5 Ways I Protect My Kids Against Today’s Plague: Pornography
Five years ago, when my kids were small, we were playing at the park. I got to talking to a mom who also had little ones. For some reason, we got on the topic of handing our kids the iPad and how it was often the magic wand to get laundry folded, dishes done, and to prepare dinner. We were kind of joking about it all, laughing and poking fun, until the conversation suddenly turned more serious. She shared that her 6 year old daughter had recently stumbled upon an explicit pornographic video which she had been watching over and over and over again for months, unknown to her parents. The mother was shocked that this could have happened. And even more shocking was that these images captured and lured in an innocent 6 year old girl. I walked away from the park that day changed forever. I had been awakened from my paralyzed state and was called into action to protect my kids from this new plague that is crippling even the smallest little souls.
Pornography is a pandemic which has hit full force, and many parents stand paralyzed. Normalcy bias is a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster and its possible effects. Instead of taking action, one is in a state of paralysis. I believe many parents experience normalcy bias when it comes to pornography. They close their eyes and turn their heads, crossing their fingers and hoping that their kids will miraculously escape it. I have also met many parents who simply believe it will never touch their child because they go to church, hold family home evening, read scriptures daily and their kids have “good friends.” While these are all good things, this belief hinders these parents from starting the conversation about pornography with their children.
To all parents, I say this; now is the time to take action! A crippling plague has entered our world and we must protect our children before they are lured in and lost! It starts today! We cannot close our eyes to this. But there is great hope and God has provided a way through His son Jesus Christ!
5 Ways I Protect my Kids Against Pornography
1. Be Rooted in Christ
And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children – Isaiah 54:1
There is power and protection to being firmly rooted in Christ. As we receive Christ into the very depths of our hearts, His Spirit awakens in us a heightened sensitivity. We have “eyes to see” such that we regard filth for what it really is and no longer desire the things of the world. We become repulsed by the world, and we begin to possess a strong appetite for things that are holy and pure and true. When this change happens, our appetites for entertainment transform and we yearn with all of our hearts to leave the world and all that is in it and enter into the presence of our Savior.
We cannot make this change, however, with one foot in the world and the other in the church. We must commit and submit to God every hour of every day. Until then, we will fall victim, along with our children, to the traps of the adversary, losing our sensitivity and discernment of the filth around us. We are ever in danger of remaining desensitized and sexualized along with the world.
Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness – LDS Bible Dictionary
Because we have been desensitized, sexualized and trained to accept the world with all its filth, we are in danger of bringing this into our homes, numb to its harm.
Just as Jesus cleansed the Temple, I imagine the Savior walking into our homes and doing the same. I see Him throwing out filthy movies, gossip magazines, children’s books with demoralizing messages, and our smart phones and devices that have taken us away from Christ in so many ways. If we want to save our children from pornography, we must cleanse our homes from it first. If we are the proverbial frog in the pot of boiling water, now is the time to jump out and save our children.
Five years ago, when I had that conversation at the park, I came home and I began to purge my home of the filth and replace it with goodness and light. I replaced gossip and fashion magazines with church publications and uplifting books. No more reality shows. Period. We cancelled our satellite TV and started editing even “good” PG family movies. Little by little, these changes have helped us come unto Christ. Today, the Spirit is dwelling in our home. Light radiates in our hearts constantly. Cleansing our home changed everything. Our home has become a sanctuary. It is sacred ground where I teach my children to be rooted in Christ all day long as we homeschool.
Teach them that their bodies are the creation of the Almighty. What a miraculous, wonderful, and beautiful thing is the human body...Our Heavenly Father placed within us the desires that make us attractive to one another, boys and girls, men and women. But with that urge must be self-discipline, rigid and strong and unbending. — Gordon B. Hinckley
In order for our children to arm themselves, we must teach what pornography is and how to respond when we see it. We must teach with love, through repetition, and with the Spirit as our guide.
What is pornography? When I asked my 5 year old at the dinner table what pornography was, he responded, “Pictures and video of naked people.” For a 5-year-old, that response is a perfect place to build upon. When I ask my 11-year-old daughter, her response is far more extensive, as it should be. Years ago I started teaching lessons about pornography during our weekly family nights. Over time, an open discussion of pornography has become a daily part of our scripture study, natural conversation, and spontaneous lessons (like when we are the grocery store and see pornographic images on magazine covers at checkout).
How do we respond when we see it? A couple months ago, we were driving downtown Portland to visit an ice cream store when we all spotted a massive billboard in front of us picturing a fully naked woman. My boys pointed with shock and called: “That’s pornography!". Pornography is webbed through every facet of this world, we must be prepared to recognize it for what it is, and act.
Saying: “That’s pornography” trains our brains to recognize the images for what they are. It calls us to action, eliminates secrecy, and helps prepare my kids for the times they will see it alone when I am not there to help them. Here you will find my favorite resource for teaching my kids what pornography is and how to respond when we see pornography.
We are created in God’s Image. As my daughter navigates puberty, she has a lot of questions. I work through her questions and often define bold words that are traditionally viewed as bad words, like “sex” and “sexuality.” If we are not direct in these vital conversations with our children, the world will do the educating for us. And the world will beat us to it. When parents find these conversations embarrassing or awkward and avoid them, the child of that parent will imitate this embarrassment when they encounter pornography. Shame and secrecy are the recipe for an addiction. Instead of hiding behind this conversation, teach truth boldly! Speak up! Emphasize to our pre-teens and teens that we are created in God’s image. All of the changes they are experiencing were made for a glorious purpose. Our sexuality is a gift from God, a gift that we hold close to our hearts with reverence. Its purpose is to strengthen marriage and draw a man and a woman closer to God as one.
Mothers have asked me when to start teaching about pornography. If you are handing your child an iPad or your smartphone, now would be a good time to start teaching in an age-appropriate way. There ads on games that appeal to youngsters, but when clicked, they lead to pornography.
While our primary effort must be to seek light and truth, we would be wise to black out from our homes the lethal bombs that destroy spiritual development and growth. Pornography, in particular, is a weapon of mass moral destruction. Its impact is at the forefront in eroding moral values. Some TV programs and Internet sites are equally lethal. These evil forces remove light and hope from the world. The level of decadence is accelerating.If we do not black out evil from our homes and lives, do not be surprised if devastating moral explosions shatter the peace which is the reward for righteous living. — Quentin L. Cook
In our home, we employ the following rules to protect our home from these bombs:
Open family spaces. Devices are only used in our open family areas where all screens can be seen. No devices are allowed in bedrooms. We have designed our home around this. Our built-in desks in the living room act as home base for the laptops and our desktop monitor faces the open kitchen.
Internet Safety. Our children’s laptops have parental restrictions so that they can only access approved websites. We can also see a report of their daily activity.
No personal smart phones. We have a designated "kid phone” that is shared by all kids and does not have internet access, apps, and games. Its only function is texting and calling. “In today’s world, I see many parents handing their child a snake. I am speaking of smartphone," said Joy D. Jones.
5. Love and Repentance
Indeed, as the popular catchphrase says, “Porn kills love,” but let’s also remember that love kills porn. — Joy D. Jones
After all my efforts to protect my children and talk with them about the dangers of pornography, our conversations always come back to Christ and His atonement. Teaching repentance brings hope. Teaching repentance also takes the edge off. I teach my children that mistakes are essential for growth and act as a tool for learning which draws us closer to our Savior. He provided the way for us. They know I am waiting with open arms to receive them and all their mistakes, just as their Savior is.
The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various writers and contributors on this website do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of The Small Seed or its staff.
Mikael lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband of 13 years and their four tow-headed kids. Several years ago, after receiving a strong impression from the Holy Spirit to homeschool her children, she immediately closed the doors of her thriving photography business and walked away from her career as a ballet instructor and choreographer to teach her children full time in her home. Believing that we are pioneers today, she gains strength from her own pioneer ancestors, one being Drucilla Hendricks, who said, “We have to make sacrifices, but if done in meekness, with an eye single to the glory of God, we will never fail to reap a rich reward.”
Mikael started a YouTube channel and an Instagram account (@Monson Schoolhouse) to bring courage to mothers receiving the same prompting to homeschool and to flood the Earth with the light of Christ.