Before Your Kids Have Access to the Internet, Read This
Around our house, we do our best to keep poisonous substances out of reach from our kids. We do this because we don’t want them to get hurt or worse. But as they grow, it becomes harder to keep these substances out of reach. As a result, we have taken time to teach our kids about the dangers of poisonous substances (e.g. household cleaners) as well as how to recognize and respond to them.
Pornography is a poison. It is picture poison. And it has the potential to do great harm to our kids. Yet, many parents don’t talk to their kids about pornography. We don’t warn them of its dangers. We don’t train them how to recognize it or how to respond to it.
I think this is because we assume it’s out of reach for them. The problem is, this isn’t true. A lot of research has been done on when kids are first exposed to pornography. For example, in 2016, the Australian Institute of Family Studies found, “Nearly half of children between the ages of 9–16 experience regular exposure to sexual images.”
Many kids are addicted to pornography before they hit their teens. This should be a wake-up call to parents.
That’s why I’m so excited to tell you about Good Pictures Bad Pictures Jr. by Kristen Jenson. This book’s purpose is to provide a simple plan to protect young minds.
Written for children between the ages of three and six, this book is beautifully illustrated and beneficially interactive. It even has a fun game where your child has to find nineteen cameras throughout its pages.
Developing Their First Internal Filter
So, why is this book so important?
First, this book is going to help your child recognize pornography — what the book creatively calls “bad pictures.” Bad pictures are pictures of “private parts.” The author states, “When people show pictures of private parts, they aren’t private anymore. It’s important to keep private parts private.”
Second, this book is going to help your child realize the dangers of pornography. The author does a nice job relating bad pictures to other things that are not safe, like poisonous chemicals.
Third, this book is going to help your child respond to pornography. The last few pages of the book describe a three-step response. The author states, “If you ever see a bad picture, video or cartoon of people with no clothes on, here’s what to do to stay safe: turn, run, tell.”
The goal is to train your child to “turn” away from the picture or video, “run” to an adult they trust, and “tell” them what they saw.
How to Reply
Fourth, this book is going to help you reply to your child if they have seen pornography. At the end of the book, there is a short, two-page “Note to Parents and Caregivers.” This includes a section with questions to ask your kids about what they have seen and how it made them feel. It also contains helpful advice on how to help a child forget bad pictures.
The best time to read this book with your child is before they ever get access to the internet. Unfortunately, for many parents, we missed that opportunity. Our kids already have been on the internet through Daddy’s iPhone or Grandma’s iPad.
Fear not. It’s not too late. The second best time to read this book with your child is today!
Originally published at Stand to Reason. Reprinted with permission.