Good News from Google: Increasing Internet Safety for Kids

by Kristen A. Jenson, M.A.

Thank you GoogleIn a world where 50 Shades of Grey inspires young men to act out sexual violence, let’s be grateful for the victories that increase Internet safety for kids. Parents, let’s all give a shout out to Google for these historic actions:

The new YouTube Kids App

YouTubeKidsFinally Google has come out with a safe way for your kids to watch their favorite shows on YouTube. The app is for both Android and iOS mobile devices and features a timer built-in to help manage screen time. Read more here.

Google’s new policy banning porn from public Blogger accounts.

Beginning March 23rd any Blogger blogs containing pornography will be made private so only the administrators and specific people invited to the site can see it. Read more here.

Thank you, Google!

Google changed their advertising policy, cutting out a lot of porn ads.

Last summer Google announced that they would no longer allow porn sites to use the Google Adwords program to advertise their services online. A big step in the right direction!

And here’s some more good news that Google had absolutely nothing to do with:

Brain MRIGround-breaking research. We need a lot more of it, but let’s celebrate what we have:

  • A Texas Tech study showed a positive correlation between talking to kids about porn and less use of it as they become young adults.
  • A study done by German researchers which verified that porn addicts show evidence of brain shrinkage in their pre-frontal cortex. Brain shrinkage has been documented in people with substance addictions and in pedophiles, but this was the first study to show brain shrinkage in porn addicts. Why is this important? It continues to confirm that pornography can become a real addiction. (Something that is still disputed by some academics–but not by porn addicts and the therapists who treat them. They know it’s real.)

Want to help make more victories?

  • Sign the petition championed by Enough is Enough to take porn out of McDonald’s and Starbucks where it can be viewed using their free WiFi.
  • Check out the PornHarms Action Center for other simple actions you can take in seconds. Some actions are very positive, like thanking companies for making anti-porn policy changes. An easy way to speak up!
  • Share what you know with your friends and family. Hey, share this blog post and spread the good news! That’s a cool idea! (See the buttons below.)

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The Amazon best-selling book Good Pictures Bad Pictures 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 needClick here to subscribe.

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If you purchased a copy of Good Pictures Bad Pictures (or read it anywhere), please post a customer review on Amazon! You’ll be helping even more families find this valuable resource! (Seriously, those reviews make a huge difference!) Scroll down to the bottom of the first page of reviews and click on the Write a Customer Review button. As of this morning, we’ve got 149 reviews, who will post the 150th? Thank you!

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Do Porn Talks Work? New Study Gives Hope to Parents

by Kristen A. Jenson

do porn talks workDo regular talks about pornography really make a difference?

Do you ever wonder if anything you say is really influencing your kids? Are they even listening? Turns out a new study shows that parents who talk to their kids about avoiding porn are making a difference! In fact, these talks also improve their kids’ self-esteem.

Study results are impressive

Here’s a quick run-down on the ground-breaking study which was done by Texas Tech University and will soon be published in the Journal of Children’s Media.

  • Children of parents who regularly talked about their dislike for pornography expressed more negative attitudes about pornography as college students.
  • These negative attitudes correlated to less porn use.
  • Kids who were caught looking at pornography and consequently received more porn talks also developed a greater degree of emotional resiliency. Specifically, they were less likely to report lowered self-esteem when they discovered that their romantic partner used pornography.

Researcher and author Eric Rasmussen doesn’t know exactly what is causing this increased emotional resiliency.

However, others note that it just makes sense. As reported in the Deseret News article The porn talk works: If parents dislike porn, kids will too, Washington State University associate professor Stacey Hust explains that parents who can talk to their teens about the hard topics enjoy a more open communication with them.

Hust explains that these adolescents benefit in more ways than one. They “tend to have stronger self-esteem and be higher critical thinkers and be…more aware of the media’s role in their life.”

mom and daughter blurredTalk early, talk often

I’ve always assured parents that talking to their kids about pornography will only increase the trust their kids have in them as well as increase their ability to talk openly. I mean, if you can talk with your kids about pornography, you can talk about anything!

One mom of four recently shared this great advice with me:

“It’s so important to get out in front of the game—to talk to your kids about pornography before they get exposed or interested. Otherwise, you will be playing catch up. With our first child, we figured we’d just wait for him to ask us questions. That was a mistake. Now we realize we need to be the ones being proactive and asking our kids questions about what they have seen online.”

 

It’s either you or them

iStock_000032640694SmallIt’s true. Either you can set your kids’ attitudes about pornography or you can let the media do it for you.

As quoted by Deseret News, Rasmussen reasons:

“Our kids are going to learn about sex and pornography from the media, whether their parents are involved or not. So if parents have any ounce of concern about how their kids approach media and pornography, this research shows that parents’ influence can be stronger than the media influence. Parents are in the best position to influence their kids’ media habits.”

I’m so excited that this research has come out! I hope many more studies will be done to show that talking early and talking often does make a difference.

Make a difference

If you want to make a difference in the lives of your friends and family, please share PornProof Kids with them!

Have you ever wondered if talking to your kids about pornography will prevent them from getting hooked? Does this study give you more assurance? Please leave us a comment–we enjoy reading them!

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The Amazon best-selling Good Pictures Bad Pictures 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 needClick here to subscribe.

 

 

 

3 Things Your Kids Need to Know about Fifty Shades of Grey

by Kristen A. Jenson

50 shades of grey

Fifty Shades of Avoidance

I have a confession. I have never wanted to read the pornographic, record-breaking, best-selling book Fifty Shades of Grey.

Never. Even. Been. Curious. So I’m pretty sure that puts me in some kind of weird minority. (And yet, on most days I still manage to be happy. How strange.)

But today I am weary of the hype, the promotions and the products (thank you, Target!). As many of you know, the movie Fifty Shades of Grey is being unleashed this weekend—just in time for Valentines’ Day. Oh the irony!

Here’s the plot

50ShadesOfGrey_DSM-says-BDSM-is-mental-disorderBillionaire Christian Grey seduces naïve and virginal Anastasia Steele; stalking her and manipulating her until she accepts his sexual fantasies, which include bondage and inflicting pain (BDSM).

Sounds like true love to me!

The movie glamorizes what I can only call a sexually abusive relationship. But how this fantasy plays out in the real world is very different, as author and expert Dr. Gail Dines points out:

The most likely real-world ending of Fifty Shades of Grey is fifty shades of black and blue. The awful truth in the real world is that women who partner with a Christian Grey often end up hightailing it to a battered women’s shelter with traumatized kids in tow. The less fortunate end up in graveyards.”

I’ve done work for a domestic violence non-profit, and I can tell you this is true.

One outraged mom asked:

50ShadesOfGrey_600x_AnastasiaSteele_2“Do we want our daughters to believe submission to any perversion should not only be tolerated but celebrated? Even more dangerous, do we want our sons to believe women are objects to be used, abused and manipulated for their every whim?”

Definitely not.

What 3 things do your kids need to know about this movie?

Recently I spoke to Karen, a mom who has talked with her three children ages 11, 14 and 16 about Fifty Shades of Grey. What did she share with her kids? Three simple but powerful messages:

1. Do what I do. “I’m not going to see this movie because I don’t vote for entertainment that goes against my values.” (This is called modeling. Talk with your kids about your values and why you believe in them. Your example is more powerful than you think.)

50ShadesOfGrey_600x_truelove_22. Get savvy about media messages. “The main character acts just like a sexual predator. He looks for a young woman who is an easy target, and then he manipulates and grooms her to use and abuse for his own selfish purposes.” (This helps kids cut through the hype and see what the main character is really all about. It’s so important for kids to become media savvy—peeling away the glitz and pyrotechnics to analyze the values and messages portrayed by protagonists. By the way, Karen’s oldest son had heard that the book was about a woman who liked to be tied up during sex and the book showed guys how to do that. Wow! That’s completely opposite of the truth.)

3. Remember what creates true love. “The glamour of a super wealthy lifestyle is used in this movie to make what is twisted and demeaning appear acceptable and even desirable. It portrays sexual violence and calls it love. It’s not love; it’s the opposite of love.” (This helps kids understand sexual integrity. Define clearly how sex can be healthy and beautiful and your kids stand a chance of rejecting the poison peddled by popular culture. Check out this post on sexual integrity.)

What would this proactive mom of four tell her six-year old about the movie?

Karen says that she and her husband have spent a lot of time talking to their kids about showing respect for their own bodies as well as for the bodies of others.

“I would tell him that the movie teaches people to be disrespectful to each other and that showing disrespect can never make people feel happy or loved.”

Can porn-proofing help kids find true romance as adults?

Click on cover for Kindle version!

Click on cover for Kindle version!

I think so! One evening I was signing books at a local bookstore. Another author was there signing copies of her (clean) romance novel. I grabbed a copy and set it at my table, explaining that for kids to grow up and experience true romance, they’ll need the messages of Good Pictures Bad Pictures. Turns out, porn-proofing and romance go hand in hand! (Read what one romance author thinks of Fifty Shades of Grey here.)

Ultimately we need to teach our kids that long-term romantic love is centered in the heart and the mind more than in the body. Because in the end, that’s where true love lives or dies.

What have you told your kids about Fifty Shades of Grey? What have they heard about the movie?

More resources

Because the issues mainstreamed by Fifty Shades of Grey are not going away anytime soon, here are a list of articles that will help parents prepare their kids to reject the 50+ lies about romance in Fifty Shades of Grey (and throughout popular culture).

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The Amazon best selling Good Pictures Bad Pictures 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 needClick here to subscribe.

Ditch the Dread! 5 Tips to Help Parents Start the Conversation about Porn

by Kristen A. Jenson

Making Conversations about Porn More Comfortable

5 Tips to Help Parents StartYou know it’s the right thing to do. You may even have a book to help you. You want to help your kids safely navigate the dangers of their digital world. But you just can’t bring yourself to start talking with them about (YIKES!) pornography.

Some parents are comfortable speaking right up about online safety and the brain dangers of porn. But others are not. It’s anxiety-producing! And easy to put off.

Recently I spoke to a mom who attended one of my PornProof Kids 101 presentations. She told me that she had already purchased our book Good Pictures Bad Pictures, but was hoping for a little “hand-holding” to help her get started.

So that’s what we’ll do today—a little hand-holding! Here are five tips, plus some bonus advice from a mom of four who overcame her fear to finally start the discussion.

Young dad and son5 Steps to Ditch the Dread

1. Remind yourself that the more you do something the easier it becomes. Think about all of your firsts: Your first day at a new school. That first week on the job. Your first time attending an exercise class (pretty scary for me!). All of these firsts get easier as you repeat them. I was sweating bullets when I did my first radio interview! But now that I’ve done a few, it’s easier. I’m not nearly as freaked out. (Just a little freaked out…)

It may take a big dose of courage the first time you talk to your kids about pornography. You might be nervous, but I promise you—it will get easier.

2. Try a role-play rehearsal. Sounds a little weird, but it works! If you’re uncomfortable talking with your kids, practice role-playing with your spouse, a close friend or family member. I do this before interviews and it really helps! The more you hear yourself say the words out loud, the more comfortable you become using them.

If you decide to purchase Good Pictures Bad Pictures, read it out loud to yourself or with your spouse/friend/family member. Rehearsing really works! Just ask any Broadway actor!

3. Focus on the why. Why do you want to warn them about pornography? Review these 21+ reasons to warn your kids about porn. Think about how pornography could impact your child’s future ability to form intimate relationships and enjoy a happy marriage.

Lila Spencer flowers(Did you know that a poll of family law attorneys revealed that 56% of all divorces in this country name a spouse’s porn addiction as a major factor in the break-up of the marriage? That is a mind-blowing number and no one is talking about it!!!)

4. Recruit your friends. Ask them! They may have some great ideas. And if they haven’t yet broached the subject with their own kids, you might give each other courage to get started!

I remember the time when my walking partner encouraged me to finally have a difficult conversation that I’d been putting off. (She was probably tired of hearing me obsess about it!) She gave me a pep talk and then challenged me to do it within that week. It worked! And she was right; afterwards I felt a lot better! (So there’s another idea–give yourself a week to do it and tell someone about your goal.)

Parents tell me how relieved they were to finally get this dark topic out into the light–like a burden had been lifted from their shoulders. I believe you’ll feel the same way!

5. Name it when you see it. Our cultural environment is littered with overtly sexualized and pornographic images, lyrics and words. So use them as natural conversation-starters! When you see or hear something, point it out and ask your kids what they think: “Why do you think advertisers use scantily dressed women in their ads? What kind of a reaction are they trying to get from you?”

GPBP_23SmlHelp your kids develop awareness by pointing out examples of sexualized media, “Hey, to me that looks like pornography!” Here’s the story of a 5-year old who did that in a grocery store; what happened afterwards was amazing!

cute-kidJeanette’s Words of Wisdom

I recently spoke with Jeanette, a concerned mom of four children ages 6 to 16, about overcoming the fear of talking with her kids about porn. Read her valuable insights:

“My parents never told us anything about sex or pornography, so when it came time to talk to my kids, I felt awkward. But I know a few people who are caught in a pornography addiction, and I DON’T want my kids to go through that. I guess it’s my fear motivates me to talk with them.

“My husband and I read Good Pictures Bad Pictures to our kids, and from time to time we take it out and review some of the concepts with them during our weekly family night. We probably bring it up about once a month.

“We also pray for help in knowing when and what we should discuss with them. My husband and I talk about this on a fairly regular basis.

“I check their phones intermittently (while they’re using them), and of course, no computers in bedrooms.

“In the end, I think the more casually I can bring it up, the less awkward it will be to talk about.”

Thanks, Jeanette! Do you have ideas to share that would help other parents? Leave us a comment!

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @PornProofKids. Be sure to check out our Pinterest boards. Thanks!

Check out this latest Amazon review of Good Pictures Bad Pictures by FranklinJJones:

“So clear and comfortable. Talks about porn in a way I wouldn’t have been able to on my own. Worth every penny. I can’t say enough about this book. Had a great conversation with my 9 year old while we read. While it is written for very young kids,… it would be informative and clear for any age!”

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The Amazon best selling Good Pictures Bad Pictures 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 needClick here to subscribe.

12 Popular Slang Words Every Parent Should Know

by Claudine Gallacher, MA

12 Popular Slang Words Every Parent Should KnowConnecting with kids through slang?

Do you feel out of touch with the rising generation? Parents often feel their kids speak a different language, and kids often complain that their parents don’t understand them.  One great way to connect with your kids is to talk to them about their slang, the new words created or reinvented by their age group.

(And although I am talking about teens here, even younger kids often know slang terms you may want to understand.)

How many of these words (common in IM, texting, and Instagram) do you know? I sat down with my daughter and got a few surprises! (See below!) More importantly, it was a great way to show that I want to stay in touch with her world.

Try it! You might enjoy a fun conversation as your kids teach you how to use “on fleak” correctly. Just don’t embarrass them by trying to use the new terms in front of their friends!

mom son didn't know that

12 Popular slang terms my daughter taught me

I’m sure there are more than these 12 that are relevant to kids. And they may differ between geographical locations. For me, learning slang terms is important because they make up a part of my kids’ language and give me glimpses into their world.

  • bae(s): The person or people who you put Before Anyone Else. Can be used to post, “miss you bae!” or “with the baes” (beside a group picture).
  • OOTD:  Outfit of the Day. Can be used alongside a picture of yourself.
  • BB:  Baby. Put it at the end of a message.  “Love the shoes, bb.”
  • MCM: Man Crush Monday Can be used on any Monday with a hashtag to announce which guy (celebrity or otherwise) you are dreaming about.  “RPattz is still my bae #MCM”
  • WCW: Woman Crush Wednesday. The guy version of MCM.  “My #WCW Emma Watson.”
  • TBT : Throwback Thursday. Can be used anytime to reminisce (like when posting old pictures).
  • dat [fill in the blank] doe:  dat means that and doe means though.  “dat hair doe” could be posted next to a picture of anyone having a bad hair day or anyone whose hair is annoying
  • turn up: To get ready to party/let loose/go wild. “My house. Tonight. We gonna turn up!”
  • ship: To approve of a romantic relationship. “I ship Zac and Sara!  Perfect together!”
  • YAASSS: Yes (with excitement)! For example: Seahawks to the Superbowl! YAAAAASSSS!” (Sorry Pats fans! I’m a native Washingtonian!)
  • can’t even – can’t stand it “That person is so annoying. I CAN’T EVEN!”
  • on fleak:  on point/just right/in the zone  “My hair is on fleak today.”

Portrait of a surprised Asian woman pointing at her touch screen tablet.Warning: One common word that has been sexualized by teens

Most parents use the word “thirsty” when they need a drink of water.  However, among the younger generation, “thirsty” has shifted to mean someone who is desperate/eager for sex. My teenage daughter tells me that boys in her class snicker when their naive (to slang) teacher makes a comment about needing to fill up her water bottle because she is thirsty.

Keeping up with slang

If you want to stay current on modern slang, you can always look up words in on online slang dictionary. Or, better yet, you can talk to young people. Language is always in a constant state of reinvention and if we want to continue to understand our youth, we must not only be their teachers, but be willing to learn from them as well.

What slang terms have you learned from your kids? How important is it to keep current with their language?

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @PornProofKids. Be sure to check out our Pinterest boards. Thanks!

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The Amazon best selling Good Pictures Bad Pictures 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. Click here to subscribe.

Reducing Access to Porn: 5 Essential Questions Every Parent Should Ask

by Gail Poyner, PhD

Reducing Access to PornWhen parents discover that their child has been viewing pornography, it can feel devastating. That’s completely understandable. As a psychologist who treats adults and children who are struggling with pornography, parents almost universally ask, “What do I do?” My answer is the same every time: PREVENT ACCESS!

GailPoynerSml

Gail Poyner, PhD, Licensed Psychologist

The longer a child continues to view pornography, the more entrenched it becomes in their mind, so the first step is to prevent further access to it as much as possible. I recommend a simple but useful way to start what will be only the first step in attempting to keep a child from viewing pornography.

I call it the “who, what, where, when and why” approach. I recommend that parents lovingly and calmly question their child to find out the following information.

The 5 W’s of Porn Access

Who: Is there someone who exposed the child to pornography? If this person can be identified (very often it’s a friend), it’s important to intervene in their time together, as well as alert a parent or caregiver who may have influence over that person.

Two boys watching smartphone photosWhat: On what device is the child accessing pornography? It is essential that this be determined. Most kids access porn on handheld devices—like iPads or smartphones. However, many view it from laptops, video games, PC’s, television and movies (DVD’s). It’s absolutely necessary for parents to restrict any access to pornography. Continued access only strengthens the hold porn has over its victim. Make sure you have strong passwords on all mobile devices, computers and video games.

Where: At what location is the child accessing porn? Is it at home, a friend’s house, at school, the library? Discovering where the child is being exposed to pornography is essential to stopping their access to it.

Mother Catches Daughter Using Tablet Computer When Meant To Be StudyingWhen: Knowing when a child is viewing porn is, once again, essential to precluding access. Is it at night when everyone is sleeping? Is it during the summertime when children may be alone all day (studies show a huge increase in porn use during that time). Is it after school? Is it during a sleepover when the kids are unsupervised?

young boy thinkingWhy: There are many answers to this question, but children aren’t likely to know them. Here are a few whys:

  • Children are curious and they don’t have the skill to reject porn when they see it.
  • Peer pressure—kids may not understand how to say no to a friend who is exposing them to it. (For help on teaching kids courage, read this.)
  • Distraction from negative emotions—most adults report feeling drawn to porn when they feel bored, lonely, angry, stressed, or even tired.

The list can stretch pretty long, but helping a child understand some of the most common “whys” can help them deal with the triggers that often set the stage for porn use.

In our book Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids, we teach kids about the feeling brain and themom daughter reading GPBP thinking brain. A child’s thinking brain is immature and this makes it harder for kids to control their impulsive behavior. One of the parent’s roles is to act as the child’s thinking brain to protect them from life-altering dangers. Access to porn is one of those dangers.

Preventing access is just the first step, but it’s a powerful and necessary one in helping a child avoid the very real trap of pornography. Beyond using filters on devices and on the Wi-Fi at home, wise parents will find out the who, what, where, when and why of their child’s access to pornography and do as much as possible to cut off access to it.

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Good Pictures Bad Pictures 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. Click here to subscribe.

“My Porn Addiction Started at Age 10″ Ten Tips from a Father in Recovery

by Kristen A. Jenson

ten tips from a father in recovery

“If you could go back in time and give your 10-year-old self some advice, what would you say?” That’s the question I posed to Brad, a recovering porn addict who I met at a speaking engagement last fall. Brad was happy to do this interview, and as a father and recovering porn addict, has lots of great advice for parents. (Don’t miss his top ten tips after the interview!)

Kristen: Brad, tell me how you first encountered pornography?

Brad: I was introduced to porn by my older brother’s friend—he brought over magazines that he had taken from his dad’s stash. We kept them hidden, and I could go and look anytime I wanted. All kids have curiosity. I wanted to see how a girl’s body was different from mine, and when I did the hormonal response in my body started to kick in. I was only ten years old. I had no idea I was becoming addicted, although I knew what I was doing was wrong.

Kristen: So how did your addiction escalate to the Internet?

Looking at Computer MonitorBrad: My dad was a techie kind of guy and we had an early home computer. He got us hooked up to the Internet and I found that I could access pornography from our computer. My parents started using passwords, but they were easy to figure out. It became a problem because I didn’t have a block in place. There weren’t a lot of “protect your kids from porn” messages back then. I don’t think my parents realized how smart we were. I always went to church with them and was a popular kid—I don’t think they ever suspected I had a problem.

Kristen: So when did you realize you had a problem?

Brad: Well, I’d binge on porn and then I’d use my will power to stop. But even after staying sober for a year, I would fall back into it. I kept up this pattern even after I got married. It wasn’t until I finally admitted that I was an addict that I was able to begin fixing this problem.

Kristen: And when did that happen?

Brad: Before I explain that, you have to realize that all along a big part of my self-image was that I was a good Christian who always attended church. I had confessed before, but never suffered any big consequences. I truly was trying to overcome this, but even after setting up an extremely painful consequence for slipping up (telling my wife to take my precious kids and leave me if I ever looked again), I did slip up. At the time I went in to confess to my church leader, I had just started working with the youth—something I really enjoyed doing. But as soon as I opened up about my problem, I was released from that position. Other important privileges were taken away from me, and it felt like a kick in the teeth. It was humiliating because my entire congregation knew something was wrong. But I needed that. It made me realize that I truly was an addict that needed outside help.

Kristen: How did you get help?

Brad: I started attending a 12-step addiction recovery program for pornography and sex addicts. I’d known about these programs, but I always thought they were for hard core addicts, and I didn’t think I was at level. But the great thing is that since entering that program, I haven’t messed up once.

Kristen: What helps you to stay in recovery?

Brad: Firewalls. I had to put firewalls in place. It’s really amazing how well they work. house on fireOne morning I woke up and saw that the house behind us had caught fire. It started in the garage and burned so hot that it melted the cars! However, the blazing hot fire did not breach the firewall between the garage and the house. I went over and looked at the sheetrock. It wasn’t any thicker than the regular sheetrock, but it was made of fire-proof material. That got me started thinking about things we can do to build firewalls.

For example, locking the phone is the biggest thing, so I can’t get to the Internet. That’s how I usually slipped up was on my smartphone. Now my wife has the passcode to the Internet. It’s very inconvenient because I’m a business consultant and I use my phone a lot. But locking it up has made a huge difference. I also never use my phone or go on the Internet after 10 pm. I just know that when I’m tired, I’m weak. When I’m tempted, I use a delay tactic. I make myself wait for 15 minutes.

I’ve learned that I had to identify my boundaries and build firewalls so I wouldn’t go anywhere close to pornography.

Kristen: If you could go back in time and give your 10-year-old self some advice, what would you say?

dad son stairsBrad: Wow, that’s a tough one. I think I’d tell that little boy to take a good, hard look at where he was headed and really think about the man he wanted to become. I’d tell myself about the years of heartache he might suffer as a result of looking at pornography. I’d explain the brain science behind addiction like you do in your book. I would tell him that he can be so much more if he’ll keep pornography out of his life.

Kristen: Other than the Internet, what else did you give up to get into recovery?

Brad: My 26 gigs of music that I’d been collecting all my life. I love music and I’m a musician. In high school, I was a really good break dancer, too. (And I mean, really good!) But I came to realize that this music weakened me. It was a trigger so I deleted it. In the end, being sober was worth it.

Kristen: Is there anything else that helped you to fight your porn addiction?

teen girl with boyBrad: One of the things that stuck with me and gave me strength to fight was the understanding of how human sex trafficking is linked to pornography. I never paid for pornography—there’s so much out there for free!—but I supported it by viewing it. This made me feel so ashamed and the realization that I was contributing to this problem really helped to fortify my resolve to beat it.

Kristen: Any final words of advice for parents?

Brad: I want to tell them two things: First, take this very seriously and do everything you can to protect your kids. My parents taught me to stay away from smoking and drugs. They said that I would be tempted and pressured by my peers, but that I had to make my decision before the moment of temptation hit me. I think that same message can be applied to pornography and taught to kids so they are prepared.

Second, I want parents to know that if their kids are into porn, there is hope that they can overcome this addiction to lust (because that’s what it is). At one time I thought I was doomed to take this addiction to my grave, but although I still struggle, it is possible to learn to deal with addiction and come out the winner.

Here’s some more hard-earned wisdom from Brad.

 A Porn Addict’s Advice for Parents

  1. Don’t underestimate kids or the pull of porn. Kids are smarter than you think. And pornography is more enticing to kids than you believe. Take access to the Internet very seriously.
  2. Empower with brain science. From a very young age, kids need to be taught about the neurological dangers of pornography. Books like Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids can be very helpful in explaining to kids that although looking at pornography does have an effect on their brain, they can learn powerful ways to protect themselves with the CAN DO Plan.
  3. worried boyAnalyze and then act to replace porn. Kids who are involved in porn need to figure out why they are using it. What are their triggers? Does conflict with friends or family members trigger porn use? Loneliness? Negative feelings? Find out those things and begin working on them. Just remember, when you take porn away, some other stress response needs to take its place.
  4. The power of music and video games. For some kids music can lead to a greater involvement with pornography. The lyrics and beat can add fuel to the fire. For others, it’s video games. Discover what weakens their resolve to quit using and plan ways to eliminate them.
  5. Find out your child’s portals to porn. You must be willing to do anything and everything to cut off access if your child has been viewing Internet pornography.
  6. Explain the link between porn and human sex trafficking. The young women in pornography are often the horribly abused victims of sex-trafficking. By the time kids are 10 or 11 they can begin to understand this concept.
  7. Get real. In order to get into recovery, a person has to first and finally admit that they are an addict. If your child keeps getting pulled back into using pornography, it’s possible that an addiction has been developed. The sooner this reality is addressed the better chances are for recovery.
  8. Understand that an addicted brain does not consider consequences. Fear of punishment or loss cannot keep a person sober. The addicted brain doesn’t work that way. It goes directly to the addiction, bypassing the part of the brain that considers consequences. That is the very nature of an addiction.
  9. To get and stay in recovery, addicts can put up firewalls. Parents can use thishouse on fire same idea to keep kids safe from pornography. Lock phones (from Internet access), put strong passwords on all mobile devices and change them often. Understand that kids can gain access to the Internet via all sorts of apps.
  10. Go sign up for Fortify. Parents with kids under 13 who are involved in pornography can sign up for Fortify—an online recovery program from Fight the New Drug—and work the program with them. The program was created for teens, so parents may have to explain a few things, but it’s a very affordable first-line option (and free for teens up to age 20). The programs includes 50 videos, a Battle Tracker calendar and loads of other amazing features.

Whew! I think this is one of the longest articles I’ve posted. If you’re still with me, give yourself a pat on the back for endurance! I hope you’ve learned something valuable to help your kids decide to keep pornography out of their life.

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