Have you ever heard a child laugh? Ever heard one just giggle uncontrollably? It’s the reason adults like to tickle kids so much, we just want to hear the sweet sound of little laughter. Ever wondered what it is about that sound that we can’t get enough of? It isn’t particularly beautiful like the melody of a song, but it sings to our hearts. It sings of joy and pure innocence.
Sadly, there are many ways this sweet innocence is threatened in our society. Domestic and sexual abuse is rampant, but another threat can happen with loving parents in the next room. There are some in the pornography industry who aim to hook our children now in order to gain paying customers in the future. For them, a child addicted to pornography is a lifelong customer. The ease of access to the internet has only made this more difficult for parents hoping to protect their kids’ innocence.
While it is normal for youth to be curious about sex, pornography is exploitation that teaches viewers to treat people as objects. Many victims of human trafficking have been filmed for pornography and report that their buyers wanted to live out fantasies they saw in pornographic films. Many times these acts are violent and degrading. This is one way pornography fuels the human trafficking industry.
As a parent, how can you preserve your child’s innocence? The first step is by accepting the reality of the digital age. It is not a question of if your child will see pornography, it is when. A few clicks on YouTube can send a child to a sub-genre of pornography where popular cartoon characters are performing explicit acts. Even more alarming, some game-makers are producing game sites with hidden links to pornographic material.
Funny-games.biz has the look of a reputable site with tons of games for kids. While the safe games are there, they have hidden a link on their page to take kids to “online sex games” that leads to a world of violent and graphic material. While the link is hard to find, the curious kid looking for the word “sex” will find it and will click it. According to an Australian news agency, 9 out of 10 websites the company owns are pornographic sites. It is clear this company’s goal is to hook our children young.
What is a parent to do?
- Talk to your children about pornography. If they have already seen it, stay calm, and ask them how it made them feel. Explain that their curiosity is normal and share with them that what they saw is not real. The people are actors. Take this opportunity to teach that watching it can be harmful because it makes us think something that is pretend is real. You can also tell them that the actors may be forced into doing it and may be victims of human trafficking. For resources on having this conversation visit Protect Young Minds and Enough is Enough.
- Teach your children when they see something to 1) Look away and 2) Tell a Trusted Adult immediately. Seeing pornography at a young age can stir up lots of emotions and discussing it is the best way to help your child deal with their feelings.
- Utilize filters for your home like Open DNS to filter out any explicit content. This is not fool-proof, so ongoing conversations are a must!
- Did we say, talk to your kids about pornography? According to experts, the most common mistake parents make is waiting to have the conversation until some incident forces it.
This can be a scary topic to discuss with our kids but if we keep the lines of communication open, we can help our children escape the snares of the porn industry.