5 Things Parents Need to Know About Porn and Kids

I spent several days doing educational trainings for Dove’s Nest, speaking to 3-5th graders, junior high and high schoolers, parents and church leaders on porn, porn addiction, and kids. From the many conversations and questions that were asked, here are 5 essential things parents should know about porn and kids.

  1. The average age kids come across porn is before 10 years old. It’s not just the Playboy magazines I found in the basement of my friend’s house when I was that age. It’s hard core, photos or videos of sex acts that kids come across, whether they intend to seek it out or not.
  2. Porn talk is rampant where kids are. I heard terms on the playground at my elementary school and wondered what they meant. That was before the internet. Now, porn talk and jokes are readily passes around on the playground, on the bus, or at a friend’s house and kids may or may not know what they means. In one school where I worked, a second grader told another girl he wanted to “F” her. He thought it meant kissing. A sixth grader I recently talked to said he hit a kid for spreading porn jokes around about his sister who was in 3rd grade. Both of these incidences happened in small, rural elementary schools.
  3. Kids go to Google and Youtube to look up things they don’t know. Kids don’t want to look stupid and they’re naturally curious. That term I didn’t know in elementary school remained a mystery to me because I didn’t have the internet to tell or show me what it was. Kids automatically know how to look up ANYTHING they don’t know or are curious about, not understanding how damaging the answer may be. Kids search on a phone or tablet for porn words they hear and are readily introduced to photos or videos of porn. 
  4. Kids need to know what to do if they come across images or hear things that make them feel uncomfortable or unsafe. This information needs to come from you. It’s possible to age-appropriately talk to your kids about inappropriate images without sharing more information than what you want them to know. When girls in scant bikinis are full screen during sporting events, on music videos or TV shows, talk with your kids about why you may turn away that commercial and how those images aren’t “appropriate” for young ages. Kids get it. Then you can easily open a discussion about why it’s important to do similar things when kids come across images where people’s bodies aren’t covered like they should be for other’s eyes to see. Take the next step to say, Sometimes you might see pictures or videos like that on an app. When you do, you can:
    • Look away.
    • Close your eyes.
    • Shut it off.
    • Tell an adult.
      • The above suggestions came directly from 3rd-5th graders. They know what to do. They are right.
  5. Kids want you to talk about this stuff. I spoke to 8-11 year olds about this topic for 90 minutes. Kids talked. I talked to teens about porn. More than one said, “Thank you for talking about this.” One of my own kids said, “They (younger kids) need to know what it is.” I’m a boy mom 3x. We’ve had these conversations. They are hard. But the are a must.

Why? Kids will come across images, words, and jokes and they will be curious. They also don’t want to be outed as not knowing.

What can parents do?

  • Let your kids know they can ask you anything.
  • Don’t freak out when they ask you.
  • Have honest, hard conversations with them when topics come up.
  • Give them the tools to respond and the moral reasons why before they rely on natural curiosity and the morals of others or the porn industry. Porn consumption shapes believes and assumptions in a child’s brain they are not equipped to handle.
  • Be brave. You can have these awkward conversations with your kids. It’s essential, not just for protection from porn but also grooming and sexual abuse. Child on child perpetration is increasing because some kids who see porn are acting it out. Your kids need to know they can talk to you about anything.

For more information on the connection between social media, porn, and sex trafficking, read more here.

Three resources to equip you about this topic are Protect Young Minds, Covenant Eyes, and Fight the New Drug.

If you’d like to bring these discussions to your school, church, or community agency, contact Dove’s Nest 

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