The 3 No-Nonsense Lessons I Learned from Parents (#2 May Surprise You)

The AntiPorn Ladiesby Kristen A. Jenson, MA

They say when you teach you learn more than your students. And when it comes to porn-proofing kids, there is always more to learn! I’m excited to share three lessons I recently gleaned from parents.

Last week I joined my co-author, Dr. Gail Poyner, in teaching a series of four classes at the 93rd annual BYU Campus Education Week in Provo, Utah. This event draws thousands of adults and teens to attend nearly 1000 classes taught by 230 presenters.

With so many choices, would anyone come to our classes? (I mean, pornography is a tough topic and many people have either lost hope or are blissfully floating down Denial River.)

Gail teaching Ed WeekThankfully, hundreds showed up for our classes—and the attendance almost doubled from our first class on Tuesday to our final presentation on Friday.

I could share what we taught at Education Week (see the end of this post), but I’d rather focus on what our attendees taught us! Here are three lessons we learned from parents who attended our classes. (Don’t miss the final message of HOPE!)

Regretful young man#1. THE CIRCLE OF VICTIMIZATION

When a child becomes addicted to pornography, the shame, fear and pain that family members feel is powerful and intense. We were reminded of how wide the circle of victimization becomes as parents, grandparents and wives tearfully shared their stories with us before and after classes.

Our Takeaway: We gained fresh resolve to continue spreading the message and tools of PREVENTION. Anything a parent, grandparent or professional can do to prevent a child from becoming trapped in this addiction is worth every sacrifice.

Parents, please talk to kids early and often! Lose the shame! It’s an addiction that exploits an extremely strong and normal drive that we all have! Above all, DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE the pull of pornography.

#2. PORN, PRISON AND A LIFELONG FELONY

boy in bed with mobileOne mother told us of her son who had become involved in “adult” pornography as a teen, and then progressed into searching for “teen porn.” Unfortunately, pornography that involves minors is legally “child pornography” and is a felony. At the age of 18, this young man was convicted of using child pornography, imprisoned for five years, and must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. Heartbreaking!

We only wish this were an isolated incident.

(If you want an idea of the scope of this problem, go to Google News—make sure it’s the NEWS search—and type in “child pornography.” Every day you’ll see a fresh list of stories of people convicted of this felony crime. Doctors, lawyers, school teachers, business owners, politicians, government workers, police officers…)

Our Takeaway: We feel a renewed determination to educate parents about the slippery slope of pornography and the devastating legal consequences when a child or an adult is convicted of viewing or downloading child pornography. This includes sexting! A minor who sends a nude picture of themselves is technically and legally involved in making child pornography. For advice from a criminologist, read this.

#3. THE CRAZY ENERGIZING POWER OF HOPE

As I have spoken to parents all over the country, many of them have told me, “I almost didn’t come to your presentation. I’m so discouraged about this problem!”

However, hope is contagious and energizing! Check out this hope-filled email we just received:

Mature Mother With Her Kids - Isolated“I came to your classes last week on Pornography. I actually skipped the first day because I have felt so helpless with the pornography problems in the world and church. Day two I felt prompted again to go, and I am so thankful I did! 

“This class was way different from any I have ever been to before. Every day I felt like I was gaining valuable tools to take home and teach to my family… I loved how you gave us specific plans that we could implement; I also LOVED how you explained the two brains. It was so simple and with your ice cream truck/crossing the street analogy it has totally clicked with me…

“I have to say I feel empowered and I feel hopeful and I know we can teach these kids to fight back! I am super excited!”

Our Takeaway: Discouragement leads to inaction, but practical, empowering information leads to HOPE! This amazing mom is using her enthusiasm to reach out and educate other parents and teens in her community. If you’d like to do the same, check out our free DIY Workshop Outline: Inoculating Our Children Against the Pandemic of Pornography.

What We Taught At Ed Week

  • Class#1: 10 Ways to Immunize Kids Against the Pandemic of Pornography. Our WRAP Week webinar gives similar advice. Check it out here.
  • Class #2: The Brain Science Behind Pornography Addiction. For more info on addiction, check out our PornProof Kids 101 posts here.
  • Class #3: 10 Things Every Teen (and Parent) Needs to Know about Pornography Addiction. We love the info at Fight the New Drug.
  • Class #4: How to Help Kids Recover for Exposure to Pornography: Tips from a Clinician. For recovery advice, check out this post or this post.

WE ADMIRE YOU and THANK YOU!!!

Thank you for caring enough to tackle this problem head on so your kids don’t have to battle it alone! We truly admire your courage!

One little favor…could you help us help others?

Will you share our blog with your friends and family? Every child deserves to be warned about the dangers of pornography. Every child deserves to have the tools to protect their brains from its grasp.

Subscribe to PornProof Kids and get this FREE Downloadable Poster!

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Click on image to subscribe to blog.

The Amazon best-selling book Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids includes an easy to remember CAN DO Plan™ for kids to use when they see pornography. Subscribe to our PornProof Kids blog and get this free printable poster to reinforce the skills your kids need to reject pornography!

5 Back to School Tips for Porn-Immune Kids

back to school tips

Originally published on PornProof Kids ™ on August 28, 2014

A parent’s nightmare

An innocent kindergartner gets on a school bus to ride home. A third-grader approaches her, holds up a smartphone and says, “Look at this!” What the little girl sees is hard core porn. This story came from a middle class neighborhood in Boise, Idaho, but it can happen anywhere.

How does this little girl react? Will she tell her parents? Will she be scarred for life? Much of that depends on what she’s been taught and how well she’s been prepared. Continue reading

Parents, Are Your Kids Drowning on the Internet? 6 Habits and Skills to Keep Them Safe Online

by Kristen A. Jenson, MA

GPBP_02Small

Keep Kids Safe in the Ocean of the Internet!

No caring parent would allow their child to jump into a pool without first making sure they knew how to swim. But every day children are allowed onto the internet without learning the skills they need to keep afloat (and away from the sharks). Kids can learn how to stay safe if we are willing to teach them when they need it most–as young children before they get enticed by pornography. Continue reading

Will Making Porn Taboo Only Increase Its Appeal for Kids?

Taboo

by Kristen A. Jenson, MA

Most adults agree that it’s not healthy for kids to view pornography. But every blue moon we hear from someone who thinks that our efforts are in vain, and maybe even damaging to kids. Should we just accept pornography, stop making such a fuss over it, and give our kids over to the inevitable invasion of the porn industry? Continue reading

Experts Testify at U.S. Capitol Symposium: Pornography is a Public Health Crisis!

by Kristen A. Jenson, MA

Public Health CrisisHere’s our fifth and final post in our Summer Film Festival series to help parents and kids live porn-free! This one isn’t for kids, but it’s a must see for parents who want to be informed and help their kids navigate childhood in our digital age.

If you missed the first four, check them out!

  1. Get Empowered with Our Summer Film Festival
  2. This Is Your Brain on Porn: 4 Videos to Help Kids Reject Addiction
  3. 3 Videos to Help Parent Boys in a Pornified World
  4. Practical Tips for Porn-Immune Kids: 4 Videos to Help Parents

Pornography used to be seen as a purely moral or religious issue. And for many, it still is. But it’s also a serious public health crisis, and that message is gaining traction.

And who is bringing that message to decision-makers in our government? The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE). They are doing amazing work in Washington, D.C. and all over the U.S. making people aware of the damage pornography is doing to individuals, families and our society as a whole.

Dawn-Hawkins-211x211In June, Dawn Hawkins, Vice Pres. of NCSE, hosted a U.S. Capitol Hill Symposium entitled Pornography: A Public Health Crisis. Bringing together experts from all over the U.S., the NCSE wants our leaders to know that “science and research now show a wide range of harm caused by pornography, including direct links to increased demand for sex trafficking, child sexual exploitation and violence against women. Pornography affects the developing brains and shapes the sexual templates of children.”

This video includes short (five to 10 minute) segments from eight experts. I know your time is valuable, so I wrote a synopsis of each speaker and a corresponding time signature (see below). You can listen to all of them or skip to the ones you want to watch. (Warning: The first presentation includes disturbing and graphic descriptions of porn website ad copy–material which is easily accessible to any curious child. However, there are no graphic images in this video.)

Pornography: A Public Health Crisis | US Capitol Hill Symposium hosted by NCSE from Center On Sexual Exploitation on Vimeo.

Gail_Dines(00:10) Gail Dines, PhD, Sociologist and founder of Culture Reframed, a non-profit working to unmask the porn industry and the harm they are doing to our kids. She is a powerful advocate for young people. Warning: Dr. Dines does not mince words. She quotes ad copy from porn sites, and it is graphic and disturbing (and contains swear words). But in my opinion, because our kids can easily access this garbage 24/7, we owe it to them as their parents to get an inkling of what’s out there. I wish you didn’t need to know this. But I’m convinced that once you know, you’ll be even more motivated to prepare your kids to reject it.

CA-headshot-1-15-211x211(10:40) Cordelia Anderson, MA, Founder, Sensibilities Prevention Services. Cordelia explains why pornography has become a public health crisis. Overcoming pornography will take broad-based social change because the problem has grown beyond the capability of the individual to solve it (because it’s everywhere and unavoidable!). She gives hopeful examples of previous social norms which have been changed: seat belts, tobacco, clean drinking water. We CAN DO this!

Donald_Hilton-211x211(20:04) Donald Hilton, MD, Neurosurgeon. “Pornography is a biologically addictive medium which alters brain reward and motivation systems in a negative way…Addiction causes physical changes in the brain.” It’s so important that we can prove scientifically (just like we did with smoking tobacco) that pornography is harmful. Dr. Hilton gives a brief but powerful review of the current research (which is fascinating!). For added doses of the neuroscience of porn addiction, read this or watch this.

cooper-300x300(26:47) Dr. Sharon Cooper, MD, FAAP, CEO of Development & Forensic Pediatrics.  Dr. Cooper describes the many ways that adult pornography is harmful to children. Many kids are groomed by adult pornography to make child pornography, and kids learn to abuse other children when they view adult pornography. Children are traumatized by violent images and this can lead to a wide range of social and academic and medical dysfunction. A gentle but forthright advocate for children!

(Farley35:50) Melissa Farley, Ph.D. Executive Director of Prostitution Research & Education. Porn, prostitution and sex trafficking are all linked. Pornography is an act of prostitution that is legalized as long “as you get to take pictures.” It all comes down to money which drives sexual exploitation into a business enterprise–one which is constantly expanding as technology, the law and public opinion allow. All types of sexual exploitation result in severe emotional distress. The commercialized sex industry wants to disconnect or de-link pornography, prostitution and trafficking in order to normalize their industry and increase profits. Excellent info that you should know!

Layden-150x150(46:05) Mary Anne Layden, Ph.D., Director of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program. Kids watch porn and learn to imitate what they see. Porn is giving kids all the wrong messages about sex. This is really interesting information about how internet pornography is spreading “permission giving beliefs” which is normalizing pornography for our kids. To conclude, Dr. Layden quickly summarizes about 50 findings from research that show the attitude and behavioral changes that result from using porn. What an eye-opener!

Ed-211x211(55:42) Ed Smart, Vice President, Elizabeth Smart Foundation and Operation Underground Railroad. Ed shares details of his daughter’s abduction and how her captor and rapist, Brian David Mitchell, was exposed to pornography by his dad as a young boy and loved it. Pornography initiated his predatory life of sexual exploitation and rape. In fact, the main reason children are abducted is for sexual exploitation. But the nightmare for these survivors is when they are videotaped being raped and tortured for commercial pornography. Pornography provides the slippery slope that leads to abuse. Ed Smart is an amazing warrior and his work is inspiring!

Pic_Ernie-Allen-211x211(1:06:00) Ernie Allen, Esq., Former President and CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. What policies can be implemented to protect children? Latest research shows that fully a third of 10 years old’s are accessing violent, dehumanizing and degrading internet pornography. There are 42 MILLION unique visitors per day to major free pornography sites. Mobile devices only make this more dangerous for kids because it’s so accessible. Ends on a hopeful note by describing what is happening with default filtering in the UK. Excellent info for parents!

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE) hosted an influential symposium right in the U.S. Capitol building July 14, 2015, presenting compelling research and arguments about the public health crisis from pornography. The room was packed to the maximum capacity with representatives from Congress and other influential government leaders, along with members of the press, leaders in the movement, and the general public. The room was overflowing to the point that we regretfully had to turn some people away, which proves that we are at a turning point on this issue. Nearly everyone has been affected and many are looking for leadership on how to turn the tide.

More details on the event and these issues can be found at http://endsexualexploitation.org/briefing/

Please share this information with your friends and family–every parent needs to know the damaging effects of pornography!

Subscribe to PornProof Kids and get this FREE Downloadable Poster

GPBP_Cover_3

Click on image to subscribe to blog.

Click on image to subscribe to blog.

The Amazon best-selling book Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids includes an easy to remember CAN DO Plan™ for kids to use when they see pornography. Subscribe to our PornProof Kids blog and get this free printable poster to reinforce the skills your kids need to reject pornography!

Practical Tips for Porn-Immune Kids: 4 Videos to Help Parents

by Kristen A. Jenson

Here’s our fourth post in our Summer Film Festival series of videos to help parents and kids live porn-free! If you missed the first three, check them out!

2015 Summer PracticalToday we’re featuring four pragmatic videos to help parents talk to kids about pornography and sex. You know the problems–now lets explore some practical solutions!

The first three videos come from a 2015 anti-pornography conference. You are so lucky–no travel, no registration fee, but all the benefits of attending! Our last video is a short introduction to PurityWorks and their 5 Doors to the Heart approach–super helpful information! I encourage you to take some time to watch these videos–I promise you’ll get a great return on your investment with your kids! Continue reading

3 Videos to Help Parent Boys in a Pornified World:

by Kristen A. Jenson, MA

Summer Film Festival 2015 Boys

This month we’re featuring some of our favorite videos during our very cool Summer Film Festival! Today we’re sharing two videos that are especially geared to enlightening parents about the dangers faced by boys who fall prey to “arousal addictions.” This is great information for parents!

To provide a bit of a break, our third BONUS video has nothing to do with porn, but it’s oh so inspirational for both boys and girls.

By the way, if you have girls who will be marrying boys or growing up with brothers, this is for you, too!

Continue reading