My kid drops a piece of toast on the floor. You bet he’s going to pick it up and use it. The 5-second rule is applied …ignorance is bliss.
Never mind the average kitchen floor contains 860 bacteria/square inch!
Knowledge is power …until panic sets in!
To be honest, I’m not too concerned about toast on the floor. But when something really threatens my child’s health and safety I want to be in the know! Easy access to online pornography is such a threat. But sometimes knowing the issue can send us into panic mode. What can we do to stay calm?
In this post Jennifer Bowden, blogger and mom to three young children, tells us how she feels about the threat of online porn. The text below has been adapted from her own blog at awe-inspireme.com
The Porn Tsunami
At 16 years old, I learned that anyone is capable of allowing their mind to go to terrible places. The realization of this truth came quickly and suddenly as my eyes scanned over the illicit content in the history on my family’s computer.
It seems obvious now, but at the time, it was shocking that someone whom I loved and trusted, someone who belonged to my own family, could search for and revel in things that not only mocked genuine love and connection, but also the moral values we had always discussed and upheld as a family.
Porn. I despise it. Hate the way it twists sex —something that should be healthy, and noble, and all-round great— into an ugly perversion; a dark shadow of what sex could and should be.
As a young mother of three preschoolers I feel like I’m standing on a beach watching a tsunami about to crash down. And all the desperate clutching in the world to the tiny souls that have been entrusted to me will not lessen its impact.
Knowledge can be tough
The search history she discovered on the family computer belonged to her younger brother. A habit, she later discovered, which began when he was only 8 years old! She admits it’s been painful to watch him struggle with addiction over so many years.
Can you feel Jennifer’s anxiety? Knowing can sometimes feel like a burden too heavy to carry. Knowledge hurts so much more when the heartache is close to home. Don’t we wish it were as simple as dusting off a fallen piece of toast?
As tough as it seems, there is hope!
They say we’re doing the right things.
We are open and candid about questions relating to the body. We are very conscious of the media we view, and when our children are exposed to anything porn-ish (advertisement, etc.) we carefully explain that we do not appreciate the image because it does not show respect for the body or the character of the individual depicted in it.
Plus, we are utilizing the following three steps to help our kids install their own built-in pornography filters:
- Define the word pornography.
- Explain that viewing pornography can hurt their brain (just like drugs).
- Create an action plan to use when they see sexually explicit media.
At ten months old, our youngest is a little young to be digesting all of this … but they tell us she’ll get there.
So why do I feel so terrified about the above-mentioned tsunami?
Because it’s a tsunami!!!!!!
Finding ‘the calm’ in knowledge
The turning point for Jennifer was when her grandmother offered this comforting advice: “Focus your energy on the part of the problem you CAN control.” After pondering that nugget of wisdom, Jennifer went from feeling paralyzed with fear to actively seeking ways to modify her own behaviour for the benefit of her children.
Her post got me thinking more too. I wanted to dig deeper into this tsunami metaphor. As I did a little research, I discovered that the effects of pornography not only mirror the destructive aspects of a tsunami, but the strategies used to manage both forces are quite similar as well. Watch this short video, How tsunamis work to see if you can spot the parallels.
At the end of the video (min. 2:40) the narrator mentions 3 strategies that have been recently developed to help minimize future devastation from this force of nature. These include:
- Stop the water. In more populated areas, seawalls and floodgates have been erected to block the full force of the tsunami wave.
- Early detection efforts. Scientists diligently monitor underwater pressure and seismic activity to identify potential dangers.
- Global communications. When a danger or disturbance in the ocean is identified, immediate communication is sent out to observation centres around the world.
The full force of a tsunami is impossible to stop (Sound familiar?). But you can imagine how these combined efforts have the potential to save thousands of lives. Likewise it is possible to protect children from pornography even when there is no way to prevent exposure. Let’s apply the same 3 principles here:
- Use filters. To minimize the impact of pornography in the home, parents need to ensure that filters are installed on every device. Remember that filters alone are not enough. No filter can stop all pornographic content. But filters are the first step in preventing a child’s accidental exposure to porn.
- Define pornography. Because pornography can strike without warning, children need to be able to recognize dangerous content as soon as it appears. When children have a clear definition of what pornography is, they are better prepared to reject it.
- Create an action plan. As Jennifer mentioned above, kids need to know exactly what to do when they see pornography. Talk to your children openly about the dangers of pornography. Remind them to tell a trusted adult every time they encounter inappropriate content.
Keep in mind that these strategies work best when used in combination. Together they create a secure plan. But there’s one crucial step we’ve left out. No plan is complete without it.
When a tsunami wave appears you must get to higher ground AS FAST AS POSSIBLE.
Teach children that pornography can appear without warning. It can happen at home, at school or when they are with friends. Remind children the safest course of action is always to look away as fast as possible —no matter when or where the exposure occurs.
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Many times as parents we can feel paralyzed with fear thinking about the “bad things” that can reach our kids. We may feel like we would rather burry ourselves in ignorance. But the threat of pornography is too powerful. We have to fight back with power of our own. Knowledge is power!
Share this article so that more families can know how to protect children from the destructive force of pornography. Also, please don’t hesitate to send us your questions and concerns! We love to laugh, cry and celebrate with you. It’s our goal to support one another as we all work towards the same objective.
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