A critical question for parents living in the digital age is this: How do I prepare my sexually curious child/teen to live in a world with easy access to pornography?
Notice the assumptions behind this question:
- Your child will most likely see pornography. There are some kids who escape their teenage years unscathed, but not many. According to the most recent Youth Internet Safety Survey, despite advances in technology, unwanted exposures to pornography still happen today (15% of 10-12-year-olds, 23% of 13-15-year-olds, and 28% of 16-17-year-olds). And when kids enter the teen years the dynamics change as many start to intentionally seek out porn online. The majority (87%) of intentional seekers are 14 or older. In all, 93% of boys and 62% of girls are exposed to online pornography during adolescence (according to a study published in CyberPscyhology and Behavior).
- Your child is sexually curious. As children get older, they will develop natural sexual curiosities and desires. This makes some parents very uncomfortable. How can parents not quench but steer their teen’s sexual curiosity in a healthy direction before porn captivates their minds and hearts?
- The emphasis is not just protection but preparation. We can guard the eyes of our kids by limiting their media diet and having good filters on our computers. But the real parenting task is preparing them for a world without filters and fences. Have you equipped your child with an awareness of the temptations they will encounter and the tools to battle those temptations?
How can we parent our children well in this age?
Below are a list of articles to get you started:
- 5 Internet Monitoring Approaches for Parents, by Luke Gilkerson
- Sexual Purity is Not the Goal, by Pastor Reagan North
- How to Talk to Your Kids About Sex, by Mark and Grace Driscoll
- Tips for talking to your kids about porn: Important issues for important stages, by David Wever, MFT
- When Children View Pornography, by Rob Jackson of Focus on the Family
You might also enjoy these resources:
- Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens, by Paul David Tripp
- Passport to Purity, DVD series by Campus Crusade for Christ