This post is sponsored by Covenant Eyes.
My oldest child is seven years old. In a perfect world, I would not have to worry about protecting him from pornography. But, this is not a perfect world and I absolutely have to worry about it.
But at age SEVEN? Surely, I don’t have to worry til my kids are teenagers, right? Recently, my friend Jenny shared a great series on her blog about porn proofing our kids. One of the most shocking revelations was that the average child is exposed to porn for the first time at the age of 9.
That seemed so young to me that I asked around a little bit. “How old were you when you saw porn for the first time?” Everyone I asked said they were younger than 12 and I can only imagine it’s worse now than it was when we were kids because of all the devices connecting to wi-fi.
One of the things I’ve come to realize is that I cannot 100% protect my kids from being exposed to porn. At some point, they’re going to see it. It’s everywhere. I HATE THAT. I wish I could just stick my head in the sand. But, knowing not only the harm porn does but how saturated our world is with it, I want to do the best I can to protect my children. It’s time to start having conversations with our kids about porn before they’re ever exposed to it.
I want my kids to hear about sex from their parents and feel comfortable asking any questions they have with us. Because we’ve lived on a farm for the pest year, conversations about sex probably come up pretty often and I’m so glad that’s the case. So far, we’ve let our kids guide the conversation with their questions. And honestly, it really hasn’t been awkward. And even if it does get awkward at some point, I refuse to let that stand in the way of this important conversation. I want to be the resource my kids go to for all their questions. I don’t want them to think that porn is the only place the can go for answers about sex because porn will only tell them lies.
I want my kids to know that sex is a gift from God. That they don’t have to be embarrassed to ask about it. That their bodies are amazing and wonderful and they are each born with dignity and value. And I want them to know that there are images out there that would seek to diminish that dignity and warp the purpose and meaning of sex, images that exploit and injure both the viewer and the women and men being viewed.
When my kids are one day exposed to porn (because friends, it’s going to happen someday) I want them to realize what they are seeing right away and know that they don’t want anything to do with it. I want healthy relationships for them. I don’t want them to ever feel ashamed or unlovable. And I want them to understand that other human beings are created to be loved, not used.
I want them to know that porn is a lie and I want them to know that love is real and that they are so worthy of true love. I seek to make my marriage the kind of love they want to strive for. I hope my relationship with my husband is full of love, joy, friendship, passion, and respect so that they know what true love looks like and so they won’t settle for anything less.
I want to protect and prepare my kids for loving relationships and a strong sense of self-worth and the dignity and value of others. I absolutely hate that it’s necessary to have these conversations with my young kids, but here we are. It’s time to be smart about putting filtering software on our internet-accessible devices and perhaps moving toward having a family desktop in the center of the house rather than devices in the bedrooms.
I’m partnering with Covenant Eyes on this post and I had a chance to view their free online course called CMGConnect Parents. This little 20 minute video course is geared specifically to Catholic parents and covers not just how to have positive conversations about sexuality and the internet with your kids but also what to do when you discover your child has already been exposed to porn.
As I said, our kids are young so we haven’t been there yet, but I can only imagine that this is an incredibly common situation for families to find themselves in and can be tricky to navigate. Because of course you want to address the issue is a way that helps your child feel safe confiding in you and helps them feel loved and treasured, not ashamed and closed off. There’s great advice in CMGConnect Parents on how to handle those situations! And after finishing the short 20 minute video, Covenant Eyes is offering a code for a free month of their filtering and accountability service.
So let’s do this. Let’s start this conversation NOW and shine a light on the dangers of porn so that it can’t thrive in the darkness anymore. We can’t let this topic be taboo because we don’t want to think about it, it’s too important. This isn’t easy, but let’s start talking about it with our kids. Let’s prepare them to encounter porn and know that it’s telling them a lie about sex and love and what human beings are for. Let’s tell them the truth about sexuality and real love. Because that’s what they deserve.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Covenant Eyes. All opinions are my own. As always, I only share about services and products that I would use myself.