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

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

Between Fortnite, Scratch, TheKidShouldSeeThis (which is brilliant but taps into Youtube), TikTok it’s easy to lose track.. but convenience doesn’t always come without a price:

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

How many kids have smartphones and screen access at increasingly early ages since 2016?

And it’s not just porn. These generations are confronted with so much. (yes, I’m going to get my hands dirty on the blog..).

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 (unless you want to pay for a service) 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.)

We have to 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.

Today kids have 24/7 access to anything from rape, animals, incest and other abuse with the type of a few letters, click of a link, or simply looking over the shoulder of a friend, or getting a video in their Whatsapp.

And sites don’t wait for clicks or captchas. Videos play immediately to hook viewers, regardless of age or gender, to cash in eventually.

Porn can wreak chemical/emotional/self-esteem havoc on a developing brain (adults are not immune). And this:

  • Increases in child-on-child/youth-on-youth abuse are starting to be linked to porn exposure. (people start talking)
  • Grooming, which involves winning the trust of a child, and often their parent/caretaker, to gain increased access to a child, can involve porn. It can help desensitize a child to certain acts or requests. (people start talking)
  • I wonder if it’s fueling sexual violence in (young) adults, not to mention the “Tolerance” problem surging continuously extreme porn. (people, start talking)

Excellent clipā‡“ on “Tolerance.” (when your body/brain no longer derives the same “high” from the same amount of a source and increasingly more is needed).

So many of us have our own stories, addictions, have experienced violations of boundaries, consent, straight up abuse.. How much light and healing can come when we start talking?

1 in 3 kids experience some form of sexual abuse (which includes porn exposure) before they are 18.

That figure is from 2014 (Natl. Rapporteur Mensenhandel en Seksueel Geweld Tegen Kinderen). How do you think we’d score today?

I work on child sexual abuse prevention strategies.

These topics can seem overwhelming or too sensitive, especially if we’ve been through stuff ourselves. And Parenting is hard enough on its own without this mess. I Know. ā¤

But Take Heart! We can do a lot.

From being strong, to 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 much worse. Be strong to start talking about it, anything. Get informed, roll your sleeves up, they need you. (and let’s face it, so many of us have our own stories..). You Are Not Alone.

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 regular opps to help engage and empower your kids.

Take every opportunity to strengthen your kid’s sense of self and empowerment. And if you’re not sure what to do, or think you messed up, check in with them, and be confident that you will get another chance.

Here’s a 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 just do whatever elders ask. But 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, the child experiences their parent force them to give further contact, or not act or stand up for them at all. Sh*t.

Instead:

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

-ask if the 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 child doesnā€™t have to give hug if they don’t want.

Bonus: Other kids and adults can see this consent/respect, these interactions/teachable moments can happen anywhere.

-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 5 year 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/feel less shame. (I bloody hate 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, or being afraid that parent’s will be mad and punish. No!

Pay attention to what your kids are into, what apps, games, ..maybe even play. Only when we stay engaged do we even have a clue and a chance to help guide and catch those teachable moments.

You may feel you take away a child’s innocence, but you actually help remove their ignorance. (via Shannon Ethridge: Every Girls Battle..)

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

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

They do police background checks? 95% of child sexual abuse is never reported, so, uh, no.

When you’re in the place with the kid, 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?

Talk to other parents, how do they check, what screenings do other orgs/schools/clubs/churches use? Many aren’t thinking of these things or assume all is well. But sadly, wherever kids are, this danger can be.

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

ā‡’Reach out if you have questions, or want some support. ā¤

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

So, you feel a bit more Ready? šŸ™‚

There’s more to say, but if you only take one thing: Let your kids know they should NEVER BE ASHAMED about anything (how they feel, what they may have seen, what they may have done, what may have happened to them (God Forbid)), and let them know, even if nothing has ever happened, that it’s NOT THEIR FAULT.

It’s important kids and youth hear this, especially if nothing happened, so that seeds of love and truth are planted in their hearts and can help protect them God Forbid anything does goes wrong.

Because I know 1 too many stories of someone who Never Told because they thought their parents would be furious, ashamed and blame them.

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¤


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¤

Related Posts on ā™„inFormation:


Want to share or get support on these topics? Have questions, feeling overwhelmed, or want me to cover specific issues? Drop a comment below, oand/or check the free Prevent It online workshop (not a zoom thing, just you on your own time) 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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