Protecting children from a ‘porn-demic’

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BETTINA CARLOS

Porn is probably taboo in your family, as it is to most. But the growing cases of child-trafficking, cybersex among children as well as the alarming statistics on mothers as young as 10 years old and perpetrators as young as six years old should change your minds about discussing this sensitive topic to your children.

Sex is a beautiful thing that the Lord has made for the sole purpose of procreation and must only be enjoyed within the context of marriage. Some people (such as myself in my younger years) experiment and explore on the matter on their own, with the wrong guidance and pressure of friends that often result in unexpected, early pregnancies (such was also my case).

I am proactive and vigilant on this matter because of course it is a given that I don’t want my child to fall into the same trap and walk on the same path I did; but primarily I want to spare her from exposure to sexual images that are outright detrimental to her mental, emotional, sexual and spiritual well-being.

You see, perverts are everywhere and explicitly sexual images are in fact seeded in our children’s favorite streaming channels and “kid-friendly” websites. Why? Because these evil people know that the sooner they imprint sexual images in the minds of kids, the longer they have a hold on them and consequently the more their industry will benefit from this addiction.


A highly recommended book that teaches parents how to protect their children from and discern pornography

So if you have Internet at home, your child is definitely in danger. But our call to action is not to suppress but secure their of use of technology; not to spank nor scream in panic at our children who are accidentally exposed to such materials but to educate them.

I am privileged to belong to a school that is responsive to such realities, where sensitive topics like pornography are brought out in the open for discussion and education. Last Friday I attended a talk arranged by the school and conducted by Pastor Cristina Co, a marriage and family counselor and she opened up our minds on the science behind pornography and gave practical ways on how to prevent exposure, as well as how to deal once already exposed.

Basically, Co emphasizes on having a healthy family life as a solid foundation—spending quality time and securing our children in love so that they do not look for it elsewhere.

Porn, believe it or not is a source of comfort, relief and companionship to those who do not get those from their family (husbands, from their wives) at times of tiredness and stress.

As such, Co recommended the following: (1) communicate with your children, especially within the first 10 minutes upon picking up your child; (2) talk about his or her day and not just about academics; (3) involve children in chores; (4) get children to do exercise; (5) make sure that kids get 10 hours of sleep a day; and (6) discourage gadgets and TV during meal times

In general, talking and actively listening to your children are essential to make the family life healthier. So, Co warned parents to not be emotionally absent, and to not compensate their absence with gadgets without supervision.

“Build a good relationship founded in trust and love – our children must feel it is safe for them to open up to us. Be available to them,” Co noted.

Moving on to how to ensure that parents know their children’s online behavior, the marriage and family counselor suggested that gadget-use must always be with the supervision of adults.

Therefore, never let children watch privately in their own room. Also, tablets are better than phones because the screen is bigger and thus it will be easier for parents to see what they children are up to.

Blocking sites as well as subscribing to several software that not only restrict certain sites but also monitor children’s online activity is another step parents can do. Our school principal mentioned that PLDT Internet blocks all porn sites.

Now what can parents do when their child is exposed to visual sexual content after briefing him or her about it?

Co advised telling kids to: (1) close their eyes; (2) always tell a trusted adult; (3) name it (“That’s bad! That’s porn!” as a way to rebuke and break the power of that sin); (4) distract self (like going out and playing); (5) order thinking brain to be the boss (tell self that what s/he saw is bad and must not be seen again!).

In a nutshell, parents must always remind and teach your children what they can do.

Gone are the days of taboo and open secrets. As the internet abounds in varied content, so we parents must also be proactive and intentional about blocking, filtering and teaching what is right from wrong, permissible from not.

Do not be afraid to talk about sex to your children, it is better that what they know early comes from us and not peers, certainly not the Internet.

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