Pornography: The Importance Of Talking To Your Kids

{WHO} are the main consumers of pornography?

While this might be shocking, among the most frequent consumers of pornography are males between the ages of 12 and 17. I’m sure you’re sitting there, like I once was, thinking NOT my child. Like, literally no.

Here’s the truth, good kids make bad choices, like on the daily, but what happens when good kids make bad choices without even knowing they’re bad? The only reason a child wouldn’t know pornography was bad is if WE didn’t tell them. But how? How do we start a conversation about something that might be uncomfortable to talk about? I start with age-appropriate facts, the effects of pornography on the brain.

{WHAT} are the effects of pornography?

Porn rewires your brain.

Whenever we experience something that brings us pleasure, dopamine and other chemicals are released in our brain. The release of these chemicals give us a pleasurable feeling which is meant to reinforce the behavior. Thus, a craving is created.

When neurons fire together, they wire together, and a neuropath is formed in our brain. This makes it easier for our reward circuit to release happy chemicals the next time we do the same behavior. This eventually creates a tolerance and requires more exposure for your brain to get the same response, {insert} addiction.

Similar to a drug addiction, porn creates neuropathways in the brain that require specific stimulation for sexual arousal. It’s believed that the increase in sexual-enhancement drugs is due to childhood and long-term exposure to pornography. Why? Because exposure to porn creates unrealistic sexual expectations, makes sex an act, and devalues the importance of intimacy.

While some of the effects on the brain are long-lasting (there’s just some things we can’t unsee‍), there is hope. Obviously, no exposure is best but help is available for those who have been over-exposed or have become addicted.

{WHERE} is porn typically seen?

Google porn and in .31 seconds approximately 2.12 billion websites are available. That’s more porn that one person could watch in an entire lifetime.

You think you’ve safeguarded your child’s social media? Information from their accounts is sold and tracked, information such as their age and sex. Companies buy this data and strategically place pop-up ads geared towards sexual content. Why? Because, again, males age 12-17 are the highest consumers of porn. Seem unethical? It’s the porn industry, I’m not sure they’re morally driven.

Porn is a $97 billion dollar industry that will do anything to continue to build its audience, no matter what age group they’re targeting. Pop ups are one of the most open-door opportunities for exposure.

{WHY} is it important to have a conversation about porn with with kids?

I remember our third grader getting off the bus one day, not so long ago, and boldly asking, “What’s a rim job?” After a slight {for the love of God} pause, I explained what I know to be a rim job. If I didn’t, can you imagine the Google search for that one?

Truth is, if they’re not coming to you, they’re going somewhere else. It’s as easy as a Google search to fall victim to that first exposure. One exposure leads to curiosity, curiosity killed the cat. Just sayin’.

Listen, the average age of first exposure is 11 years old. ELEVEN. It is EXTREMELY important the conversation about porn is coming from you because it’s not a matter of if your child is going to be exposed, it is a matter of when. And, do not be shy about approaching your daughters, too. One-third of all pornography users are women; it is just as important to talk to your girls about porn and its lasting effects.

{WHEN} is the right time to talk to your kids about porn?

NOW, now is the right time. There are so many resources to help. Educate yourself first. I’ve read Tough Stuff Parenting by Paul Basden and Jim Johnson for a faith-based approach on tackling the topic of porn. It’s filled with stats and facts and all things about the topic.

For younger kids, the book Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids by Kristin Jenson is an excellent way to open the conversation at a young age for boys and girls.

Most important, keep the door open and the follow-up conversations coming. I’ve always told my kids, if something comes up/pops up/shows up in your email, look away. Delete. Unfollow. It seems super simple but there is no way to prevent them from exposure. We teach proactively, by educating them on the effects of porn and then further, reactively by giving them real life ways to avoid being sucked in when exposed.

{RESOURCES FOR TALKING TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT PORN}

Tough Stuff Parenting by Paul Basden and Jim Johnson

How to Talk to Your Kids About Pornography by Educate and Empower Kids

Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain by William Struthers

Your Brain on Porn by Gary Wilson

Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids by Kristin Jenson

Summer was born and raised in the NTX area, went to college in Kansas City, and returned to TX to earn a MA in Counseling. After spending many years managing non profit programs focused on mental health, Summer left her career to be a SAHM after meeting her husband and two bonus boys. From single to stepmom, Dallas to the ‘burbs, career life to PTO prez, having a blended family would later spark a life calling to spread hope and healing. Summer now lives in McKinney TX with her husband, two bonus boys, and son Eli. Traveling, writing, and livin’ life in the crazy fill her days with the most joy.

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