No matter how locked down your home is, your child will inevitably have another kid at school say, “Hey look at this!” while holding out their mobile phone or other mobile device.
Did you know that most porn is viewed through mobile devices? Knowing that mobile devices are the biggest threat to your child, here are a few ways to help your child navigate the potential hazards of exposure through friend’s mobile device.
1. Anticipate exposure. Almost every child will be exposed to pornography in one form or another. Teach your child what pornography is and that they will likely be accidentally exposed. Teach them that exposure will hurt them, and they need to have a plan for when it happens to make sure they can heal from the experience.
2. Role-play. Practice different scenarios with your child. For example, hold out a mobile device and say, “Hey, look at this!” Have your child practice asking, “What is it?” before they will look. Role-play when they come across it on a school computer. What do they do? Some options might be shutting down the computer, standing up and telling the teacher, closing their eyes and raising their hand, etc.
3. Continue layered, ongoing conversations about pornography. Children will be more likely to tell you about their exposure to pornography if it is an open topic at your house.
4. Stay calm and help your child sort through their feelings. When your child comes to you and tells you they have been exposed to pornography make sure to stay calm. Do not shame them, tell them they are bad, or any other negative reaction that might cause them to isolate rather than open up. Remember that they will have feelings of confusions, disgust, sadness AND they will also have feelings of excitement and curiosity about what happened. Make sure to talk about the range or their feelings and that those emotions are all normal. Point out that while pornography is a distorted, sad, scary fake portrayal of sex. Sex between a mom and a dad is nothing like that. The exciting feelings come from the natural desire to be a married. The sick, ugly feelings come because pornography doesn’t represent reality.
For more about how to help your child avoid addiction, a free webinar is available at Addo Recovery.