The Porn Talk
© 2008 Teresa Cook
With studies showing that up to 90 percent of children will be exposed to hardcore pornography by the
time they turn eighteen, it’s easy to become discouraged about protecting your child from sexually
explicit material. Fortunately, your home contains the most effective anti-porn addiction weapon
available—a godly parent who cares. By talking about pornography, you can take away the mystery and
help your child resist its temptation.
You may worry, as I did, that introducing the subject will trigger an unwholesome curiosity in your
child. The exact opposite is true. The more a child knows about pornography and its harmful effects on
the mind, the less likely he or she will want to see it.1 Our younger son can attest to that fact.
After witnessing firsthand how his brother struggled to triumph over porn, Daniel has no desire to step
into that trap himself.
In Proverbs 2:10-12 (NKJV), Solomon told his son, "When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is
pleasant to your soul; discretion will preserve you, understanding will keep you, to deliver you from
the way of evil, from the man who speaks perverse things." Solomon understood, as we must today, that
instilling wisdom and knowledge protects our children from temptation.
While it may seem more appropriate to wait until your children are teens to have the "porn talk," by
then it may be too late. I know six- and seven-year-olds who have already been exposed to sexually
explicit material. Just as you talk to your young children about inappropriate touch and teach them to
protect their bodies, you can also provide them with the tools they need to protect their hearts and
minds from pornography.
Discussion about pornography can start as early as preschool, as a natural extension of warning children
about strangers and inappropriate touch. Make sure your child understands the following:
- After sin came into the world, God made clothes for Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:21)* to cover their nakedness.
- There are people called pornographers who like to show kids pictures of naked people.
- Just as we shouldn’t let others look at or touch our private parts, we should not look at other people’s
private parts—even in pictures.
- If anyone shows you a picture of naked people, whether in a magazine, on the computer, or on television,
tell Mommy or Daddy right away.
As children grow older, and especially once they learn about sex (see
for "What I Wish I’d Known"), you can include the following points:
- God designed sex to be between a husband and wife only (Eph. 5:31, Heb. 13:4).* It’s a private
act, and it displeases God for others to watch, even through a picture or video.
- When you look at pornography, the images burn themselves into your brain, just like you would
burn pictures onto a CD. Those images remain in your mind even when you don’t want them to.2
- People, even kids, can become addicted to pornography very quickly. Many experts believe pornography
addiction is stronger than drug addiction.3
- Pornographers often portray intercourse in abnormal and violent ways which is not God’s plan for
sexual relationships. It will confuse you about the real purpose for sex, an expression of love between
a husband and wife.
- Looking at pornography can make you want to do the things you see in the pictures or videos.
- If you accidentally see a pornographic picture, immediately turn off the television or computer.
Since another porn site may pop up when you try to exit a web site, push the monitor button or close
the laptop and tell Mom or Dad so we can shut down the computer.
By the time they are twelve, most children can understand God’s desires for their lives and the toll
pornography can take. Be sure you discuss the following:
- God cares what you look at (Matt. 6:22-23),* what you think about (Phil. 4:8),* and what you think
when you look at others (Matt. 5:28).* Pornography makes it difficult, and sometimes impossible, to
look at others as God intends.
- Pornography can so alter your view of sex that it prevents you from developing a real and intimate
relationship with someone of the opposite sex.
- When you get married, pornographic images that are trapped in your mind can make you dissatisfied
with your spouse and damage or destroy your marriage.
- Viewing pornography can cause an addiction that is progressive in nature and may lead to dangerous
and even criminal behavior.4
- Friends who entice you to look at pornography are no better than friends who offer you alcohol or
- Even adults must protect their minds from pornography.
- We want to empower you to resist pornography, but we can only help you if you talk to us.
It’s important that your children at any age know that exposure to pornography does not mean they are
in danger of losing your love. Even when children accidentally stumble upon pornography, they may feel
incredible shame at seeing things they were not supposed to see and be reluctant to talk to anyone
about it. They need to know they did not do anything wrong and are not bad because they saw it.
However, looking at pornography can lead to sin (James 1:14-15).* Pornography addictions take root in
darkness and grow in secrecy. Even if your children do succumb to the temptation to look at pornography,
they must know your only goal is to love and protect them and they can come to you at any time without
fear of punishment.
And they will only know that if you tell them.