Sometimes the media, objectification in our culture, internet safety issues, and pornography can seem overwhelming to tackle as a parent to children. Where do we start? We loved the quote from Porn Proof Kids in the article when talking about the challenging world out there, "it only gets safer for kids when we as parents face it head on with good information."
Our children will often be ahead of us when it comes to technology and apps -- they are native speakers in this digital environment, and for many of us this is a second language. So it's important to have ongoing conversations about our expectations, concerns, and reasons we have the rules we have in our families. The 'why' vs. 'what' of our family rules. Telling our kids 'what' the rules are can be easier, but less effective -- teaching the 'why' takes work but is infinitely more effective. We will likely not be able to keep ahead of technology or have perfect filtering, but we can create an open environment where our kids know they can come to us with questions, concerns or confusion. Our kids need to understand why we have the expectations that we do -- and to have built up 'internal filtering' for the times they won't be protected by external filters on computers, devices, or out with friends.
SA Lifeline Foundation offers suggestions to parents to help prevent pornography use and addiction in your children based on:
- Your ability to teach your children to have an internal filter. Parents can install internet filters and physically monitor their children, but children need to be able to make healthy choices when they are in situations where content filters or adults are not monitoring their behavior.
- Your effectiveness in teaching your children who they are and their individual worth. When children know that they are someone whom others love and respect, they are more resilient to negative influences.
- Your effectiveness in educating your children about pornography use and addiction. Children need to understand that, although pornography may seem exciting and interesting, it is showing lies about the true nature of our sexuality. It shows disrespect for healthy relationships.
- Your awareness and understanding of the basic facts about pornography use and addiction – how to safeguard against pornography, how to recognize signs of addiction, and how to find help and recovery from addiction.
Read more here.
SA Lifeline Foundation has a free downloadable "Protecting Families" manual that talks more about 'external vs. internal' filters. (An LDS version of the manual is here.)
How do you start these conversations with your kids? How do you instill 'internal filters' in your family?