Kids and Pornography

Marriage Heat-

I can tell that people on this site have a very high regard for our God-given sexuality and have a lot of wisdom on how to handle sexual temptations in a way that is pleasing to God.  I also see that you have a deep concern for the sexuality of the rising generation. So I have some questions I wanted to throw out to all of you to get your feedback.

The topic is kids and pornography.  And here’s why I want to talk about it.   Most 7-11-year-olds that I know have regular access to an iPod or smart phone.  And most 7-11-year-old boys that I know are also quite keen on playing video games and watching youtube videos on the devices.  The problem is that it is impossible to set up parental controls on a cell phone and youtube to protect your kids from “adult content”.  And sure, youtube doesn’t have explicit pornography, but everyone knows you can find some pretty shady stuff on there without trying too hard.

  • So what do you do if your young son accidentally runs across a dirty video after he is done watching something perfectly harmless on youtube one day?
  • What do you do if your kid hears about something on the school bus and comes home and googles it on your phone, thus avoiding the parental controls you’ve set up on your home server?
  • What if your kid accidentally clicks a link that pops up when he’s playing an iPod game?
  • What if he runs across it and tells you about it?
  • What if he runs across it and doesn’t tell you about it?
  • Is there a talk you can have with your kid before he runs across it that might help him respond to it in an appropriate fashion?
  • Is there a talk you could have with him after he runs across it that would help him make the decision to not return to watch more of such videos?
  • And what if your kid is only 7 or 8?  It seems a little young to have a sex talk, but how can you give him enough information to protect him without giving him more information than he is old enough to hear?
  • What if your son finds the videos and watches them and continues to watch them for some time before you find about it?  How do you help him heal from what he has seen?
  • What would be your biggest concerns for a child who has been exposed to such images at such a young age?

This topic has recently hit very close to home for me, and I would value your thoughtful input on the subject.

Thank you.

4.00 avg. rating (79% score) - 7 votes
14 replies
  1. Fight for Love
    Fight for Love says:

    Dear P.W.

    Being a IT professional I have to say there is no 100% protection. I would even go so far as to say, it’s not even close to 100%. The products I’m going to list are in no way complete nor do I work for any of those companies.

    There is a thing called DNS based block list. When you surf the web you enter names (e.g. marriageheat.com) which get’s translated into IP addresses. When you set up a DNS based block list this translation is filtered. Youtube may path but a porn site get’s redirected. A free solution to this would be opendns.com. When you setup your wifi router for opendns, this will work with any device using your router as a dns server. By default this would be all of them. If you block dns requests for all other devices there is no easy way around it.

    When you want to go through the hassle of setting up some extra hardware there is the possibility to set up a filtering proxy. Sophos UTM Home Edition is a very capable enterprise product which is free to use at home. The filtering proxy can work on categories and blockwords and also filters malware. In general it’s possilbe to combine those two: Filtering Proxy and DNS based block list.

    But all technical solutions are just an arms race…

    I recently read a very interesting book about kids and digital gadgets: “The Digital Invasion: How Technology Is Shaping You and Your Relationships” by Dr. Archibald D. Hart and Dr. Sylvia Hart Frejd. They also have a couple of thoughts of how to face the different dangers. I would say, this book is a must read. When I researched for a talk I held about the book I came across a woman who had the following interesting approach. The (kids) devices where hers and the kids were allowed to use them. Since they where hers, she would take them and see what they were doing, read their messages. Once she read a sudical message from a friend of her daughter. She talked with her and the friend and the daughter was really glad, her mom knew and she didn’t have to find a way to talk to her about it, but her mom initiated the talk.

    When I was a teen, the internet started to emerge. Unfortunately I was the one who configured everything and my dad at best was a simple user. I did discover that he was having a problem with soft porn but I went undiscovered with my porn problem. This destroyed all trust about talking about sexuality with my parents.

    I think porn is like a hard drug. I’ve read stories where people said they have just seen a few images and they were so disgusted. At the same time they were so captured that they returned / went looking for more. The numbers in the studies to porn usage are alarming:

    * A study in the southeastern U.S. found that 53 percent of boys and 28 percent of girls (ages 12-15) reported use of sexually explicit media. The Internet was the most popular forum for viewing.
    * Nearly 80 percent of unwanted exposure to pornography is taking place in the home (79 percent occurs in the home; 9 percent occurs at school; 7 percent other/unknown; 5 percent at a friend’s home).
    * American children begin consuming hardcore pronography at an average age of 11

    * http://www.covenanteyes.com/2010/08/19/teens-and-porn-10-stats-your-need-to-know/

    When I am ask how to prevent all this I have come to the following key points:
    * Place the computer in a public place, it does not belong in the room of the kids
    * Build trust with your kids. See what they are doing online. Friend them one Facebook.
    * Have all passwords and check what they are doing

    The strongest prevention probably is to tell them the truth. There is porn out there. And porn is a lie. Tell them them how precious and wonderful married sex is. How God intended sex. Equipping them with the knowledge of porn and how bad it is, will hopefully make them more resistant and kill all curiosity. So when they come in contact with porn, they are not as easily captured.

    I hope this helps a bit and is not to disjoined.

    God bless you with all necessary wisdom
    Fight For Love

  2. Upcomingauthor
    Upcomingauthor says:

    One: About your kids looking up stuff on your phone, you should have a passcode so your kids have to ask your permission to get on their phone.
    Two: 7-11 year olds do no need a smart phone. I didn’t get my first iPhone until I was 14 and by that time it was the iPhone 3, so they had been out for a while, not to mention Blackberry’s. I’ve already made the same decision. Yes kids need phones now days because it’s dangerous, but flip phones still exists.
    Three: But speaking from personal experience there is always away around it. Gifs work well on flip phones and it’s enough, pictures of course as well. Plus my dad, the computer scientist he is, he never even considered cartoon pornography which is largely what I started watching once I got caught with the real stuff online. But even then some websites will still appear in the midst of it all.

    All I can say is, and what I’m planning to do as my kids grow up, is answer their questions honestly so they don’t have to feel like they need to go look. If I can’t them or find out they are looking at stuff, hopefully this website and many like it if any others arise will help, songs of Solomon, and lots of prayer. Even in the midst of it all, I know that’s how I made it through even though I never got the honest talks or had anything like Marriage Heat. My parents praying for me still helped me be with only one woman even though I didn’t wait until I got married. And even though I have my scars I know that with much prayer there is much power and with no prayer there is no power. There prayer helped me get to where I am today. So if all else fails pray for you kids, God can do the rest.

  3. PassionateForChrist
    PassionateForChrist says:

    I was exposed to porn as a young child… I’m not good with remembering the age I had… it must have been around 11 years old or maybe a bit younger… It was before I had the 1st girly change of life occur…

    In my life, anything sexual didn’t exist. For me it just didn’t exist. I had not gotten any talk – there was no communication about it – there was no display of marital intimate affection between my parents. I grew up with sexuality literally not existing. Looking back, this was really bad, in my eyes, and I will certainly change that when raising the kids God would maybe one day bless me with. Just to give you all an example of how innocently blind I grew up… When the 1st girly change of life occurred for me – I remember it so strongly and can still see my young self standing in that place – it came as a total shock. I didn’t know about it. I wasn’t prepared in any way – mentally, emotionally… That night, when I went to the bathroom for Number 1, and saw that I was bleeding from down there, I instantly started to cry bitterly because I thought I had done something wrong, broken something without knowing it, and would now have to die. I thought my life would be over. I’m not kidding (please don’t laugh about me for it). This was what I thought, having been held in ignorance. I don’t know if I myself would qualify it as a traumatic moment for me – it may have been – but what I can say for sure was that I definitely was in complete distress and despair.

    To be honest, as I am writing this reply, I am unsure whether I should share about my earliest experience with porn (an exposure that occurred for me before I myself was in any way sexual in my biological, mental or emotional development) – the way I got exposed to it, what happened because of the exposure, how it ended for me – because I’ve never shared that in depth with anyone before and the end of it was highly embarrassing to me personally and was a key moment that further set me into the direction of sexual aversion… I may be willing to share it but only if it would do any good, only if MH would really care to hear it and to love me through it… For you all gotta know… as much strength as I have developed by God’s Grace through the years of my life, my heart and soul are very much tender and sensitive. So, MH, if you honestly do believe it to be beneficial in any way, let me know and I will brave the embarrassement of it, put it into words and open my heart about it.

    • Eva
      Eva says:

      PfC-I feel like sharing really personal stuff like that can be incredibly difficult. And sometimes you just have to wait until you are in a safe enough place (in all senses, spiritually, emotionally, and contextually) before you can share. And I don’t know if you are in a place like that yet. Only you can know that. But what I will say is that the world starts to change when people start to share their stories. Slavery ended because people started telling their stories. Women got rights because people started sharing their stories. Celibate, gay Christians are finally finding a place in the church because they started telling their stories. Marriages are healed because of the stories that are told on this site. Stories are powerful. And stories are worth telling.

      And when we find ourselves in a place of embarrassment regarding our stories, I think there is usually something else going on. Because God is not a God of shame. Jesus came to free us from shame, not to instill it in us.

      But, having said all that, I have to admit I have plenty of stories that I haven’t told. I have stories that I’ve thought for a long time about telling here on this site that I have not told. And I haven’t told them because they are embarrassing and because I think people will misjudge me for them. And I don’t know if that is going to change anytime soon, or ever.

      So I’ll leave you with this. If you feel safe enough here to share your story and you think that the sharing of it could be beneficial to others, then you should pray that Jesus will free you from the shame that surrounds your story and show you instead the power that your story can have to help others. And if he thinks that is a good idea, then I’m sure he’ll help you get there. He’s good like that.

    • PassionateForChrist
      PassionateForChrist says:

      Dearest Eva, THANK YOU for reminding me of the fundamental Truth that Jesus already freed me from all shame! How could I lose that one out of sight in this moment?! Whatever shame I may feel or perceive as I look back onto what happened and what I did as a young child, truth is: me being in Christ now, this shame is but a lie from the Enemy trying to keep me through it captive in the chains he sought to trap me in. In my own journey, I have experienced firsthand as well that thorough change occurred, breakthrough into freedom occurred through believing the Truth of God’s Word in my heart, through facing the places, that the Enemy would love to bully me into secretive silence with, and through bringing them to light by speaking/confessing about them. Speaking it out gives me the opportunity to reach a greater freedom in Christ by busting a block of the Enemy. And on top of that, by God’s Grace, someone may find something good in it that may help and encourage them. Who knows?! 🙂 I’m surely not the only one with “embarrassing” childhood occurrences. We all certainly had moments. So, even if the good that someone may find will be but the assurance that they are not the only ones and that they too can kick the Enemy in the butt for it, grabbing hold of the freedom that is theirs in Christ and coming out stronger, it’s worth speaking up and stepping out. I’ll do it. God bless you, Eva, for reminding me of my position in Christ!

    • PassionateForChrist
      PassionateForChrist says:

      Eva, there’s one thing I forgot to tell you in my first reply… I don’t know what the stories you’ve mentioned would be about but, regardless of whether you will one day decide to share them or not, I can tell you with all my heart, and I do want you to know, that there is nothing that you could ever tell or share that would make me love you any less.

      Some days ago, Silver had been replying to some post and I saw her reply (it was just a totally normal reply) and I thought I’m gonna write her that I so enjoy her stories, that I’ve read them all by now and am super looking forward to a new one coming from her. Why am I telling you this, you wonder. Well, I chickened out to write it because the thought intervened of what people may be thinking of me if I write her that. How silly of me! I missed the opportunity to be a special blessing to Silver, showing her honor and letting her feel the love I have for her in my heart, because I allowed the thought of what others may or may not be thinking of me to interfere and in the end I let that thought rob Silver of the blessing God wanted to give her through me. So, Silver, if you happen to read this, this one is for you: I love your stories! I happen to go back over them every now and then. I love the marital bond you and your husband share. It is special and unique and not everyone will understand it but that is not important anyway… for what counts is that you know that you and your husband are a blessing from Heaven to each other – your love, true and deep, tethered for eternity. Your heat is hot and your writing always delivers that. God bless ya!

      The truth is… the people, who have an inclination to judge, will judge whether we speak up or not – it’s just what they do. Their opinion will and can never define us. We are framed in Christ and our identity is safe in Him. Even if out of 10 people 9 would misjudge you, the 1, who doesn’t and who gets the opportunity to love on you with all of his/her godly heart is the one voice out of the crowd that counts. And for as good as I know MH by now, I know that there will be far more than 1 of your MH friends that will love on you whenever and about whatever you share. For sure, Blondie, Lovinghusband, GG, Silver, Lisa, I and many more will be there to voice the encouragement and the love, that God will put in our hearts then just for you. Here is to say: We love you! 🙂

    • PassionateForChrist
      PassionateForChrist says:

      Ok, so this is how I got exposed to porn as a child, how it affected my being and what happened overall…

      One day, as a young child, I woke up late at night (way past midnight) and I heard that my father was in the living room watching TV. It wasn’t the first time that I had observed that he was up late at night while my mom was deep asleep. That night, I decided to get up to tell him that he should go to bed and sleep. The parquet floor creaked as I walked across my room and I noticed how he changed the channel before I got to the living room. He told me he’d go to bed soon. So, I went back to my room, noticing him changing the channel anew. Now I’m not foolish, I knew he wanted to hide something, so I set out to find out what that was. Waiting a little, I slipped out of my bed again, crawled slowly, flat on the floor to avoid the noise (which worked well), came to the living room, still crawling so he wouldn’t see me, and then I saw it. He was watching late-night porn. I had never seen such before. I wish I wouldn’t have been so clever to sneak up so well! I had not told anybody about it. But what I saw playing on the TV screen, the sounds I heard coming from it, kept flashing up in my young mind. I didn’t know what it was all about – I didn’t know why they were making those sounds, what was happening between the people on the screen… But neither not knowing about all of that nor the fact that I myself was at a stage in my development where I was not sexual yet (I didn’t feel anything stirring inside; there was nothing in me to be aroused yet), it all still didn’t enable me to shake it off and just move on. What I had seen on the TV screen that night, had invaded my innocent mind. And the fact, that in my family, any and all about sexuality was never talked about made it worse. That opened the door for me to view sex as something dirty, something to be kept hidden, something shameful. What happened since having seen what I saw was that I began looking for opportunities to be by myself during the day and at night and look that stuff up myself, whenever the opportunity presented itself. I have no idea what had drawn me to seek to watch such stuff myself – it couldn’t even serve the purpose it was after as neither my clit nor my juices were awakened yet – I didn’t even know I had a clit. We all know that kids learn way more by way of observing than by any other means. That’s what happened for me in the porn case. I remember how, while we were on family vacation, my parents and my brother were doing something, and I asked my parents if I could stay in our hotel room and wait there until they’d be back… now, I must say, as I made the request, I had a hidden agenda – I knew they would be gone for a little while and I sought to go to the room in order to look up the adult channel… I remember how I had hoped for scenes to be playing, where I could see a man and a woman (like I had seen that first time that I got flashed with it)… which was crazy because I didn’t even know what to do with it… but the Enemy had trapped me and he could because I grew up in total ignorance – not having been taught about the Truth. I came to our hotel room, switch on the tv and flipped through the channels till I did hit the one that was showing the naked people all day. To my disappointment (yes, that’s what I felt back then – so crazy, I know), there was not a scene between a man and a woman playing at that moment but a woman, with a big, unnatural bust, all alone in a pool – so I observed that… she was making the same sounds without a man being there… she was constantly rubbing her crotch against something… As I was alone in the room, I thought I could try follow along what I had just observed… I looked for a hard, corner-like surface, found the bathtub rim to be similar to what I saw, and began to rub myself on it, imitating the motions that the woman in the TV exemplified. It was pathetic. I still didn’t understand what it was about. I felt nothing… and still the stuff had a hold on me. The vacation trip was over and at checkout, the hotel wanted my father to pay for the use of the adult channel that had been watched in our room – he objected to it, saying we didn’t watch any of that – the hotel insisted – he asked us if we watched pay-per-view stuff and I said ‘No’ (now I heaped up the sin of lying on top of the secretive behavior that I felt already in myself to be shameful and dirty… all of it was so completely contrary to my character… yet I couldn’t let go of it). Surprisingly, my lie wasn’t exposed. The hotel did let it go. Time passed, but the images of that woman now ruled over my mind, and I kept imitating the motions I had seen her do, when I was in my room. Then, one day, the moment came that ended it all at once… It was the moment I got caught. I was in my room – the door was closed. I had my underwear down and was going through the motions, rubbing my crotch against the wooden, round corner of my desk, when all of a sudden the door sprang open and my mom walked in on me. She harshly walked up to me with those kind of big steps that herald trouble, while I felt already instantly so small sitting on the floor, hastily pulling up my underwear. In a stern, chastising voice she asked me what in the world I was doing. And I told her: I was just changing my underwear. (Another lie – and what a foolish one!) She didn’t say anything to me after that but the look on her face was giving me the clear message that whatever I was doing was bad, dirty, and totally wrong – that look and her silence about the matter was enough to shame me deeply and completely into rejecting any and all that touched on the topic of sexuality from then on… From that day on, I didn’t look up stuff anymore, I didn’t go through any motions anymore, I repressed the images I had fed my mind so far… But here comes the crux: I wasn’t set free. I wasn’t educated about it all in the course of having been walked in on. I wasn’t given greater understanding. It just wasn’t dealt with. Worse yet, I was shamed into repressing the whole matter. And that gave the Enemy a foothold to haunt me badly anew many years later… until one day, many more years after that, I finally found the saving Grace of Jesus Christ, who has set me free, who teaches me the whole Truth and continuously makes me new.

    • Eva
      Eva says:

      PfC- thanks so much for sharing that story! I’ll bet a lot of us have stories that resemble yours. I know I remember sneaking downstairs in the middle of the night to watch sexy movies on HBO when I was pretty young. And I remember other conversations on this site where people have talked about discovering porn at pretty young ages. I think it’s just too bad that our parents were so afraid to talk about it. I hope I’m able to have helpful conversations with my kids as they get older. And hearing stories like yours just reinforces to me how important those conversations are.

    • PassionateForChrist
      PassionateForChrist says:

      Eva, thank you, dear! As for me, I believe you’ll be able. God will guide you through it all. With Him, you surely got this 🙂 God bless!!

  4. CMLove
    CMLove says:

    Thank you for writing this, PW. It is so important! My children are two and three so we haven’t had any experience in that regard yet but my brother struggled with porn and he never felt comfortable talking about it because my mother would get so angry. Screaming and treating it like its the “unforgivable sin” is never a right response, i believe. God’s grace and working through it together is the only thing that will help our kids be victorious in this!

  5. sonador
    sonador says:

    There are no real safeguards, but one rule we had was NO internet in the bedrooms. All internet was accessed by my kids in the living room. Of course my kids never had smart phones and I’m sure they knew perfectly well how to get around my rule, but I tried. They also knew that until they turned 18, nothing was private, we had password and did very occasionally monitor things. They always knew we could. It is a hard balance between letting your 16 year old have privacy and paying attention, but we did what we could.

  6. Harper Shelby Thornton
    Harper Shelby Thornton says:

    I remember being very interested in sex as a young girl, and when I was around 12, I along with a friend actually snuck into her parent’s room and found one of those dirty magazines! I admit we took peaks at it and giggled while doing so. But of course we knew we shouldn’t have done it, and we’ve since prayed to the Lord to forgive us. This, as well as being God fearing people is why my husband and I always monitored what kind of books, magazines, and of course movies our girls brought home. And like how sonador said, the computer was where we could all see it.

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