Mama’s what I’m about to share pulls at my heartstrings and forms knots in my stomach. I feel I must share it because chances are, this exact same issue will come up in your home.
You could be like me, and think that it wouldn’t happen yet…but trust me. It can…and it will.
Last week, as I was working, one of my children asked if they could look on Amazon. (All of my kids love to go there and add items to their wish list.) As soon as the question was asked, I felt that I should say no. But I justified it. This child had done all the necessary chores, reading time, etc. that was required before they could play or go on any type of electronic device. I felt that I had been saying “No” too many times lately so instead, I said yes. This was my first mistake. I know that “feeling” was God telling me no. It was my warning, and I ignored it.
First off, let me start by saying that we have rules when it comes to electronics. Pretty strict rules if I might add.
I limit the use to a bare minimum. Literally…my kids can play games about twice per week, for maybe 30 minutes. They are only allowed to use an electronic device if their Dad or I am in the room with them. No google searches. No YouTube videos.
The rules were being followed to a “T.”
But in this case, it didn’t prevent what was about to happen.
My child plopped down on my bed, which is near my office and started looking for different toys that they like. I worked as he told me about all of the cool things he was seeing and how he wanted to save up his money for these items.
I stepped into the kitchen to get one of my other children a drink and when I came around the corner, to head back to my office, my son had a very serious look on his face. I knew instantly that something was wrong.
So, I asked him. He responded by pulling me by the hand and asked me to hurry and come in the room.
Instantly, I knew what he was going to say.
“Mom, I just saw a picture of a naked girl.”
My heart dropped.
He cried, worried that he’d be in trouble.
I asked what happened and he told me.
Turns out, he was just looking for a character that he knew about and loved from one of his favorite cartoon shows. As he scrolled through the options, suddenly a naked poster of this character popped up as an option to buy.
I asked what he did when he saw it.
My heart was relieved to hear that immediately upon seeing it, he swiped up on the screen to get it off the image so no one would see it if they turned it back on. Then he shut off the screen and slammed it face down on my bed and came and got me immediately.
But my heart still hurt and I was angry, but not at him. WHY does this have to happen to children at such a young age? Why is pornography rampant in our society and viewed as something that is ok or even good?
I’ll tell you why, because Satan wants us to be addicted. He wants to plant these images into young minds so that as they get older, they have no self-control. So they can’t form real, loving relationships with people. So that they’ll be a slave to him. He wants them and he’s going to fight hard for them.
So we have to fight even harder.
And trust me when I say, I WILL fight harder.The enemy is not fighting you because you're 'weak. He's fighting you because you're strong. Click To Tweet
We had a good talk about what had happened and about how proud I was that he didn’t continue looking at the screen.
Then he said, “Mom, I’m so glad we have had THAT talk about Pornography for Family Home Evening a few times. It taught me what to do when something comes up. If you hadn’t taught me, I might have been wondering what the picture was and why it was there, and I would have kept looking.”
Now that made me happy.
I’m going to back up a bit and share something I haven’t really shared before. You see, this isn’t the first time we’ve had this issue.
A few years ago, I had felt like I needed to talk to my oldest son about sex. But he was 8 at the time, so my conflicted heart didn’t want him to grow up. I wanted him to be young and innocent. So, I kept putting “the talk” off.
Well, turns out, he had been hearing about sex from friends and he’d seen the word on magazines at the checkout stand in numerous stores, but he didn’t know what it meant. He’d always heard that google had the answers, so he looked there. Luckily blocks were in place and he saw nothing. But still…he could have.
When I found out, initially I was mad. How could he try looking at that? Why didn’t he come to me instead?
But before my husband and I talked with him, we decided to slow down and pray. In that moment I felt peace and understanding and I was ultimately grateful this had happened. 1.He didn’t see anything he shouldn’t have and 2. We now had the chance to talk to him and teach him what we wanted him to learn, not what the world wanted him to learn.
So, his Dad and I sat down with him and immediately had “the talk.” We told him about how sex, is NOT a bad thing. That when used within the bonds of marriage, it is a beautiful and powerful thing. We told him about pornography and about respecting our body and others as well. We told him that there are people out there that want us to believe that pornography is good. We taught him that he can ALWAYS come to us for questions. NO matter what the topic is.
In the end, it was a great learning experience, for him and for us.
It taught me that I need to be vigilant.
“The world will teach our children if we do not, and children are capable of learning all the world will teach them at a very young age. ” – Rosemary M. Wixom
So, how can we be vigilant teachers to our children?
1. Don’t Be Naive
This will happen to you. At least one of your children will see pornography in their life, and it’ll probably be well before their teen years. There were a few different studies that I read that stated that the average age in which a child first sees pornography is 11 years old! But it also stated that with the use of so much technology, that age is dropping rapidly.
Trust me when I say this will happen to you. It is not a matter of IF, but WHEN.
So, get it in your brain now. What will you do when it happens? How will you respond to the situation?
The way you respond will have the most impact on your kids.
If we had charged into the room, yelling at our son (like my first instinct wanted to do) I guarantee he would have closed up and not listened to a word we said. Instead, we used it as a learning/teaching moment and let him know he was not a bad kid. He was a typical kid who was interested in learning something. Now he knows to come to us first when he wants to learn something.
He also learned that if he chooses to continue to look at pornography, now that he knows what it is, then that WOULD be bad. This one act was one of innocence, but from now on, he knows right from wrong. So the ball is in his court…what is he going to decide to do, now that he knows the difference?
You’ll be amazed at how much our kids WANT to do what is right. They just to be given the chance to show that you’ve taught them well and that they can follow your teachings.
2. Start Teaching Them While They Are Young
When the first issue happened a few years ago, our twins were almost three years old. But they heard the same lesson as their older siblings. They know that pornography is something bad. They are just 5 years old now, but when they see pictures of women who are pretty much naked, on magazine covers and T.V. commercials they point out to me that the person isn’t modest and then they look away.
Just yesterday, we went shopping in the mall and walked by Victoria Secrets. Right in the window was a huge image of six women, dressed in lingerie. My twin boy saw it first and then warned his siblings, not to look that direction.
Some might say that is overboard and that my kids are sheltered.
I would have to disagree.
Seeing these bodies all over the place is exactly why our society is so desensitized when it comes to pornography. It starts small and then gradually builds until it becomes an addiction.
I want my kids to respect people and respecting the body definitely comes with that. I want young men who date women and treat them with respect. I want my boys to view women as something special, not as another object to play with. I want to raise girls who associate with guys who show them respect. I want them to be women who know who they are and to be strong and courageous in their virtue. And if I’m honest, I want my daughters to treat a man’s body with just as much respect as I expect my boys to. I also want my sons to be virtuous and respect their body.
If I want this, I HAVE to teach them young, while their minds can be molded into the proper beliefs that we, their parents have, not that society has.
I found a really good book that you can read WITH your children, while they are young, to teach them about pornography and what to do when they see it. It also talks about how it makes our brain work and the effects of it. Basically, it is a must have tool if you’re wanting an effective, but easy way to talk to your kids.
3. Talk to Them Often
My husband and I make it a priority to talk specifically about pornography, in what we call Family Home Evening. Each week, we meet as a family and have a quick lesson, on whatever we feel our kids need to learn and then a family activity, like a board game, quad ride or trip to the park and then a treat to follow. So, for a few years now, we’ve talked about it at least twice per year, as a group.
Besides that, I talk to them in informal ways. Every now and then, I’ll casually ask them individually, if they’ve seen anything they’d like to share. Has anything ever popped up on the computer? Have their friends tried to show them anything? Does anyone they’re around, talk about sex? How do they react to it when it is brought up by friends? Do they have questions about anything else they’d like to know about?
The more often you can talk to them, the more often they will feel comfortable coming to you when they really do have questions. Sex won’t become this subject that is taboo, it’ll become something sacred and real and they’ll be taught by YOU instead of their peers.
Most of what I knew about sex, I knew from friends, and let me just tell you, that was NOT the best way to learn. Society tends to pervert and degrade sexuality and that’s the last thing I want my kids learning.
4. Be Proactive
Besides talking to your kids about it, you need to safeguard your home from the threat.
You wouldn’t let a burglar just waltz right in your home right?
You’ve put locks on your doors and windows. Or you may have an alarm system. Some of you may even have a weapon handy, just in case, a burglar does make it in.
We need to take these same precautions when it comes to pornography.
You can buy software that blocks images and websites from coming up on computers, tablets, and phones. Your computer also comes with blocks. If you set an account up for children, then you can mark it as children and they’ll automatically be safeguarded from many things. You can get passwords for the T.V. tablets, phone and computer.
Also, educate yourself. Get the facts. I think as you learn more about it, you’ll realize what a pandemic this really is in our society. A great resource is Fight the New Drug. Their goal is to educate people about the harmful effects of pornography and to help those who’ve been affected by it.
However, no matter how much we’ve secured our home or car from theft, sometimes a burglar still comes in. You’ve probably taught your kids what to do if someone were to break into your home.
The same thing applies here. Even with all the safeguards you’ve put up, your kids can still be exposed to pornography. That’s why you have to teach them what to do when it does happen.
Be proactive and you’ll always be a step ahead.
5. Get His Help
Trust me when I say you cannot do this alone. You need help and guidance from your Higher Power. He wants your children to grow up and have loving, healthy relationships. He wants you to succeed on this journey called parenthood and He also wants your children to succeed too.
He will let you know exactly what to teach, when to teach it and how to teach it.
I know without a doubt, that if I would have handled our first encounter with anger and disappointment, then my kids would not be as teachable as they are right now. The situation with my son and the naked image he saw the other day, could have ended up completely different. God spoke to me and told me exactly how to handle it and I’m so glad that I was humble enough, in that moment, to listen.
So, let Him guide you. Don’t try and do this alone.
With His help, we will win this war.