Responsibly Warning Your Children about Pornography
Written by Sherry Allchin
“Help! I just caught my 10-year-old son looking at porn on his tablet he uses for games!”
“Checking my child’s phone for something else, I came across the sexual pictures she was
exchanging with a boy out of state—at least that’s who she thinks it’s with…one she met
in a chat room.”
“My 18-year-old daughter just announced she wants to be a stripper! When and where
did she learn that? How long has she been involved in a sexual world of which we knew
Unfortunately, I’m often asked the question by parents of when and how to have “the porn
talk” with their children—after it’s too late. If there has been a communication breakdown for
any reason between parents and child, these talks may have already happened in the locker
room at school or on the playground or at a friend’s house—unreliable information at best,
and a setup for sexual abuse at worse.
Statistically, children are viewing pornography younger and younger. It is easy to accidentally
access pornography websites when children are using computers for schoolwork or even
playing games. Sometimes, friends share a cool link they’ve found introducing classmates
to pornography sites.
Parents, we are in a different world. Our children must be warned. Yet we must be extremely
careful how we speak of those sinful things not to arouse curiosity that will entice immature
ones into the forbidden. Ephesians 5:12 warns us to be careful not to speak of shameful
and secret sins, but only to expose them to the light of Christ and His Word.
Start Early. Start Simple.
“But when and how do we begin?” is the question parents are asking. As with all learning,
line upon line, precept upon precept is the key. A firm foundation of knowledge and trust
has to be in place long before the topic itself is approached. If this foundation is not already
in place when one day your child stumbles upon pornography elsewhere, the damage may
take years to repair.
When a child is old enough to ask a question, be honest and give an age appropriate
answer. For example, when my 3-year-old daughter asked how the expected baby brother
got into my tummy, an age-appropriate answer was that because Mommy and Daddy love
each other very much, God gave us a baby to grow in Mommy’s tummy. Though a simple
answer, it began to lay the foundational understanding that the covenant of marriage was
between a man, a woman and their God, and that children were the heritage of the Lord to
be welcomed with joy into that family.
As she asked other questions, I gave answers that were honest, but on her level of
understanding—enough, but not too much, information for her to process. We wanted
to help her develop a biblical view of her sexuality from early childhood. By adolescence,
we wanted her to know that sex is good with the right person—her spouse, and at the
right time—within the covenant of marriage. God created her as a sexual being not only to
produce children, but to share this joy with a spouse, and that it is worth waiting for!
With two brothers in the house, I began to teach her early about body privacy and modesty.
She could see that boys and girls were different, and we talked about how God created
both in His image, yet male and female, for the purpose of becoming parents and having
families to the glory of God. We were laying the foundation for her own marriage and family
in God’s time.
But most importantly, we, as parents, became her source of information. We wanted
open communication about any and every topic she questioned. When classmates talked
at school, she wanted to talk to us about their discussions to see if they were correct. That
openness paid rich dividends so many times through their teen years as all three of our
children came to us with their questions and concerns.
When they were tempted, the foundation was in place to know God’s perspective on the
issue. That made them less vulnerable than children or teens with little understanding of their
own bodies and their sexuality. Even as young children, they knew there was an appropriate
familial “yes” touch and an inappropriate “no” touch. They understood that body privacy
meant they didn’t show their private parts to others and they didn’t look at others. They
knew they could say no to anyone who wanted to violate that privacy, and that they could
talk to us about it. As they matured, they understood that pornography is the abnormal and
is a violation of those privacy issues we talked about when they were children. Line upon
line, precept upon precept.
As soon as children are using electronic devices (which seems to be younger
and younger) there must be guards, guidelines and boundaries in place. Having a
filter or parental controls is absolutely necessary! Talk to them about why these guards are
necessary. Warn the children about the possibility of inappropriate pictures popping up and
what to do if that happens—have a plan in place.
This conversation must take place so that they understand that any violation of the plan
must be handled as a serious matter. An accidental popup that was immediately shut
down by the child is handled quite differently than when he searches out those sexual
pictures. Children need the accountability of knowing parents are watching and aware of
what they are seeing online until they reach moral maturity and are choosing moral purity
consistently, whether in thought, communications or actions.
In Scripture, the established model for change is through the renewed mind (Romans
12:1, 2; Ephesians 4:17–24). Parents who both teach and model holy living are helping
their child to think biblically, to put off sinful habits, and to put on Christ-likeness. The
flesh is drawn to sin in general, and to pornography and all sorts of sexual perversion
in specific. Children must be trained to resist wrong thinking that opens them to wrong
actions, wrong choices. If any person is to put off pornography or any other sexual sin,
he will only put it off and keep it off if there is a righteous replacement. In other words, he
must put on a biblical view of his sexuality.
A Vision for Moral Purity
That is why I stressed in the beginning to start those conversations early, to teach
children about their bodies as a reflection of God’s holy image, to teach them about
God’s plan for families, and to teach them about moral purity. Then pray, pray, pray! Let
them know you are praying for them to make wise choices as they mature. Pray for them
and with them about any and all of their concerns. Take time to listen to their concerns,
and just enjoy them as your children. This time is an investment in their lives that will pay
rich rewards as they mature into godly young adults.
They will thank you for guiding them into moral purity as they stand at their own wedding
altar some day.
Prestonwood has a variety of Bible Fellowships for the spiritual development of
every person. No matter your age and stage of life, there’s a Bible Fellowship
for you. Visit prestonwood.org/connect for more information. The Prestonwood
Library, located on the second floor of the Plano Campus, provides additional
resources and services to help Christians grow in faith and ministry. Visit
prestonwood.org/covenanteyes for additional resources.
Used with permission: covenanteyes.com