I don’t normally ask for people to read my blog. Like I don’t think I’ve asked ever. Well I am asking anyone who has kids, knows kids, or generally thinks miniature human beings are worthwhile to read this post. This post is not about convincing you to buy this book (although I do highly recommend it especially for younger kids) but to add to the conversation about the damage that pornography is inflicting on society as a whole. Not just adults but younger and younger demographics of kids. We aren’t just talking about damaging perceptions of sexuality and relationships, we’re talking physical damage to developing brains. Yikes.
It has been something I’ve been wondering about for a long time: “How do I help my 7 1/2 year old boy be aware of porn (which, statistically, he should be exposed to any minute now despite my best efforts) when he doesn’t really even know the full mechanics of sex.” He’s a farm boy, he gets the general idea I’m sure, but we haven’t had “the talk” about Mommies and Daddies (because we are Christian and believe in abstinence until marriage) and human sexuality. This book was perfect for us, because it doesn’t delve into the specifics of pornography. It was non-threatening and easy to introduce. Please remember that this book is written to be a tool to start a conversation with your kids. It is very simplistic and the framework of “reading about a Mom talking to her son while you have the exact same conversation with your child as you read” might seem odd. For my son it was a great way to approach the topic and start talking about a subject that I’m sure will come up a lot over his adolescent years. And I’m thinking it will be a good fit for my daughters too, when they are old enough…because pornography is an increasingly dangerous thing for little girls too.
The book outlines just enough to let a kid know when they see something that could be pornography without being explicit (people with few or no clothes on especially acting violently towards each other, although they are quick to point out that naked human bodies in a science book is different. I would add that a discussion of art and the human form would be very appropriate here, depending on the values of the given family). It focuses on how it makes the kid feel when they see it: is it embarrassing and exciting at the same time? Does it make them feel icky or curious or both? Then the book discusses how we have two major parts of our brain and how pornography affects one, eliciting a chemical response that can be damaging if triggered repeatedly. Finally it gives an action plan for the child to deal with exposure when (not really an if) they see porn.
I’m not debating the right of this particular industry to exist. I would contend that it is not healthy for anyone of any age but that’s not the reason for this post. My reason for teaching my children about this increasingly prevalent force in society is because as children they are not developed enough to handle pornography. They can’t assimilate those images into their burgeoning world view in a way that wouldn’t grossly damage their sense of their own sexuality, relationship forming in general, and the addictive nature of this beast (and that is another topic unto itself). My reason for writing this is to encourage you to talk to your kids about this too. And its for purely selfish reasons: I need my son to marry a woman who has a healthy relationship with herself as a sexual being. I need her to be able to be in a partnership with him that will allow them both to become better people. I need my daughters to marry men who can be the husbands my girls deserve and the fathers my grandkids deserve. They need men who can live lives free from a devastating addiction and can be strong enough to carry their families through the hard times that will come. Please raise that girl and those boys! I’m begging you!
Kids shouldn’t be the target demographic but they are. If they know anyone with a smart phone they have access and will see it at some point. Our kids deserve to know what they are up against and they should be taught by loving, mature adults who can answer their questions. It is my hope that by having weird, awkward, uncomfortable conversations with my kids when they are young…by the time it actually matters and the stakes are high, they will come to me and my husband. Because even if the conversation is still weird, awkward and uncomfortable they know that they are loved and that it is safe to talk to us. I’m grateful that this book gave me a way to start building that trust now…