Four Ways to Protect Your Family from Pornography

“Four Ways to Protect Your Family from Pornography,” Ensign, October 2019

Teaching Teens and Younger Children

Four Ways to Protect Your Family from Pornography

David and Goliath

Illustration by Shirley Patrick

Remember the young shepherd boy who faced an overwhelming foe armed with just his faith, his sling, and a few small stones? (see 1 Samuel 17:32–50). We might feel a bit like David as we try to protect ourselves and our loved ones from the destructive influence of pornography. But we’re not facing this Goliath alone. Consider sharing these empowering ideas in home evenings, family councils, and other family talks.

1.Recognizing what pornography is and what it does is a first step to avoiding it.

Our bodies are a sacred gift from God, and our sexual feelings are normal and good when used in harmony with their divine purpose. Pornography is designed to arouse and exploit sexual feelings. It portrays people not as children of God but as objects to use for selfish desires. Even young children can learn to recognize it in a simple way: “You might accidentally see a picture or video of someone with their clothes off. That’s called pornography. When you see it, you might feel an ‘uh-oh’ feeling inside. That’s the Holy Ghost telling you, ‘That’s pornography. Stay away.’”

Discussion: How can you know if something you see or read is pornography? How does pornography hurt people and show disrespect for them as children of God? What questions do you have about pornography?

2. The home should be a safe place to talk and get help.

Children who see pornography by accident can feel curious, confused, guilty, or disturbed. The home needs to be a safe place where children can ask questions about pornography, sex, and their bodies. Children who see their parents as allies are more likely to turn to them rather than face fears and confusion alone. If a family member admits that he or she has a habit of viewing pornography, respond with compassion and understanding. Tell them that you’re proud of them for telling you and that you love them and are on their side. Your bishop and resources from the Church’s addiction recovery program can be helpful to them (see addictionrecovery.ChurchofJesusChrist.org).

Discussion: How can we help each other when we see pornography? How can we make our home a safe place to share and get help? What resources can we use to overcome a pornography habit or addiction?

3. Make a plan to safeguard and empower family members.

A family safety plan could include internet filters on all computers, parental controls enabled on all devices, child-friendly streaming services, a family rule to not erase internet browsing histories, regular check-ins with a parent, and practicing what to do if someone sends you a sext and then threatens you if you don’t keep it secret. Make sure everyone knows what to do when they see pornography: (1) turn it off, (2) walk away, (3) tell someone, and (4) do something active to distract yourself.

Discussion: How can we protect ourselves from pornography at home? at school? at work? when we’re with friends?

4. We don’t face this foe alone.

Filters, rules, and family plans can do a lot to protect us from pornography. But God is our ultimate champion. The Holy Ghost is the only filter that never fails. And Jesus Christ, through the power of His Atonement, is the one source of complete healing.

Discussion: Why do we need the Holy Ghost to help us protect ourselves from pornography? How does God feel about us when we are hurt by pornography? How can Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice help us when we need to repent and turn away from pornography?