Why is my child attracted to pornography ​when he or she has been taught that it’s wrong?

    Despite our best efforts as parents, our children may still make choices contrary to what they have been taught. It can be frustrating to watch our children make bad choices, but it is important that we seek to understand what is motivating their decision to view pornography.

    For some children, an interest in pornography stems from natural curiosity or pleasure. Occasionally there may be deeper underlying influences that motivate children’s behavior, but often children are looking for information. They live in a sexualized world, and they may be trying to understand the sexualized messages they see in media, the behaviors of others, and the world around them. It is healthy for children to be curious and have sexual feelings, and we should help them understand these feelings appropriately. In this video, Church leaders and professionals offer suggestions as to why children may be attracted to pornography.

    Seek Information and Understanding

    Through inspiration, frequent conversations, and diligent study, we can come to better understand our children’s behavior. For some children, the choice to view pornography may come from social and peer pressure, loneliness, depression, anxiety, or a combination of these and other influences. Each child is different, and each will have unique reasons motivating his or her behavior. As parents, we must take time to understand our children and their needs.

    When discussing pornography use with our children, we should aim to communicate love, respect, and a sense of safety. Our children may feel shame, and we can help alleviate that shame.

    In our homes, we can strive to create an atmosphere where children feel comfortable discussing their challenges, including pornography. As we discuss difficult issues, it’s OK to admit that we may not have all the answers. We can tell our children that we are committed and willing to work together.

    Strengthening our children against pornography is often best achieved by considering biological, psychological, social, and spiritual issues. Beyond putting in place filters, boundaries, and expectations, we can help our children learn to deal with emotional, psychological, mental, social, and physical challenges. As we teach our children to seek answers and guidance, we can help them understand God’s plan of happiness, Jesus Christ’s Atonement, and our agency in choosing to follow God’s plan.

    We can explain to our children that part of Heavenly Father’s plan is that we create meaningful connections and joyful marriages. As we discuss dangers of pornography use with our children, we can also take time to discuss emotional and sexual intimacy, the positive aspects of sexual development, and how those things connect to God’s plan for them.

    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.

    • Consider how to stay positive and avoid shaming your children. Ponder the opportunity you have to help your children through this important aspect of their life.
    • Evaluate whether you are continually communicating with your children about their biological, psychological, social, and spiritual needs and development. Take advantage of spontaneous opportunities to discuss these topics as they arise.
    • Identify ways to talk with your children about building meaningful relationships. Seek to be the primary source of information for their questions about sexuality.
    • Study “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” (Ensign or Liahona, May 2017, 145) and identify principles to discuss with your family.