How to Prevent Your Child From Viewing Porn

Do you agree with these statements?

–  The internet is providing highly addictive, distorted sexual content that does a great deal of damage to the young brain.

–  Toddlers, children and teenagers can access pornography on their tablets or iPhones within seconds.

Most parents agree with these statements, but few expect pornography to impact their family.  Instead they assume that pornography only reaches a few morally corrupt kids.

Our assumptions guide what we ‘see’ or ‘don’t see’ in our young people’s lives.  Unfortunately parents who assume the best can discover the worst…and although mischief is natural, things get a little more serious when we are talking about internet pornography.

I’m going to suggest you allow these four assumptions to guide the way you manage internet use in your home.  These assumptions, if nothing else, will keep your eyes and ears open to the real needs your young person has.

Assume your young person will see pornography.  Ouch!  70% view pornography by the time they are 12 and 100% by the time they are 16  (Big Porn Inc: Exposing the Harms of the Global Pornography Industry). I am not sure I totally buy into this statistic, because I do meet many teens who haven’t viewed pornography.  However, the fact remains – NO child is exempt.  It is not IF they will see pornography, but what they will DO when they see it.  Young people need to know how to walk away from pornography when it finds them.

Assume your young person will be curious about sex.  We need to be prepared to talk to young people about sex regularly so they don’t turn to Google.  We can’t afford that to be their source of information. I have met so many young people whose pornography addictions have started with Googling a sexual word they didn’t know the meaning of.

Assume your young person needs monitoring.  Parents can actually trust a teenager  too much.  I advise parents to never completely trust a teenager, even if they look like they have it all together.  Have eyes in the back of your head.  Use your intuition and logic.  It is better to be cautious than sorry.

Assume your young person will exercise their free will.  Regardless of what restrictions or guidance you give your young person they still have a choice.  Time and time again I have seen families (who haven’t brought their child an iPhone or allowed them on social media) facing the horrible fact that their child is the one who is accessing pornography. Equipping young people to exercise their free will is vital.

Assume your young person needs you to be online.   Some parents go to the extremes, monitoring every mouse click or forbidding social media accounts.  But by keeping the boundaries this tight you put all your energy into policing your young person instead of coaching them.   The key to the whole thing is for Mum and Dad to get involved and be aware of what is going on.  Please get on social media yourself.  That way when problems come you won’t be so far behind the curb that you don’t know how to address them.

THANK YOU to everyone who has been passing these blog posts on, and for all your kind emails about their impact on your family.  If you have a topic you would like me to blog about email me at reception@youthexcel.com.au  and I will respond to it as soon as I can.

If you would like to book me to speak at your school or community event email reception@youthexcel.com.au.

MOST IMPORTANTLY if your teenager needs support from a psychologist, counsellor or mentor Youth Excel would love to help. You can contact me at reception@youthexcel.com.au.

What Teenage Girls Don’t Tell their Parents is available at www.michellemitchell.org for $24.95 plus postage.

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