How to Talk to Your Child About Pornography in the Age of Screens

Updated: Jan 15, 2019

Guest Post by Joanna Pack- Biblical Counselor- Brookstone Counseling Ministry

It used to be that the most potentially awkward conversation a parent was encouraged to have with her child was about the birds and the bees. It may have been prompted by an innocent, “where do babies come from” that sent a flustered parent searching through the library stacks or seeking the advice of more weathered parents on where to start, what to include, or what resources to use. Some parents have been more proactive, remembering how embarrassed/dismissive their parents were and so with hopes not to repeat the past, they came prepared and approached the topic with their children in age-appropriate stages.  As the topic of sex has become less taboo, parents can find many Christian resources to help guide their conversation and ease some of the awkwardness. So what might be potentially more awkward than “the talk”? Talking with your child about pornography.

It’s not that pornography has just now become accessible to children; it’s not uncommon to hear from people who stumbled upon their dad’s or a friend’s dad’s magazine stash. However, now children can stumble upon it on their friend’s devices or on their own. Will they know what to do if they do come across it? Do you know how you will react if you find out he has? Being prepared for such conversations can help us respond in grace-filled ways that point our kids to Christ who can redeem all things. The following are just a few suggestions to get the wheels turning depending on what type of conversation is needed (i.e. she comes to you with it or you make the discovery on your own):

*Start with grace: accidents happen, intentional sins also happen. Christ’s work on the cross covers all who repent.

* Let the light in: praise him for being honest and bringing it to you. Encourage on-going transparency by checking in with him and having proper boundaries around device usage, or if you’re bringing your new found revelation to her, discuss the importance of being open about it. This may be a great place to talk about how pornography is a distortion of God’s gift of sex (a blog post for another time).

*Ask and listen: if your child is purposely viewing it, ask what’s driving him to it. Is she bored? Is he stressed? Is she avoiding something else? Being a listening ear first will build credibility and trust so that you can help him brainstorm other solutions.

As the culture’s attitude towards and use of pornography has changed and increased, it is important for Christian parents to have these intentional conversations to help their children stay on a biblical and healthy path to adulthood.

This was a follow-up post to our first Equip Night of 2019: Screens. Join us February 6th for our second night, Paralyzed, where we will discuss ways to overcome fear and anxiety and stress. More info and register here:

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