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

“What should I teach my child to do when he or she sees pornography?” Help for Parents (2021)

“What should I teach my child to do when he or she sees pornography?” Help for Parents

father reading to children

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

The Church has combined ideas from leading experts to develop a video to help parents initiate discussions about pornography with Primary-age children (see “What Should I Do When I See Pornography?”).

This video teaches that:

  • Our bodies are a gift from God.

  • Taking care of our bodies includes keeping them safe.

  • Pornography is defined as pictures of people with little or no clothing on. There are many places where we might see pornography. Pornography can also be more than just pictures.

  • There are two parts of our brain: a thinking part and a feeling part. Pornography pulls at the feeling part to try to get us to look at more, but we can use the thinking part to look away.

  • God gave us strong feelings of curiosity and attraction to help us want to get married and create 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 trusted adult.

To initiate discussions with teenagers, parents might prefer to watch the video “How to Talk to Your Kids about Pornography.”

This video teaches that:

  • Our sexual feelings are positive and have been given to us by God. When shared appropriately in marriage, these feelings help unite couples and create families.

  • Open, loving dialogue with teenagers is critical. We all have natural curiosity about sex. Your goal as a parent is to provide knowledge and support. When teenagers feel like they can talk with a trusted adult, they are more likely to share their questions, experiences, and feelings.

  • Many teenagers want to know why pornography is harmful. You might discuss how pornography portrays false relationships where people are shown as objects for manipulation rather than as real people with thoughts and emotions. You might also discuss how pornography interferes with a teenager’s brain development as he or she is learning how to make decisions.1

  • If your teenager has been viewing pornography, it doesn’t mean that he or she is addicted to pornography.

The home is the ideal place for children to learn about and discuss sexuality. This includes learning about healthy touch and affection, loving words, and the importance of sexuality in marriage. As you help your child gain a healthy understanding of sexuality, he or she learns how to discern between right and wrong. You also help to prepare your child for his or her eventual roles as spouse and parent.

More Ideas

Help your children understand the relationship between the sexual feelings they have or will develop and the sexual behavior that should be reserved for married couples. Teach them that they are not abnormal because they have an interest in sexuality or because they may have seen pornography. The video “Replacing Myth with Truth: A Better Way to Talk to Your Kids About Pornography” may help guide your conversation.2 You might also consider your own experiences learning about sexuality. What would you repeat? What do you wish might have been done differently?

Ask your children how they feel when they hear someone talk about sex or when they see an inappropriate image. Discuss ways to respond to situations—both inside and outside the home—where sex and sexuality are not represented in a respectful or uplifting way.

Display pictures of your children or family. Share your feelings about when your children were born or about the joy and fulfillment they bring into your life. Explain that sex is meant to be an expression of love and that it enables children to be born and families to be together. Refer to “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” to help teach about the doctrine of marriage.