Other anecdotal evidence reports that many children see pornography as young as second grade. Clearly, if you are waiting until your kids are teenagers to talk about pornography, you are waiting far too long.
If you are squirming at the idea of talking about sex with a seven year old, though, you are not alone. While some parents do enlighten their children on sexuality at this age, other parents want to wait a little longer. So, how do you guard your young children from pornography in an age appropriate way that fits your family’s values?
What many parents do not realize is it is not necessary to talk about sexuality to teach your children about the dangers of pornography. As April Perry explains in this Deseret News article, many of the values of pornography are the antithesis of respect. Violent pornographic content, for example, is degrading to both parties, and so therefore indicates a lack of respect. To quote Perry in the article:
“You don’t have to tell a 5-year-old, ‘Pornography is graphic and violent and teaches us to disrespect each other, so we don’t look at pornography.’
Instead, try this: ‘Do we hurt each other for fun?’ No. ‘Is it funny or nice to watch other people hurting each other?’ No. Or if you’re really feeling bold: ‘What if someone tries to show you a yucky movie or pictures of people hurting each other? Is that something we should look at?’ No!”
The values we are already teaching our children (respect, kindness, integrity) are the same values that will protect them against the lure of pornography. We may have to make the connection for them, as the above quote demonstrates, but we have already laid the foundation by teaching them prosocial behavior.
Parents, guarding your young children against pornography is vital, and it’s easier than you think. Teach them to respect and care for others, maintain those values in your home, and make the connections as they grow. Then, your children will be able to not only recognize pornography, but to see why it has no place in their lives.
Block all online pornography from your home!