School is in session and your children are using their computers, tablets, phones and other electronic devices to complete homework. Their friends have these same devices and very likely share things they see and create on their devices. As a parent, it’s hard to keep up! And because you can’t continuously monitor what your children are seeing, you’ve got to equip them to identify and know how to escape dangerous content. They will need some protection from screen temptations!
Let’s begin with some statistics. GuardChild.org lists the following stats under their list of Internet Crime and Abuse Statistics:
- 70% of children 7-18 years old have accidentally encountered online pornography, often through a web search while doing homework.
- 90% of children ages 8-16 have seen online pornography.
- The largest group of internet porn consumers is children ages 12-17.
These are alarming statistics! How does this happen?! Well, given the fact that the pornography industry in general has profits that exceed the three major networks (ABC, CBS and NBC), they have plenty of money available to target your children. And they do that quite easily through use of the internet.
How exactly to children encounter these sites? One tactic (of many) is to use popular children’s characters in the URL’s of their sites. Once kids land on those sites, the navigation options to go back, exit or close are disabled. Your child is now captive to their content!
How do children between the ages of 12 and 17 become the largest group of internet porn consumers? The videos are offered for free with just an email address! There is no ID required, no checking of age.
And as you probably already know, these images get etched into the minds of our children, acting as a brain poison to keep them coming back for more. People are treated as a commodity, no longer an image bearer of God. Exposure places our children on a trajectory of having a distorted view of love, of using people and disrespecting others. Can you provide protection from screen temptations?
Equip Your Child!
So, what can you do as a parent to equip your child to deal with what seems to be the inevitable? That’s where this resource comes in! Now, I will be up front with you, this is not a Christian book, there are no scripture references (find what I would add to the discussion at the end of the post). I want you to be aware of that before you decide to purchase.
Good Pictures Bad Pictures is well written and age appropriate for talking to your children about the dangers of pornography. There is a Junior version of the book for ages 3-6 and a version for ages 7 and up. Going over this book will prepare your child to know what to do if/when they encounter bad pictures. Reading through this book with your child and following the activity prompts will help provide protection from screen temptations. You are arming them with power to make a choice, rather than be frozen into victimization.
Good Pictures Bad Pictures by Kristen Jenson
Kristen Jenson calls out pornography for what it is, poison for the mind. She then gives children action steps to take should they ever encounter bad pictures: Turn, Run and Tell. TURN away (or close your eyes), RUN to immediately find a parent or trusted adult and TELL that parent/adult what you have just seen. The book also gives very helpful suggestions on how to talk with your child if they have already been exposed and tips on how to help your child forget bad pictures.
Purchase Good Pictures Bad Pictures, Jr. (age 3-6) Click Here
Purchase Good Pictures Bad Pictures (age 7+) Click Here
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Bring the Bible Into the Discussion
You may want to also bring some scripture into your discussion with your child as you read through the book. A good starting point might be to talk about what the Bible says about love and loving others. With your child, read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Bring what the Bible says about love into your discussion.
We know that Jesus wants us to love others. When we read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, we must evaluate our actions. Are our actions loving? This passage says love does not dishonor others. Bad pictures of other people dishonor them. The passage also says that love should always protect. This includes protecting the privacy of others. Bad pictures expose others, rather than protect them. And we learn that love is kind. Many of the things you see in bad pictures are very unkind. We don’t want to celebrate or laugh at unkindness. Using scripture to evaluate a situation will quickly show us what is right and wrong. Remember, that’s exactly how Jesus tackled temptation, by using God’s words!
My Prayer for You
I hope your children will never be exposed to bad pictures. But if they are, I trust you are empowering them by providing protection from screen temptations. And I pray you are prepared to lovingly talk with them about what they’ve seen, pointing them in the direction of following Jesus. Let me pray for you…
Dear Heavenly Father,
We ask that you would protect the eyes and minds of our children and grandchildren. We know they are vulnerable in our culture today and we know that dangers lurk all around. Keep our children’s hearts attune to you as they encounter temptation. May they look for your way out of the temptation! Should they ever encounter bad pictures, we pray that your Holy Spirit would help them to turn, run and tell. And when they do tell us, help us as parents and grandparents to guide them lovingly back to your ways and your word. And may your forgiveness wash away what they have seen so that their minds will not be permanently influenced by evil. We ask all of this in the mighty name of Jesus! Amen.
Have you seen other resources on this topic?
I’d love to know what you’ve found!