How can I help protect my child from being exposed to pornography?
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“How can I help protect my child from being exposed to pornography?” Help for Parents (2021)

“How can I help protect my child from being exposed to pornography?” Help for Parents

Motherhood/Childhood

How can I help protect my child from being exposed to pornography?

You can help protect your child from being exposed to pornography by setting family guidelines for safe technology use in the home. Technology is a miraculous gift, and when used correctly, it can bless our lives. Consider introducing your child to digital devices, apps, and media only when you believe that he or she is mature enough to use them responsibly. Talk openly and often as a family about how you can establish and follow healthy standards in your media use. Your discussions might include the following topics:

  • What information or content is appropriate to share or view online.

  • What to do when you see inappropriate content.

  • Where technology should be used. For example, you may decide as a family that it’s best to access digital devices in common areas of the house. You may also decide to establish technology-free zones.

  • How much time is healthy for technology use.

  • How to create appropriate posts for social networking sites.

  • How to handle cyberbullying or inappropriate texting.

  • How to use technology wisely in environments outside the home, such as at school or at a friend’s home.

Conversations about pornography may make your child feel ashamed or afraid if he or she has viewed pornography in the past. Discuss these topics in a calm way that helps your child feel comfortable. As a parent, you might choose to start by asking yourself important questions about your own technology use. Are you willing to do what you are asking your child to do? How can you model proper technology use for your family? If it seems appropriate, you might consider sharing experiences where you have misused technology in the past. This may help create an environment where your child feels like he or she can have an open, loving discussion with you.

Filters

Internal Filters

You can also help protect your child from being exposed to pornography by encouraging him or her to listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. You can help your child think about questions like these:

  • Am I using technology in uplifting ways?

  • Am I careful about what I share online?

  • Do I feel comfortable asking my parents about things online that make me feel curious or confused?

  • Am I using technology to avoid interacting with others or to avoid my own thoughts and feelings?

  • Am I keeping my personal and family information safe from others?

  • What is my turn-away plan when I accidentally encounter pornography?

  • Do I know who to ask for help if I make mistakes?

External Filters

Software filters will often be able to restrict inappropriate content. Additionally, there are many resources that may help.

  • Safe-mode settings or safety apps. Add-on applications allow you to select safe content for your children, review and regulate how much time they spend on different activities, and restrict them from viewing objectionable material.

  • Modifying platforms. Search and streaming platforms can be modified to filter out inappropriate content.

  • Internet content filters. Filters can prevent certain harmful material from reaching children. Consider filtering software, hardware filters, and internet proxy filters.

As seems appropriate for your family, you might also act as a filter by checking your child’s phone and digital accounts. If you check your child’s search history and often find that it’s blank or includes searches only from the past day or two, it’s possible that your child may be intentionally deleting it.

More Ideas

Identify the types of media that help each family member feel inspired and uplifted, and then encourage them to seek out and share some examples.

Take advantage of teaching moments when they arise. This could include when you are with your child and encounter situations that are relevant to what you hope to teach, such as seeing sexualized advertising, movies, music, or video games or coming across news stories.

Talk with your family about how we can fill our minds with positive ideas and experiences. You might begin by asking each family member to talk about, draw, or write a happy memory or to share something they like about themselves or someone else in the family.

Watch the video “Dare to Stand Alone.” Help your children come up with situations where they might encounter pornography at school or at a friend’s house. Discuss how they could respond in these situations.

Encourage your children to discuss their thoughts and feelings about media they have recently encountered, either positive or negative. (Consider these suggestions.1) You might also consider discussing your own thoughts and feelings about media you have recently encountered.

Church and Community Resources

Some of the resources listed below are not created, maintained, or controlled by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While these materials are intended to serve as additional resources, the Church does not endorse any content that is not in keeping with its doctrines and teachings.