What should I teach my child to do when he or she sees pornography?

    Gaining a healthy understanding of sexuality helps our children know how to react when they see pornography. We empower our children as we teach them to discern between right and wrong. As we teach our children about the role of sexuality in our lives and the importance of sexuality within a marriage, we help them to know that sexuality is not only pleasurable but is also meaningful in other significant ways.

    Discussing sexuality with our children can be difficult, but building relationships of trust with our children can help them feel comfortable talking to us. This video offers a few ideas on how we might approach teaching our children about healthy sexuality.

    Healthy Sexuality Is Part of the Plan of Salvation

    President Boyd K. Packer taught that “the power of procreation is not an incidental part of the plan; it is the plan of happiness; it is the key to happiness” (“The Plan of Happiness,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2015, 26). The home is the ideal place for children to learn about sexuality. Parents have stewardship over their homes and can access inspiration and guidance from the Spirit to address the unique needs of their children. Helping our children understand and manage their God-given sexual feelings prepares them for their eventual roles as spouses and parents.

    While we may feel vulnerable and uncomfortable with these conversations, we can learn to talk with our children about sexuality in a natural way as part of everyday life. Teaching what healthy sexuality is and why it matters helps arm our children against the evils of pornography. This includes teaching about healthy touch and affection, loving words, nurturing, and tenderness. This video discusses how parents can teach healthy sexuality.

    What resources should I use?

    Many resources are available to help parents decide how to teach their children what to do when they see pornography. The Church has combined ideas from leading experts, including Dr. Jill Manning and Kristen Jenson, to develop a video to help parents initiate discussions with their children (see video below). This video explains what pornography is, how it affects us, and what we might do when we see it.

    This video teaches that:

    • Our bodies are a gift from God.
    • Taking care of our bodies includes being safe.
    • We face many dangers, including pornography.
    • Pornography is defined as pictures of people with little or no clothes on. There are many places we might see pornography, such as on billboards, in the grocery store, in magazines and books, and on phones and computers. Pornography can also be more than just pictures.
    • We have two parts of our brain: a thinking part and a feeling part. Pornography pulls at the feeling part to try and get us to look at more, but we can use the thinking part to say, “That’s pornography. That’s not good.”
    • God gave us strong feelings of curiosity and attraction to help us want to get married and create strong families.
    • When we see pornography, we should do three things:
      • Identify it and say “That’s pornography.”
      • Turn it off or turn away.
      • Tell a parent or a trusted adult.
    • We can feel the peace and protection of the Holy Ghost as we strive to do these things.

    Ideas for Taking Action

    Here are some ideas that others have found helpful. Prayerfully consider what actions might be best for your family, taking into account that they may or may not be listed here.

    • Ponder everyday situations in which you might naturally discuss sexuality with your children. What do you imagine saying in these situations?
    • Consider your own experiences learning about sexuality. Use these experiences to help you decide how you will teach your children. What would you repeat? What do you wish was done differently?
    • Study how sexuality fits within the plan of salvation. Consider how you might teach the doctrine of the family to your children. (See “Family Home Evening: Sexual Intimacy Is Sacred and Beautiful” as an example.)
    • Make a family plan for responding to pornography. Consider viewing and discussing the video “What Should I Do When I See Pornography?” with your children.