This week, I’ve received several questions from parents regarding whether they need to seek help for their son or daughter when they have been exposed to online pornography.
First, it’s important to ascertain the severity of the pornographic content your child viewed. Were the images seen limited to images of body parts? Did they include graphic sexual acts, violence, or bestiality? Did the child later imitate aspects of what he or she saw on another sibling or child?
Oftentimes, the decision to seek outside professional help is made on a case-by-case basis and depends on the child’s age. For example, if your teenage child accidentally stumbled upon pornographic images and had an open discussion about what was seen with you, then chances are you may determine that you do not necessarily need to seek help for your child.
However, if a child is clearly traumatized by the images viewed online, regularly views pornography, or later “acts out” against another child, you will want to consider seeking the help of a trained therapist.
The key is not to overreact or shame your child; rather, create an open and loving environment where you and your child can openly discuss what has been seen. Then, you will be able to better determine the appropriate course of action.
Remember that kids want and need adult guidance about sex. Don’t leave it up to the Internet and pornography to educate your kids about sex. Educate your kids about healthy sexuality, respect for their bodies and respect for others, and help them understand God’s purpose and plan for sexual intimacy. Studies have shown that using pornography can actually hinder an individual’s ability to connect physically with the opposite sex, and pornography sets up false expectations about real sexual intimacy and performance.
Repeated use of pornography can deprive an individual of the ability to find sexual satisfaction in their spouse, and often, once an individual begins using pornography, it can become very difficult to stop. Help your kids understand that pornography will not aid them sexually, rather, pornography can actually stunt their ability to have a real relationship with someone they know and care for. In our work at XXXchurch, we have seen pornography destroy marriages, relationships, reputations, jobs and families. It’s simply not worth using and exploring, despite what Hollywood says.
Regardless of what your child has been viewing, the goal is to help guide and instruct your child and relieve any suffering he or she may be experiencing from their use of Internet pornography; the goal is not to punish or shame your child.
Remember also that you should always use a filter like X3watch Premium to protect your kids from accidental and intentional access to online pornography.