6 Tips for Moms on Protecting Kids from Pornography

Inside: Guarding your child’s eyes and heart is an incredibly important thing. And pornography is a scary reality for moms to have to face when it comes to raising our kids with purity. Many parents believe in protecting kids from pornography, but they’re just not sure how to do it. Let us help you in this uphill battle, as we protect our kids together.

Pornography. As I sit here and think of that word and all that it represents, my heart hurts. It hurts because of the damage that pornography has caused in so many lives. 

It hurts because of the number of people who are walking around with the silent shame and worry of others finding out. And it hurts because women’s responses to pornography have, overall, been pretty quiet.

I’m not saying totally silent, but up until recent years, it has been a “boy” issue, that “the dad” needed to deal with. If it was dealt with at all. For years, porn and looking at “dirty magazines” was a male issue and was either ignored or pretended away.

We now know that this is not just a boy issue. The amount of girls who have been searching, looking at, and becoming addicted to porn is higher than ever before and continuing to grow.

With the internet and pornography being available at anyone’s finger tips, the game has changed. All of our kids are at risk.

I read an article saying that as few as 1 in 10 teenagers think that pornography is bad. I shared this statistic with one of my teenagers and his response was, “That’s because they don’t want to feel bad about themselves—they don’t really feel like that.”

Pin: The Fight against Porn

Harmful Effects of Pornography for Kids

Studies show that pornography:

  • isolates you
  • has a negative effect on your confidence
  • devastates relationships
  • supports human trafficking 
  • is addiction forming

A counselor told us that encountering pornography on a screen is so much more damaging than the old photos in a magazine. He went on to tell us that the effect of pornography chemically alters the brain. It can have a similar effect on the brain as cocaine.

A great resource for families is Covenant Eyes. They are a website and app, calling themselves the #1 app for quitting porn. They go one step further in describing the negative effects of pornography by saying, “Viewing porn releases powerful, mood-altering chemicals that literally rewire your mind, until you crave it more than authentic human connection.”

Check out this page for their resources: Covenant Eyes

I’m not telling you these things to make you crazy and go in to control overload. It is to give you an awareness of the reality of the situation. Listed below are the strategies to put in place in the fight against porn.

6 Tips for Protecting Kids from Pornography

1. Heal Your Own Wounds

Please try to work through your own issues with pornography/sexual misconduct, and pain.

If someone has sexually abused, molested, harmed, or treated you inappropriately, please take the time to talk to someone. Specifically a counselor or trusted mentor.

If you’ve been a part of a relationship that has been betrayed by pornography, please take some time to process your pain. Talk to your counselor or mentor about how this has affected you. Work through it for you, your marriage, and for your kids. I promise it will bring freedom to areas that you didn’t know needed it, and healing in your heart.

Please hear me that this doesn’t take away personal responsibility from the offender, but it will help you to walk forward in freedom. 

Have you heard the saying, “Hurt People hurt people and Free People free people,”? Imagine the freedom you can bring when you are set free! If you have no baggage in this area, consider that a gift!

2. Be Prepared if Pornography Shows Up Before You’re Ready

Sometimes our kids find porn before we address it. Before we have a chance to come up with a plan and teach certain strategies to our kids. Protecting kids from pornography needs to be a priority for this reason.

As moms, we might be the first to “catch” our child looking at pornography, or we might find it in the history of the phone or computer. As women, we respond in many different ways. We may sometimes respond out of hurt, or fear, or knowledge, but we have to respond. Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. 

Girl sitting on bedroom floor looking at her cell phone

We have to be prepared and know how we will react/respond because there is an opportunity to talk about truth and grace. Having a plan is giving your child a shame-free “out.”

The truth will set you free, and your child could be waiting for you to find out so that they can be set free. Put yourself in their shoes. It is hard to be in the mix of something that they know is wrong, but also feels so good to them.

Most kids truly don’t want to have these secrets, and don’t want to carry the shame, but they don’t want to get in trouble. It is confusing, and adding shame to the equation will make the spiral and the hiding even worse. You can help set your kiddos free by giving them forgiveness. 

I know that it is hard, but offering grace opens up the door to freedom. We aren’t just offering grace, we are offering truth to help them be set free.

When we shine a light in the darkness, the dark has no power anymore.

3. Talk Early about Guarding Their Hearts and Eyes

I was watching the Disney channel the other day, and Mickey comes on and does a little commercial about internet safety for kids. It was well done, and talked to kids about “sticking to places that are right for you” on the internet. 

If Mickey can talk to our kids about internet best practices, then so can we.

When talking about pornography and other areas regarding sex, we have to be parents that get comfortable with being uncomfortable. We have to be willing to go there with our kids because if we don’t guide them, the world is more than happy to fill in the gaps. I promise, if we aren’t the voice teaching our kids, then someone else will.

>> Some topics are hard and uncomfortable to talk about. Pornography is one. Racism is another. Here are some tips for How to Talk to Your Kids About Racism.

You may be worried about talking about it too much and giving your kids ideas that they wouldn’t have had on their own.

Would it surprise you to know that the average age kids are seeing pornography is 3rd grade?

My son was standing in the car line, in 3rd grade, and another classmate showed him videos on his phone. A friend told me that her son was given a note with porn sites to look up when he was in 2nd grade. 

We have to be prepared for protecting kids from pornography, whether we are ready or not.

Nicole Sniff, Just Homemaking

This information doesn’t give us license to control more, but reminds us to have a plan. Our kids need to know that we know. Our kids need to know that they don’t have to carry this alone. You can’t keep them from seeing porn on their friend’s phone, but you can help them not feel shackled with the responsibility of hiding it.

There is a book called, Good Pictures, Bad Pictures that discusses the ideas that kids need a plan. 

“Turn, Run, & Tell” is the mantra that this book teaches, and it is a great starting point for discussing these things with your kids.

>> Read Also: To the Mom Dealing with the Difficult Child– Parenting is hard and we all go through difficult seasons with our kids. Here are 7 real life tips for navigating challenges and finding encouragement.

4. Talk Often about How Kids Can Protect Themselves

My husband and I have learned over the years that talking about things like porn, lust, and sexuality is not just a one-time conversation. It is important to have these conversations to open a door. And to keep that door open.

An open door is an open door. When you’ve done the uncomfortable work of opening the door, keep it open and keep walking through it. It gets easier and feels less awkward over time. 

The open door goes both ways and your kids need to know that they can talk to you unashamed.

Mom snuggling son on the couch as he holds a cell phone

It builds trust. It creates a bond.

Offering grace and a safe place to talk is also a gift that will help your kids in future relationships. Knowing that they don’t have to create a cycle of hiding and covering-up will help them to learn healthy patterns of open communication.

I asked my three oldest boys what they wish they would have known about pornography and what they would change about how we addressed the issue. Here is what they had to say:

  • “I wish I would have known sooner that I wouldn’t get in trouble. It was secret and I felt bad. I didn’t want to feel bad, but I also knew it was wrong.”
  • “I guess I wish I would have known there was grace there.”
  • “I knew what I was doing was wrong, but even if you would have talked to me and given me an out, I still would have looked as much as I could. So, I would tell parents to get really good controls on all of your computers and devices.”

I’m not writing this article because I think I did this perfectly. Quite the opposite, actually! We had to learn the hard way.

My boys helped me process as I was writing this. I’m thankful that we’ve come a long way. I hope it reminded them that the door is open, that there is grace for them. It reminded me that there is plenty of grace for us as moms.

5. Know There are Ways Around Your Safeguards

As parents, we have to be diligent with what we let our kids see. Some practical safety measures to fight against porn are:

  • You can put controls on your computer and only you have the password.
  • The Bark app “is a parental control phone monitoring app to help keep kids safer online.”

Please remember, we can’t rely on these precautions to do all the work for us.

One of my kids typed the word “sex” into the search engine of a phone at Target. There aren’t parental controls on the Target phone. 

Be aware that your kids can ask Siri to show them inappropriate content without even unlocking your phone.

If your Alexa has a screen, it can, and will, show pornographic material if asked. Those images that come up are not beautiful pictures of how God created sex to be between a husband and a wife. The images are graphic, violent, and degrading.

boy sitting on his bed as he looks at his cell phone

>>As moms, we can place a lot of blame on ourselves. If you are Dealing with Mom Guilt, read this and learn how to ditch it once and for all!

6. Most Importantly, Point Your Kids to Jesus

Porn-addiction might not be your struggle, but as Romans 3:23 reminds us: “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Please remember to deal with pornography like you would want your sin to be dealt with. Truth and grace go together. 

No one is perfect.

Let’s tell our kids and ourselves this quote from author Jennie Allen:

We are not subject to our behaviors, genes, or circumstances. We are not subject to our passions, lusts, or emotions. We are not subject to our thoughts. We have a choice because we are conquerors who possess weapons to destroy strongholds.

Jennie Allen

That’s why we serve a God who gives us the Sword of the Spirit, and the Holy Spirit to guide us on this journey.

>>Read Raising Kids with Strong Faith for more tips on raising disciples.

When we pray over our kids, lets not just pray against the evil of pornography, but let’s pray that they desire Jesus more than this world. 

  • Let’s help them to memorize the word of God and that they would live out Psalm 119:11, that they will hide The Word in their hearts so they won’t sin against God.
  • We can remind our kids of Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
  • Let’s pray that God will give them pure minds and pure hearts.
  • And let’s pray that our kids know that they can never step outside of God’s amazing love for them. That they are forgiven whenever they ask, and loved more than they can ever imagine.

Then, let’s help them find mentors, accountability, and controls on their devices that will help and encourage them to steer clear from pornography.

Final Thoughts on Protecting Kids from Pornography

Teaching our kids about pornography is not something to fear, but another opportunity to build our relationships with them, and ultimately to lead them to Jesus. We can do our best at protecting kids from pornography, and give the rest to God.

Be encouraged, Friends: God is bigger than anything on the internet. Have a plan and give grace. He has the rest!

Read Also:

Open Letter to My Teenage Son Raising teenagers is tough. Read these honest thoughts from a mama to her firstborn.

How to be a Good Christian Mom Are you doing all of these 10 things to be the best Mom you can be? I’ve learned from the best and put together this list.

When Should I Get My Child a Phone? Check out these questions you should be asking yourself to determine whether or not your child is ready for his or her first phone. A free printable cell phone contract is included in this post if you decide the time is right.

When You Have a Teenager Struggling with Faith Just like us adults, kids will have moments of a faith crisis. Read these 4 tips for helping them through it.

Pep Talk for Mamas Going Through a Hard Season in Parenting Some stages are harder than others. Wherever you are in your parenting journey, know that you’re not alone!

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Protecting Kids From Pornography

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