Porn, Kids & Other Mess: 5 Simple Ways to Help Protect Kids Today

Hey dear reader, if you popped here looking for porn, but maybe actually want to kick the habit, don’t give up! Pls check some resources on FTND here, or stories here.Ā  I also wrote this some years back. ā¤

—–

It’s been summer, Corona, lockdowns, parents stressed, and lots (Lots) of kids on screens.

Between Fortnite, Scratch, TheKidShouldSeeThis (which is brilliant but taps Youtube), TikTok it’s easy to lose track. But convenience sometimes comes with a price.

1 in 10 visitors to a porn site is under 10 years old. (2016).

How many more kids have smartphones and screen access at earlier age since 2016?

And it’s not just porn. These generations are confronted with so much.

You may say, ‘Jas, don’t worry, our security is good.’ But listen, my husband is a literal Techy and knows firsthand how hard it is to truly make a system safe, but even so, you never know what the kids see:

On a playdate,

In the playground,

At a sleepover,

During a school break when everyone is laughing and calls your kid over,
(God forbid.)

Let’s start Talking..

And I’ll say it: Porn today is NOT the porn from my day.

In the 80’s/90’s you could barely see basic sex between flips of a blocked TV channel. Or someone would rent a movie and wait for a no-parents-home party.

Now kids have 24/7 access to anything from rape, animals, incest,.. with a click, in their whatsapp, or simply looking over the shoulder of a friend.

And sites don’t wait for clicks or check age with captchas. Videos play immediately to hook everyone–it’s all about cashing in.

Porn can wreak chemical/emotional havoc on a developing brain, and adults aren’t immune.

But science and society are starting to catch up:

  • Increases in child-on-child/youth-on-youth abuse are being linked to porn exposure. (Start talking.)
  • Grooming (winning the trust of a child and often parent/caretaker, for increased access to child), can involve porn because it can desensitize a child to certain acts or requests. (Start talking.)
  • It may be fueling sexual violence in (young) adults because of the “Tolerance” problem (see amazing clip below).

So many of us have our own stories, addictions, or have experienced violations of boundaries and consent.

1 in 3 kids experience some form of sexual abuse before they are 18.*
How do you think we’d score today?

But we can do so much more than we think!

These topics can seem overwhelming or too sensitive, and Parenting is hard enough on its own without this mess. I Know. ā¤

So let’s roll our sleeves up a moment. Because 1 in 3 kids are going through something.*

From talking to kids, using regular life “teachable moments” to help them learn about body boundaries, empowerment, alerting them to porn in an age appropriate way, and asking questions at the places where you take your kids.. We’ve got this.ā™„

Here are 5 practical tips to help you start protecting kids Today.

#1. Be Strong.

Kids are going through this and worse. Be strong to start talking about it. Get informed, they need you. And you are Not Alone. (so many of us have our own stories..).

Talk, Listen, Open the Door.

The alternative is Silence, a nasty playground for Shame.

(and both give power to those seeking to exploit vulnerability..)

.. We don’t talk about that ..

.. No one will believe you anyway ..

.. This is our little secret ..

.. You’re my favorite ..

#2. Talk to kids about body boundaries and names

Kids are never too young to learn. Simple statements like, ‘your body is for you and no one else.’ -or- ‘these are your special parts (the parts under a bathing suit). No one should see or touch them without your permission.’ -and- ‘no one should show you pictures of these special parts on other people..;

Make sure kids know that while some images may be harmful for them, their Entire body is good.

Look out for Shaming in any way. ā¤

#3. Use “teachable moments’ to help empower your kids.

Bathtime, changing diapers/clothes, kids checking their parts in the mirror, with other kids, something on TV, or in a computer game (uh, did you also see the lingerie options on that Roblox fashion show game? Jsus).

Life has daily opps to help engage and empower your kids.

Take every opportunity to strengthen your kid’s sense of Self. And if you think you messed up, just check in, stay open, you will get another chance.

Practical Example of a Teachable Moment:
Q: Grandma is visiting and tries to hug child when she leaves. Child turns away. What to do?

Some cultures or traditions force kids to give hugs, kisses, physical contact, or simply do whatever Elders ask. Look out. Such traditions can railroad a child’s sense of self, consent over their body, and even value (“..nothing I say or think matters anyway”).

And God forbid anything inappropriate happened/is happening, and the child is forced to give physical contact, AAcck!

Instead:

-encourage child to use their words, e.g. say ā€˜noā€™ rather than just turn away

-ask if child wants to give “high five” instead

-model respect of child’s body and choice by affirming their decision and telling Grandparent (or any adult, older youth) that the child doesnā€™t have to give a hug if they don’t want to.

Bonus: Other kids and adults see this consent/respect (teachable moments can happen anywhere) and can learn.

-check in with the child after the adult leaves if all is ok. Why didnā€™t you want to hug? (it could be nothing of course, but it’s just good and important to keep communication open about feelings, and to help affirm body boundaries, consent and thus empowering the child).

What would you do?

Teach kids how to think, not what’s to think.

#4. Talk to kids about porn BEFORE you think you need to.

In an age appropriate way of course. How I alert my 5year old is different from a chat with my 11year old. Simple statements like: ‘if someone tries to show you images of naked people, don’t look, tell me.’ -Or – ‘If someone wants to take pictures of your body, especially parts normally under a bathingsuit, don’t do it, tell me.‘ can help.

Even if they see something, you will have planted a seed that helps them feel safe to come to you and not feel ashamed, or feel less shame.

Worst thing is kids living in fear of parents finding out, thinking parents will be disappointed, kids hiding that they are getting hooked, struggling with shame, or being afraid that parent’s will be mad and punish them. No!

Pay attention to what your kids are into, check their (whats)apps sometimes, maybe even play some of their games with them. Only when we stay engaged do we even have a clue what’s up and a chance to help catch those teachable moments.

You don’t take away a child’s innocence, you help remove their ignorance.
(via Shannon Ethridge: Every Girls Battle..)

#5. Ask questions about screenings and protocols at the schools, sports/dance/art/hobby clubs, churches, anywhere your kids are.

How are workers (including volunteers) screened? Is abuse prevention mentioned on the vacancies? Are there reference checks? Or are the organisations just happy to have anyone volunteer?

Some orgs and schools say they require police background checks. But 95% of child sexual abuse is never reported. So what else are they doing??

Check out the environment.

How does it feel? Are there clear halls, windows, doors with windows so anyone walking by can peek in? Are you allowed to stay and watch during your child’s activity?

Talk to other parents, how do they check protocols? Many aren’t thinking of these things or simply assume all is well. But sadly, wherever kids are, the danger can be.

Good screening for those coming into an organization, and clear protocols for those already inside are Critical.

Above all, keep Hope. You’re not alone. If we all do just a little, the results are far reaching.

You feel a bit more Ready? šŸ™‚

There’s more to say, but if you only take one thing: let it be this:

Your kids know they should NEVER BE ASHAMED about anything, and let them know, even if nothing has ever happened, that it’s NOT THEIR FAULT.

Because I know 1 too many stories of kids who never told because they thought their parent would be mad.

Keep strong, start talking, and make time for hugs, cuddles, and fun (with permission of course šŸ˜‰ I sincerely believe these tips will help protect not just your kids but all kids in your communities.

It takes a village, right?

ā¤


*1 in 3 kids figure includes exposure abuse and is from the Natl. Rapporteur Mensenhandel en Seksueel Geweld Tegen Kinderen/National Rapporteur Human Traffiching and Sexual Violence against Children (2014). How would we score today?

A few Great Resources:

  • Free online workshop from Little Warriors is short, excellent, and comprehensive re child sexual abuse prevention.
  • For support with the porn/ “good pictures, bad pictures” topic, this excellent (e)book is for young kids (under 10years) but great for ALL because it breaks the issue into simple to understand concepts. And is body affirming.
  • They also have a version for older kids too.
  • Check all the resources and blog from the Author/Team on Protect Young Minds.
  • Voor dat geheim ben ik te klein” / ‘That secret is too big, and I’m too small’ open doors to talk to kids about body boundaries, abuse, secrets versus surprises, the feeling of shame and ā€˜it was my own faultā€™ and the importance of telling a trusted adult. Please bug the publisher for an English version, or send thanks to the author. ā¤
    ā‡’Reach out if you have questions, or want some support. ā¤

Related Posts on ā™„inFormation:


I know this can be tough, but we can be tougher. What tips do you have? Have questions, feeling overwhelmed, or want me to cover specific issues? Drop a comment below and check also the free Prevent It online workshop (not a zoom thing) from Little Warriors.

Photo Credits:

  • Porn consumption among Youth graphic, via Bitdefender article.
  • Joseph Gordon Levitt quote, via FTND
  • We ensure the safety of our stuff, what about our kids? via Mike Pistorino.
  • Girl breaking Berlin Wall – original source uncertain
  • Be Strong coffee, via Heather Ford via Unsplash
  • Kid biking, via Michelle Bernard (Style in the Details)
  • Kid at graffiti park, via Warren Wong via Unsplash
  • Obstacle is the Path, via me @JasNotes
  • Sun in heart fingers, via pexels.
  • Fortnite Chick design, via my son
  • “This is the sign you’ve been looking for” via Kabata Tactile Treasures
  • Oil slick on pavement, via Jesse Bowser via Unsplash
  • B/W Still of Youth, via Soragrit Wongsa via Unsplash

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