“LOOK AWAY” – 3 Ways To Keep Your Teens From Porn

 

Screen

In the world we live in today, it’s a likely reality that your children will inevitably see porn one day – but whether or not they take a second look, or ever seek it out, is a decision only they can make. There is so much you as a parent can do to equip them to make the choice to look away. Here are our top 3 things every parent needs to do with their teens.

1. Teach them to avoid soft porn

2. Study the effect pornography has on the brain

3. Dialogue

Soft porn

How do you define soft porn? Partial sexuality and nudity. It’s literally everywhere. This includes some of the newest Guess brand ads, teen flick sexual encounters and even the lyrics of roughly half the top 40 songs charting the billboards. The trouble with soft porn is quantity and availability, and that it’s a precursor to hard porn. It’s a lot harder to avoid it than it is to consume it, which is a problem most parents never had in their teen years.

The scientific impact of porn

Knowing the effect of casual and frequent sexual exposure is crucial for your teen to understand. While adults [hopefully] have a sense of the danger pornography poses to all of our mental health, most teens do not, unless they’ve been specifically taught. When children are little, it can be cumbersome to answer this frequent question: “why??”. But as a teen, they need to know exactly “why” not to look at porn (and honestly, even much sooner than their teen years). This is not a scare tactic – this is reality. This is real life, and pornography has devastating effects on the brain of it’s consumers.  It literally is a drug. (We have links below for a few places you can get this information)

Dialogue

Keeping the lines of communication open with your teens is one of your best bets. But it’s tricky. If they tell you they’ve been secretly watching dirty movies for the last 2 years, now is not the time to yell and express your disapproval at their horrible choices. If they tell you they don’t know a single friend at school who is a virgin, your displeasure at their ‘loose’ friends will only further distance them. If you’re frightened and completely clueless about what they are telling you, breathe. Ask for a raincheck, and whatever you do, don’t forget to follow up as soon as possible. Pray, talk to your spouse, phone a friend, research. Do whatever you need to do to be equipped to handle the information they are telling you. Why? Because you as a parent need to be the absolute safe-haven for your teens. If you react out of emotion or disappointment, they clam up, and it’s hard to re-earn their trust. When your teens feel comfortable enough to trust you with their deepest struggles and concerns, there are a few things they need from you:

  1. Calm. Because we serve a God who works all things together for good, we CAN keep our cool
  2. Empathy with where they are coming with. Even if you disagree, their emotions and feelings are real, and call for your respect
  3. Give them grace, not condemnation, no matter how badly they messed up
  4. Pray, and think through a healthy consequence and plan of action (obviously depending on what they share)

We can summarize it this way: you are coming shoulder to shoulder with them – not being their friend – but being their supportive parent and mentor.

Resources:

For parents, we highly recommend reading Hooked: New Science on how Casual Sex is Affecting our Children, and with your teens, head over to Fight the New Drug. This HERE is great for understand the damage porn does to the brain. For a social justice angle, check out this article from Relevant highlighting research from John Hopkins University that links the sex trafficking industry to pornography.

Pornography addictions are rampant, and they’re difficult to recover from. Your goal as a parent should be to prevent an addiction from ever forming. We hope this article gave you some ideas, and please: let us know if we can help you. It’s a tough area to navigate, and we want to be a resource for you!

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Katherine Harley, GOV Team Member

Katherine Harley, GOV Team Member

Katherine has volunteered with the Generations of Virtue team for the past ten years. Currently she serves as the Director of Marketing and is a bold and passionate speaker and advocate for this message of sexual integrity and purpose. Katherine lives in Colorado with her husband and son.
Katherine Harley, GOV Team Member

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