Teaching children about pornography is a daunting task for any parent, but a necessary one. As a parent, you have a sacred responsibility to care for the spiritual welfare of your child. Sister Linda S. Reeves said:
“We as parents and leaders need to counsel with our children and youth on an ongoing basis, listening with love and understanding. They need to know the dangers of pornography and how it overtakes lives, causing loss of the Spirit, distorted feelings, deceit, damaged relationships, loss of self-control, and nearly total consumption of time, thought, and energy.”
Understanding how to stop evil influences from affecting your family is a noble cause and we’re here to help. Here are a few ideas on how you can protect your children and your home from pornography.
Teach Children Body Safety
When you teach your children about their bodies, you empower them. Use age-appropriate wording to talk about their bodies and the parts of their bodies that are private and sacred. Discuss the types of touching that are safe and unsafe and how no one should touch them in an unsafe way.
Knowledge of their bodies will help children begin to understand the sacredness of the body and why pornography is bad for them.
Set Spiritually-Inspired Boundaries
As a parent, you can receive revelation on how best to protect your family. Pray about what boundaries you can set when it comes to technology, media, and what sort of experiences your children participate in. Here are a few questions to ponder:
- Where will computers be located in our home?
- What type of cell phones will we give our children?
- When will we give our children cell phones?
- What types of overnight activities can our children attend?
- How will we regulate media in our home?
Have courage when setting your boundaries and enforcing them. Be open and honest with your children about why you’ve created certain rules.
Use the Turn, Run, Tell Method
In today’s world, it’s not a matter of if children will come across pornography—it’s a matter of when. Instead of crossing your fingers and hoping they don’t see it, give them the tools they need to respond if they see inappropriate images or videos. A great method is the “Turn, Run, Tell” method.
- Turn away from the bad images immediately. Don’t look at it.
- Run to a grown-up you trust.
- Tell them what happened.
Consider roleplaying with your child and practicing what they’ll say if they come across pornography.
React Without Shame
Pornography is a serious matter, but we should be careful not to overreact and shame children for pornography exposure, whether it was accidental or purposeful. Staying calm and showing an outpouring of love will help children feel more confident talking with you about pornography.
Do your best not to shame your child or make them feel like a bad person. Talk about what happened, how they felt, and what they can do in the future.
Teaching Children to Govern Themselves
We can’t always protect our children from the influences of the world, but we can teach them how to use their agency to make wise choices. Teach children correct principles about nurturing the influence of the Spirit in their lives, why pornography is dangerous, and the beauty of intimacy and their bodies. Children will be able to rely on this foundation when making choices and confronting adversity.
As hard as tackling this subject can be, we have heaven’s help. President Boyd K. Packer once said:
I promise that ahead of you is peace and happiness for you and your family. The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is that a man and his wife and their children can be happy at home. And I invoke the blessings of the Lord upon you who are struggling against this terrible plague, to find the healing that is available to us in the priesthood of the Lord.
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Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.