By Craig Gross
I was recently in Phoenix, where I had the opportunity to talk with Christ’s Church of the Valley (CCV) about helping parents protect their kids in our “online” world.
I thought I’d do the same, here, as well. If you’re a parent who is wondering how you can talk to your kids… here’s what I would tell you:
First, you are not primarily your kids’ friend. You’re their parent. So you should parent them.
Second, you can’t be a passive parent. If you don’t know what apps your kids are using (or what sites they’re going to), then how could you ever know what boundaries might be necessary to set in place for your son or daughter?
Do the work. Find out what apps your kids are using. Your busyness is not an excuse for failing to figure out how to best protect your kids from pornography.
Third, have the hard conversations. Talk with your spouse, partner, or co-parent about setting boundaries. Should we get our 13-year-old a phone? Do you think it would be a problem? These questions are great starting points… so ask them.
And talk to your kid.
And don’t wait until high school, either. Children discover pornography at an unbelievably young age, and that age has – and is only – getting earlier and earlier. For the first conversation, moms talk to girls, and dads talk to boys.
You don’t need to overthink it. Just ask questions and get your kids talking. And use everyday opportunities to continue the conversations.
Your kids can Google their questions or they can come to you, and if you can provide a sense of safety and security when those questions arise, then you might just become their go-to encyclopedia. No questions should be off limits, and no questions should be “bad.”
If anything, and especially when these kinds of conversations become natural (which they do, if you’re having them!), your mutual trust in one another will only grow.
Lastly, be proactive and prepare for these conversations. If you’re prepared, you’ll be calmer when the time comes (instead of feeling like the whole world is falling apart).
MY FAVORITE QUOTES FROM THIS PODCAST EPISODE
- If you’re a parent, whatever you think porn is isn’t likely to be what your child thinks it is. The pornography that our kids are into and watching is on a whole different level than anything we grew up with.
- You bought the phone. You control the TV. You control the Internet. You set the boundaries in your house.
- If your kids are spending two to four to six hours in front of a device, they’re going to find things that you’re don’t want them looking at. If they have limited time, there’s less of a chance that they’re going to be exposed to things that you don’t want them seeing.
- Don’t just talk to your kids about porn. You need to talk to your spouse about porn too. It can’t be off the table.
- The “one and done” sex-talk days are over with – and they should never have existed in the first place. The sex/porn talk must be a continuous conversation that we have with our kids.
- You don’t need to overthink it. Just ask questions and get your kid talking.
- Your kids know that they can either Google the answers to their questions, or they can come to you. I think that if you can provide safety and security… hey, you know what? No questions are bad.