Good Pictures, Bad Pictures
Porn-Proofing Today's Kids
Two years ago when my then six and nine year old boys were inadvertently exposed to pornography by a neighbor boy I dove into educating myself on this topic. Despite my best efforts to protect them from this exact type of thing, I had failed. My heart was broken, yet I was determined to do what I needed to in order to help them through this.
According to Internetsaftey101.com seven out of ten youth have accidentally come across pornography online and American children begin consuming hardcore pornography at an average age of 11. On top of that four out of five 16 year olds view pornography on a regular basis. Fight the New Drug claims they often get emails from six year olds sharing about their addictions to porn. These are frightening statistics. Part of me wants to discount them as being overly aggressive for shock value, but then I realize even if these stats are cut in half I still don’t like the odds. Is there any hope for my boys? The only answer I came up with was education. Educating our children, appropriately, at an early age is the first and most important weapon we can give them in this battle against tech-aged pornography.
But how does one start educating a six year old on pornography? Seems like a slippery slope. A door that once opened can’t be shut. This a unfounded fear and one door I don’t want my kids going through alone or with strangers. If you are like me and want to arm your young kids with good and proper knowledge, but don’t know where to start, I’d recommend “Good Pictures, Bad Pictures; Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids” by Kristen A. Jenson, MA and Gail Poyner, PhD.
“Good Pictures, Bad Pictures” is an incredible recourse for children ages 6 to 11. What I love about this book is that it is a model “Healing Story”. It gently and appropriately introduces kids to the concept of Pornography without infringing on their innocence by using the story of a mother and son. It describes the science behind pornography and how it is a legitimate addiction. It helps kids understand the difference between their Thinking Brain and their Feeling Brain and how these two brains work together to protect them. Finally, it gives children a plan of action to keep their brains safe when they do come across pornography.
The content in this book is fairly concentrated and for this reason you may need to go through this book with younger children slowly, chapter by chapter, giving them plenty of time to digest the information. Each chapter gives a summery and space for notes. The book’s story line tends to be a bit young but I found that reading it silently together with my 11 year old son and then discussing it and rereading the summery out loud helped. We also watched a video by Fight the New Drug on the three ways pornography affects a person.
This day and age pornography education is a must for our children. It's as important as teaching them to cross the road safely or practicing stranger danger. Luckily there are lots of great resources out there once you start digging. Here are my recommendations for good places to start.
Now go fight for your kids' innocence!