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How to Warn Young Kids About Porn

Last Updated: October 30, 2020

A lot of parents don’t want to broach the subject of pornography with their kids because they don’t want to plant any ideas in their heads. They’re afraid they will rouse curiosity. But the problem with this approach is that we live in a world that is already rousing their curiosity. We as parents need to take advantage that we have the perfect opportunity to be the first voice our children hear about wholesome sexuality and why pornography is only a sick parody of that.

So, how do you do warn kids about porn in an effective way?

First, it is good to help your kids with a reference point for what porn is, using things they already understand. Take the magazines in the checkout aisle, for example, or the entrance to Victoria’s Secret. These are things your child has likely seen before, and you can use these things to help your kids understand pornography. Say something like, “Do you know those magazines where men and women aren’t completely dressed and they are showing a lot of skin. That is what pornography is, except a lot of pornography that you might find on the computer has even more skin showing. You need to know this stuff is out there, because it can really harm your mind.”

Good Pictures Bad PicturesI recommend all parents pick up a copy of the book Good Pictures, Bad Pictures: Porn Proofing Today’s Young Kids by Kristen Jensen. It’s a great read-aloud book that offers a plan for preparing your kids. Here’s a quick overview of what the book teaches kids. They call this the CAN DO Plan™.

Close your eyes. As soon as you see something that looks like pornography, close your eyes, shut the laptop, walk away.

Alert a trusted adult. Tell mommy or daddy or someone who cares for you about what you saw.

Name it. Teach your child to label what they saw, “That’s pornography.”

Distract your mind when the image pops back up in your memory.

Order your “thinking brain” to be in charge. Remember why pornography is harmful.

To learn more about these steps, go to pornproofkids.com to get more information. Subscribe to their blog to get a free poster to remind you of these steps.

Good Pictures Bad Pictures

Comments on: How to Warn Young Kids About Porn
  1. Actually This is Wrong

    Whatever you make taboo will flourish and heighten interest. Growing up, my mom did that nonsense of making me close my eyes. Then she did that nonsense of talking about being sinning all the time. Being too religious can damage a person. Closing my eyes only heightened my interest in women. After I left college and got out on my own, all that repression came out. I went to strip joints and saw the most amazing women. It was all very exciting and very new to me. I also noticed that every one of my friends who came from strict religious backgrounds all acted out in some way. I went to strip joints. Other friends drank. Others drugged. Others got married way too fast and had a ton of kids and ultimately got divorced a ton of times. The guilt trip that many fundamentalists put on their kids to keep them in line only works so long.

    I think this is where most religious people lose their kids. I am very serious about that. Whatever you repress will come out in a vengeance when those kids move away from the home.

    You know how you counteract porn with your kids after they see it? You talk to your kids and tell them about the realities of life. Forget that BS of singing or reading out loud. That is for the parents to avoid the tough questions about life. Tell them a) sex happens and sometimes people do porn — lying about it is bogus, b) teach them the difference between the fantasy world of sex and the reality of sex, c) tell them the pitfalls of having sex out of wedlock and d) when your kids do start dating and they have met a good boy or girl to date — help them with that relationship instead of harming it — so many parents destroy love for their kids and I hate to tell you — love is rare in this world. All the “thinking brain” activation will be of no use when that child grows up and is tremendously lonely.

    All this closing of eyes, singing, and avoiding is nonsense. Whatever you make taboo will flourish — I promise you this. This is what fundamentalist Christians never fully understand. If you doubt anything I wrote, go read articles about religious guilt. Then read further. Look at all the comments. You wonder why it seems the world is becoming less Christian and the devil is taking over? Churches are driving people away. The devil taking over is going to be a self-fulfilling prophecy if churches keep beating their followers into the ground.

    • I’m sorry. I’m just not seeing the relevance of your comment to the video at all. Can you help me out here?

      You say making porn taboo will heighten the problem, which I agree with, but how it talking about pornography openly making it taboo?

      You talk about not being too religious, but nothing about the video or the book it promotes is religious.

      You mention the importance of talking about sex, talking about the difference between sex and fantasy, and the pitfalls of sex. I agree with all of this, but there’s nothing in the video that denies any of this.

      You mention talking about the “thinking brain” is useless, but thousands of men have been helped by this kind of advice as adults.

  2. Thanks so much Matt for helping parents know how to warn young kids about pornography! As the author of Good Pictures Bad Pictures; Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids, I truly appreciate your help in getting the word out about this empowering resource for parents.
    Our kids are living in unprecedented circumstances given the easy accessibility of pornography with just a few taps on a screen. They need to learn the cognitive skills to protect their brains from the counterfeit messages of pornography so they can grow up to enjoy a loving, respectful sexual union with their spouse.
    Good Pictures Bad Pictures encourages parents to begin early to teach positive and healthy messages of what sex should be, as well as empower kids with the knowledge and skills they need to protect their growing brains from porn.
    To the “Actually this is wrong” comment above, Good Pictures Bad Pictures and the CAN DO Plan are based in brain science and social science, and no where in the book is religion discussed. However, you might be interested in a survey done by the Voter/Consumer Research Firm for the Family Research Council which found that married 72% of couples that attend church once a week and believed that out-of-wedlock sex was wrong were “very satisfied” with their sex lives versus 59% of married people who didn’t. (See page 95 of the book The Case for Marriage.) So apparently all that religion doesn’t seem to be hurting committed married couples in the bedroom.
    I find the argument that “what you make taboo will flourish” to be bogus. Does that go for murder as well? If we teach our kids that murder is wrong, will it immediately make them want to go out and kill someone? If we teach kids that stealing from others is wrong, will they suddenly have an intense desire to become a kleptomaniac? Do we say to them, “Hey there are murderers out there and some people steal–that’s just reality!” without teaching them that hurting people and stealing from them are wrong? Ridiculous. Kids need to be taught right from wrong. They need to be taught to use their thinking brain so they learn to make good decisions. And in fact, using their thinking brain will help them have better relationships–it’s porn addiction that isolates people and causes greater levels of loneliness–a natural result when you train your brain to bond to pixels on a screen instead of to a real person. And what about the divorce rate for porn addicts? One study of matrimonial lawyers says that 62% of their divorce cases listed pornography as one of the major causes of break up. Porn is a path to loneliness.
    I’m confident that kids who are forewarned with knowledge about their brain and how it can be damaged by pornography are going to lead healthier, happier lives as they mature into adulthood.

  3. Jen Flake

    I am about to ramble…so here is goes!

    You guys are SO right about the need to teach children to reject porn…the need to be open, accepting and to not shame those who have seen porn (which is EVERYONE…and that shame cycle leads to addictive cycles…)

    Making justifications for what it wrong about porn will not take away the consequences of viewing porn…not for the person viewing it or for those who love them. The excuse that only religious people think porn is “bad” is bogus. Anyone who has done any research on pornography addiction will know that it is a disease of epic proportion. I think the April 2015 commenter to this blog who said talking about porn is taboo is a porn addict in denial. (yes…I just used shaming and blaming words…sorry…I am not prefect yet!) At least he is visiting this site which means he is looking for some answers….just not sure he is pointing his finger of blame in the right direction (at himself) which is the only place any of of us who are on the front lines in this battle against porn are pointing. We are not trying to blame others or change people…we are trying to learn the truth, apply it to our lives to better ourselves and to share it with others. THEY get to choose what they do with that truth.

    :)

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