Two Levels of Internet Safety: One Mom’s Advice on Filters

Our kids need every defensive tool against pornography that we can provide and Internet filtering is one of the basics. Marisa Corless is passionate about being a mom and providing her kids with the best childhood possible. She’s an avid researcher on topics concerning child-rearing and today we get her take on Internet filtering. 

One Mom’s Advice on Internet Safety

By Marisa Corless

marisa corlessTo provide Internet safety, most parents use some sort of software that is loaded onto their computer. This is a great first start, but what about the other mobile devices like tablets, mp3 players, and game consoles that also access the Internet and can be used to browse? What about the devices that come into the home with a friend? They too need a filter.

Two Levels of Filters

  1. On my home network, I use two filters. I use an Internet filter on ALL computers. No one needs to see pornography and if a site is miscategorized, as I have found on occasion when I have tried to access a known site, the parent can override and white-list  that particular site (i.e. add it to the filter’s list of safe sites). Peace of mind is worth more than the inconvenience of having to unblock or override occasionally.
  2. Beyond filtering all computers, I run a filter on my router. I personally use OpenDNS Home*. The free version allows for customization and filtering at the level you desire, as parents. Upgrading to the Home VIP plan, which costs $19.95 per year, allows for more thorough reports on internet usage.

two girls with cell phoneHow does it work?

OpenDNS changes the IP address of the existing router and filters incoming traffic before it ever leaves the router. In this way, all devices are filtered. A major positive is that unlike many device specific Internet filters, OpenDNS does not slow down internet access. I really appreciate that. And even though I have parental controls enabled on various Internet accessible devices, those controls don’t actually filter the internet most of the time, but OpenDNS will.

I also appreciate that if a friend accesses my internet with an unfiltered device, my router will filter the Internet for that device.

Beyond Filters

One caveat–no filter is 100%.  And you can’t assume your kids will be protected when they leave your home for other activities. That’s why you need to talk with your kids about  Internet safety—the good, the bad and the ugly.

I am really grateful that Kristen A. Jenson and Dr. Gail Poyner, and the rest of the PornProof Kids team, worked so hard over the past several years to write a read aloud book (Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids) to help parents talk to their children about Internet safety. It isn’t a matter of if, it’s a matter of when; and when kids are exposed to pornographic images, they need to be prepared with tools to handle the situation so it doesn’t take hold and dominate their lives.

Marisa Corless is a wife and homeschooling mother of five amazing kids, master herbalist, scout leader, home school co-op co-chair and mentor, and very part time karate Sensei. 

*Note: Marisa’s product recommendations are her own; PornProof Kids receives no compensation for promoting any filtering products. Neither does Marisa receive any compensation for her blog post or endorsement of Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids.

SMART Parents Make a Plan to Address Pornography Exposure

This is the third in a six-article series to help parents respond to a child’s accidental porn exposure or purposeful seeking it out. The first article in the series is Your Child Has Viewed Porn, Now What? 5 SMART Tips for Parents.

business woman teacher with glasses and a suit with chalk   at aThe SMART Plan

  • Stay calm
  • Make a plan
  • Assist your child to sort out their feelings
  • Regularly check in with your kids
  • Train your family

Make a Plan

Before you talk with your child about their exposure to pornography, make a plan about what you want to accomplish. What are your ultimate goals? Some of them might be:

  • To continue building a close relationship with your child
  • To provide a safe environment for them to tell you what they saw and ask questions
  • To come up with some mutual solutions for keeping your child safe

Jeffrey J. Ford, a Marriage and Family Licensed Therapist who specializes in pornography addiction, explains that “much of the time initial disclosure begins the process of getting the whole story, and is rarely the whole story!” I know of one young man who initially said he had looked at porn only five times. His mom was relieved, but later found out that he had been viewing porn regularly for years.

Serious talkConsider ways to get your child to open up and answer the following questions.

  • How much pornography have they seen?
  • How often have they viewed it?
  • How did they find it? Did someone else show it to them?
  • Which devices have they used to view it?
  • What types of pornography have they viewed?
  • Did they masturbate when they were viewing it? (This brings it to a higher level of involvement. Masturbating to pornography builds and solidifies a neurological pathway in the brain.)

Realize, you may not get all of these questions answered in one session. Be patient and you’ll ultimately end up getting more information as your child feels safe trusting you with his/her answers.

Family fishingOne Father’s Story

The authors of So Sexy So Soon; The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids, Diane E. Levin, Ph.D., and Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D., describe a situation where an eight and a half year old boy is exposed to pornography and tells his dad about it. The boy instinctively knows he should not have seen what he saw and, although he has a good relationship with his dad who has answered questions about sex since the boy was five, he worries that his dad will be mad at him.

The dad asks him what he saw and then explains that, “[S]ome grown-ups like to look at pictures of bodies with no clothes and sex, but it’s not something…mom or I like to do, and it’s not something for children to see, and I don’t think grown-ups should have things like that on the Internet that children can find.”

In this way, the dad is expressing his values that he believes pornography is wrong.

The dad then asks what his son could have done when his friend offered to show him the “sexy pictures.” This is the kind of “give and take” conversations that Levin and Kilbourne recommend. Not jumping in and imposing limits or punishments, but forming a mutual plan with the child.

Punishment or Opportunity?

Sombre futureIn this story, the parents of the perpetrator friend find out that he’s been viewing pornography and react by punishing him and taking away all of his “screen time” for a month. The authors explain,

“By focusing only on setting limits and giving punishments, [his friend’s] parents miss a crucial opportunity to help [their son] deal with the pornography he saw and to influence the lessons he is learning. Their response also teaches [their son] that it’s not safe to talk to his parents about sexual issues.”

It may be that that in the long-run it’s more helpful to focus on the reasons your child was looking at pornography, instead of doling out a punishment.

mom talking with sonAs you are planning your response to your child’s porn exposure, think about:

  • The information you want to discover
  • How you are going to deal with the source of the pornography exposure (talk to the perpetrator’s parents, advise the school, tighten filters etc)
  • How you are going to involve your child in mutual solutions (“How can we help you to protect yourself from seeing these harmful and upsetting pictures?”)

In my next post, we’ll talk about how you can assist your child to sort out their feelings about the pornography they have seen. It’s not only upsetting, but it’s very confusing for kids when they view the kind of hard core pornography that is so available on the Internet. They need their parents’ help to figure it out.

Here’s the next article in this series: Porn is Tricky! SMART Parents Assist Kids to Understand Feelings

Your Child Has Viewed Porn, Now What? 5 SMART Tips for Parents

Shocked woman pointing at her digital-tablet.If you discover your child has already viewed Internet pornography, the way you respond can make a big difference. It’s totally worth the effort to help keep your kids safe online by planning for an occurrence that has become all too common.

Good Pictures Bad Pictures helps kids report porn exposure

When I asked dozens of parents to “beta-test” our new book Good Pictures Bad Pictures; Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids, they often reported finding out that their kids had already viewed pornography (but had never told their parents).

Our beta-tester parents often discovered this when they read to their child the following paragraph from Chapter 1:

Click on image to purchase

Click on image to purchase

“Many kids see it by accident on computers, phones, or other devices. Sometimes kids are shown pornography by another person—even by a friend or family member. Has that ever happened to you?”

TIP: Explaining that pornography exposure happens to other children as well, and is even perpetrated by friends and family members, makes kids more comfortable confiding in their parents about their own experience.

Eye-opening Note: Expert Jill C. Manning, PhD, read an early draft of Good Pictures Bad Pictures and strongly recommended we add in “or family member.” :-(

How you find out matters

There are two different porn discovery scenarios which evoke strong but different emotions from parents:

  1. You find out your child has been viewing porn in secret, or
  2. Your child accidentally views pornography and tells you (either voluntarily or when you ask)

Be SMART!

How do you respond when you find out your child has viewed pornography? Just be SMART!

  • Stay calm
  • Make a plan
  • Assist your kids to sort out their feelings
  • Regularly check in with your kids
  • Train your family

SMART momEach of these SMART steps holds essential keys to porn-proofing your child, and I will cover each in depth in the next several weeks.

But today I’d like to share with you a friend’s discovery story that is becoming quite common: mom finds porn on the iPad.

Caught off guard

Last year, my friend Tricia called me on the phone. She was sobbing and could hardly talk. All I could understand was that she needed me to come NOW. I rushed over and knocked on the door, then rang the doorbell. No answer. I was almost freaking out myself!  Finally, I let myself into her home and followed the sobbing sounds into her master bathroom. There I found my sweet friend beyond upset. I hugged her and, when she finally calmed down enough to talk, she told me she had found pornography links on her child’s iPad. I’ll let her tell the rest of her story here.

Thankfully, she was SMART. She calmed down, got educated and made a plan with her husband to assist their kids and train the entire family to avoid this problem.

Family playing with Tablet computer at homeParenting has always been the hardest job in the world, but then Internet porn came along and made it even harder! In the next several weeks of SMART posts, I hope to make your job easier. At least, I hope to offer clarity and some solutions for helping a child who has been exposed to or even developed a habit of viewing pornography.

Do you have any questions I can answer about responding to a child’s porn exposure? Please share them in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer them in the upcoming weeks. Thank you!

Here’s the next article in the series: SMART Parents Stay Calm

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Click on the poster below to subscribe to our blog and we’ll send you a FREE downloadable poster of the 5-point CAN DO Plan featured in our book Good Pictures Bad Pictures. It’s a great reminder for kids of the empowering information they learn when you read them Good Pictures Bad Pictures!

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The Porn Talk: Five Tips Every Parent Needs to Know

Family playing with Tablet computer at homeTo help keep kids safe online, every parent needs to warn and educate their kids about the dangers of pornography. If they don’t, kids are left to the predatory wolves of the porn industry who are looking to create an addicted customer for life.

Here are five of my best tips to get you started.

  1. Get comfortable with your topic. Educate yourself and leave shame behind. Pornography entices kids by activating a very normal and strong part of their brain—their sexual center. For a child to be curious about seeing naked people is totally normal. However, they aren’t able to foresee the damage down the road, and shame only makes pornography more addictive.two girls with cell phone
  2. Start early. As soon as your kids have any access at all to the Internet, you need to give them some simple warnings about “bad pictures.” They need to know you expect them to tell you of any exposure so you can help them stay safe.
  3. Keep talking. Don’t have ONE BIG TALK and then never say another word. This will overwhelm the child and may lead them to go to other sources for clarification. Make talking about pornography a natural part of discussing other negative influences and challenges they meet. This should be an on-going conversation which progressively gives your child more and more information as they grow up. A six year old may not be able to understand how pornography “objectifies” people or normalizes sexual harm or supports sex trafficking, but a 12-year-old can.
  4. Unmask the lies told by pornography about sex. Teach kids that the true purpose of sex is to bond two people who love and trust each other and are committed to their relationship. It should be loving, kind, respectful and honest. In other words, the same traits that you desire in any relationship! But pornography teaches just the opposite: Sex is for exploiting or taking advantage of another person for your own selfish pleasure; violence and rape are normalized and portrayed as enjoyable for women; and unprotected sex has no ill consequences like sexually transmitted infections, physical damage and emotional scarring. These lies about sex are hurting our kids’ future ability to develop a healthy sexual relationship in their future with someone they love and respect.
  5. Click on image to purchase

    Click on image to purchase

    Give your kids a specific plan to deal with pornography exposure. Help them know exactly and immediately what they must do when they see bad pictures. Teach them how to minimize the shocking memories of pornography that are hard to forget. Many children see porn and never say a word; in fact, in my opinion, NOT telling their parents is the norm. But these images keep dogging them and may entice kids to go looking for more. My new book, Good Pictures Bad Pictures, that I co-authored with Dr. Gail Poyner, has a simple to remember CAN DO plan that arms kids to reject and deal with pornography exposure. It’s probably the most powerful part of the book!

mom talking with 11 year old sonStart talking with your kids while they still see you as a credible source of information. Be proactive in shaping their attitudes about healthy sexual relationships and their counterfeits in the media and online.

Any amount of time you invest in this will bring you excellent returns in your child’s future happiness.

Do you feel comfortable talking to your kids about pornography? What has helped you overcome your hesitations? Please leave a comment!

Free CAN DO Plan Poster!

Subscribe to PornProof Kids and we’ll send you a free downloadable poster of the 5-point CAN DO Plan, a companion resource to Good Pictures Bad Pictures. Just click on the image of the poster for the subscriber form. FREE Can Do Poster

3 Ways to Define Sexual Integrity for Your Kids (and Why You Must!)

puzzled momXSmallI’m not sure where I first came upon the term sexual integrity, but it both impressed me and intrigued me. Sexual integrity sounds like a good idea and definitely a value I’d want to pass on to my kids like: honesty, loyalty, trustworthiness, generosity, cheerfulness, and…sexual integrity!

But what is sexual integrity?

I asked a few friends, and here’s what they came up with:

  • “I think sexual integrity implies having a clear understanding of the purpose of sex (to bond two people together/to create life) and respecting the power of sex such that you would not use it for any other purpose.”
  • “Sexual integrity is having sexual strength and doing what is ultimately best for us—even when others aren’t looking or don’t know what we’re doing.”

My own definition would probably be a combination of these two. It would also include the added tenet that pornography is the opposite of sexual integrity because it promotes lust instead of love and the objectification and exploitation of others.

mom talking with sonHere’s my definition for kids:

Sexual integrity is being honest and careful with my sexual power by using it only within a marriage relationship to show love and affection for my spouse and to create a family. Sexual integrity means that I don’t use pornography to excite my body because that is misusing the purpose of my sexual power, as well as misusing others.

It could probably use a bit more work, but the point is that you can come up with your own definition. When you are clear about your own thoughts and feelings about sexual integrity, you’ve got a much better chance of instilling this value in the minds and hearts of your own children.

But why is teaching sexual integrity so important?

Has Sex Divorced Love?

Because in popular media and in online pornography, sex has been entirely divorced from love. And kids are learning that you don’t need to love someone or even to like them to have sex with them.

So Sexy So SoonAs recounted in So Sexy, So Soon by Diane E. Levin and Jean Kilbourne, a health education teacher discovered this sad trend in her 5th grade class. One of the most basic lessons she always tried to teach was that sex is a special part of a relationship between caring adults—between two people to show deep affection for each other. But one day a boy challenged her by saying, “Well, I think you don’t need to like the person. I saw sex on the Internet. My cousin showed me. They just do it ‘cause it’s fun, they like it.” (So Sexy, So Soon, p.27)

That’s what pornography teaches: Sex is for fun, and people are for exploiting to get it.

“Pornography objectifies people (especially women) and takes sex out of the context of even the pretense of a caring relationship. It is difficult for children to unlearn these attitudes.” (So Sexy, So Soon, p. 47)

Clarity on Sexual Integrity is Crucial

So, if you’re going to instill the value of sexual integrity into your children, begin by clarifying your own definition. And then start teaching it to your kids, and pointing out the positive consequences of maintaining sexual integrity in their own lives.

thinking asian girlA child that grows up with an understanding and expectation of sexual integrity will at least see the folly of porn use for what it is, hopefully before being mindlessly sucked into a vortex of lust and addiction.

How do you define sexual integrity? Do you see any examples of sexual integrity in present or past media? Please share!

UPDATEGood Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids is now available!

Click on image to purchase

Click on image to purchase

Good Pictures Bad Pictures is a comfortable, read-aloud story about a mom and dad who teach their child what pornography is, why it’s dangerous, and how to reject it. Using easy-to-understand science and simple analogies, this ground-breaking book engages young kids to porn-proof their own brains.

The 5-point CAN DO Plan teaches kids how to avoid the brain-warping images of pornography and minimize the troubling memories of accidental exposure that often tempt kids to look for more and lead them into a dark and destructive addiction. To stay safe in the digital age, kids must install an internal filter in their own brainGood Pictures Bad Pictures shows them how.

Free CAN DO Plan Poster!

FREE Can Do PosterSubscribe to PornProof Kids and we’ll send you a free downloadable poster of the 5-point CAN DO Plan, a companion resource to Good Pictures Bad Pictures.

 

 

Internet Safety: Three Tips for Parents Before Giving Kids an iPad, Tablet or Smartphone

Children Opening Christmas Present In Front Of TreeAre you planning to give your younger child an Internet-enabled device like an iPad, Kindle Fire, Google Nexus or any kind of smartphone for Christmas? It may be on your kid’s wish list, but before you wrap it up and put it under the tree, make sure you consider how you’ll keep them safe online with their new device. Here are three things to consider before Christmas morning:

The Gift of Access. Are you sure you want to give them an Internet-enabled device? Now hold on, I’m not suggesting that they don’t have access to the latest greatest technology. But you might consider giving the gift of access instead of the actual piece of technology. KJ Dell’Antonia, a parenting blogger for the New York Times, proposed a “family iPad.” That way, kids don’t create their own “individual online world” prematurely, before they’re ready to deal with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and texting, as well as the issues of Internet safety from predators.  A family device leaves parents with the “right” to set up passwords, parental controls and time limits.Family playing with Tablet computer at home

Family Tech Etiquette. Whether you give your kids the device or just let them use it, it’s crucial to set up “Family Tech Etiquette” to preserve family relationships as well as keep kids safe online. Here’s the message: In our family, we thoughtfully and intentionally use technology to improve our lives; we don’t allow technology to rule (or damage) our relationships.

Some questions to consider:couple with   teenager with device during breakfast

  • Are devices allowed to go to bed with kids at night or do they get re-charged at the parents’ bedside?
  • When friends who own Internet-enabled devices come over, where do those devices go?
  • How much time each day should be given to interfacing with the device/Internet?
  • What information should be shared online?
  • Do we allow devices at the dinner table?
  • If we’re in the middle of a conversation, do we allow that to be interrupted with a call from a friend? If so, in what circumstances?

family watching movieFamily Media Standards. This is where you talk about appropriate and inappropriate content. Why define your standards? Kids may initially be distressed or repulsed by pornography, but without specific reasons to avoid it, that initial distress can quickly be overcome by curiosity and peer pressure. If you give your kids clear reasons why they should avoid viewing pornography, you’re helping them develop their “thinking brain.” That’s the pre-frontal cortex that is still developing (and not fully developed until the early 20’s!). A child whose parents have clearly and specifically communicated how porn can be harmful has a stronger defense against the allure of sexual images. In the end, this is the best and probably only way to keep kids safe online. Here are a few ideas to get your started:

  • Our family does not watch or vote for media that objectifies women or men. People are more than their bodies and deserve to be treated with respect. Repeated viewing of media that exploits people for their bodies can lead us to see people as objects instead of human beings with feelings.”
  • iStock mom and daughter readingOur family does not watch or vote for media that is sexually arousing. Sexual arousal needs to be controlled and used for developing a loving, committed relationship like marriage.”
  • Our family does not watch or vote for media that glorifies violence. Watching extreme and repeated violence can desensitize us to the pain people feel when they get hurt and decrease our ability to empathize with others.”
  • Our family talks about the media we see. We decode the underlying messages and decide if we want to accept them or not. We ask ourselves, Is the hero a good person who conquers evil in the end? What can we learn from the mistakes the hero and other characters make?”

Whatever gifts you decide to give your kids, giving them the gift of media standards and media savvy will go a long way in keeping them safe online. In the end, with the wide availability of Internet access, our kids are going to be the ones who make critical decisions about what they will and will not watch.That’s why it’s so important to help them install a filter in their own brain. With your direction and guidance, they will be equipped to make smart choices to protect their brains from Internet pornography.

Click on image to purchase

Click on image to purchase

Update: Good Pictures Bad Pictures Now Available!

Good Pictures Bad Pictures; Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids is a read-aloud book that helps parents teach kids how their brain reacts to pornography and how they can use that information to reduce the power of the porn they’re exposed to. Plus it provides a 5-point CAN DO Plan so kids know exactly how to respond when they see pornography.

 

 

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Pornography Addiction: 3 Tips to Keep Kids Safe Online

Father and son talking in living roomA therapist who specializes in pornography addiction recovery sees kids who became addicted to pornography by the age of 12.

But the pornography industry, which earns $93 billion annually, has no interest in revealing the truth that pornography addiction is real. Much like the tobacco industry deniers of yesteryear, porn producers adamantly argue that porn addiction is a fantasy.

  • Tell that to my friend Brian (name has been changed) who was shown pornography at the age of seven, and felt compelled to search for more images of nude women. The Internet fueled his fascination into a full-fledged pornography addiction that took years, a 12-step program, and the accountability of a therapy group to overcome.
  • Tell that to a woman I met whose father gave up everything, including his marriage and family relationships, to his pornography addiction and took it with him to his grave.

A pornography addiction is a hellish trap because the brain makes its own drug! The vile images are trapped inside the memory, and there’s no way to flush them out. And even without Internet access, a person can still recall the memories of porn to feed their addiction.Regretful young man

Norman Doidge, M.D., author of The Brain That Changes Itself, says this about pornography addiction:

“Pornographers promise healthy pleasure and relief from sexual tension, but what they often deliver is an addiction…and an eventual decrease in pleasure. Paradoxically, the male patients I worked with often craved pornography but didn’t like it.”

Just another level of hell: Intensely craving something you find disgusting.

3 Powerful Truths to Protect Against Pornography Addiction

Internet safety for kids is worth every effort and it starts with them understanding the danger of Internet pornography. These three tips will fortify your kids against the trap of addiction.

  1. Teach kids that their brains can be hurt by looking at pornography. Brain MRIPornography is powerful and tricks the brain into strong feelings and desires to see more and more images. An addiction occurs when the brain becomes locked into wanting to see more and more intense images. An addiction actually changes the physical structure of the brain; scientists have actually measured the harmful effects of pornography using MRI scans.
  2. Teach kids healthy ways to deal with their feelings. Some kids use pornography to deal with negative emotions, like when they’re bored, lonely, angry, stressed or tired (BLAST), but doing so can lead to an addiction. Imagine if every time a person felt BLAST, their brain created a craving to see pornography? Pretty soon, pornography could become the most important thing in that person’s life.
  3. Teach kids to tell a trusted adult about any and all pornography exposure. Pornography has a stronger pull when it’s kept secret. Explain that when pornography is brought out into the light and discussed openly, its power is weakened.

worried boyThe access to Internet pornography is easier than ever before. While filtering software can help, the only way for kids to avoid the risk of a pornography addiction is to decide for themselves to protect their brain. And in order to make that decision, they need to be informed before their hooked.

What do you think?

 

 

 

UPDATEGood Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids is now available! 

Click on image to purchase

Click on image to purchase

Good Pictures Bad Pictures is a comfortable, read-aloud story about a mom and dad who teach their child what pornography is, why it’s dangerous, and how to reject it. Using easy-to-understand science and simple analogies, this ground-breaking book engages young kids to porn-proof their own brains.

The 5-point CAN DO Plan teaches kids how to avoid the brain-warping images of pornography and minimize the troubling memories of accidental exposure that often tempt kids to look for more and lead them into a dark and destructive addiction. To stay safe in the digital age, kids must install an internal filter in their own brainGood Pictures Bad Pictures shows them how.

Free CAN DO Plan Poster!

FREE Can Do PosterSubscribe to PornProof Kids and we’ll send you a free downloadable poster of the 5-point CAN DO Plan, a companion resource to Good Pictures Bad Pictures.

 

Why Good Pictures Bad Pictures is Way Overdue!

angry womanToday is a major milestone in publishing Good Pictures, Bad Pictures! The manuscript and illustrations are being sent (well, uploaded) to the publisher. YAY!!! (Keep reading for a sneak peek!)

But it’s way overdue. Not just because my book is so needed (wish it weren’t!). Not just because the porn industry is so predatory. (I always want to say predatorial!) But because, for many, it’s too little, too late. A book like this should have been written a decade ago.

The Elephant in the Room

Why is Good Pictures, Bad Pictures the first of its kind? This just ticks me off. I honestly don’t know why there aren’t at least a dozen books out there to empower kids so they can avoid the brain dangers of porn. Maybe it’s because pornography is that elephant in the room that no one wants to acknowledge. Despite the crushed people and stinky picture poop all over.

A Whole New Genre!young boy thinking

Good Pictures, Bad Pictures will help kids avoid the brain-damaging and soul-crushing effects of porn consumption. But I also hope it inspires smarter and more gifted people than I am (not that hard to find!) to write anti-pornography books for kids. We need more content out there! Maybe even a whole new GENRE! “Juvenile: Growing up Porn-free.”

Test-driven and Crowd-Edited

As a final effort to make Good Pictures, Bad Pictures as kid-friendly, parent-friendly and effective as possible, we farmed the manuscript out to a dozen or so parents to read to their kids. (This is the second time we’ve done this.) Afterwards, I interviewed them for their feedback. As a result, we made lots of little changes to clarify concepts and improve word choice.

Basically, it’s been crowd-edited by parents!

And Then We Paid People

Quill pen tipI sent our manuscript off to a professional editing group, Eschler Editing. Their children’s lit professor helped me improve the dialog between the mom, dad and son as well as make several other suggestions to improve clarity. A proof-reader found lots of stupid punctuation errors, as well as making some grammatical suggestions. What would we do without these skilled people?

Eagle Eye Friends: Every Author Needs Them

Finally, I took the professionally-edited manuscript to a few friends who have eagle eyes. Why? My author friends warned me that no one editor can catch every mistake—haven’t you had the experience of reading some NYT best seller and finding a typo? Our friends came through and we made a few more changes. Whew! What a process!

Good Pictures, Bad Pictures should be out by late February or early March 2014. It will be in paperback and later in the summer published as an e-version for the Kindle, Nook etc.

The Sneak Peek

happy kid with magnifying glassWhat is this revolutionary book all about? The excerpt below is from our short, but amazingly informational introduction. Keep reading to discover the chapter titles—a glimpse into the powerful content that teaches kids about their own brains and how to use them to say no to porn.

And stay tuned! As we get closer to the launch, we plan to give away even more.

This book is easy to read to kids. Good Pictures Bad Pictures uses the comfortable setting of a mother and son enjoying a family photo album, and models a conversation that teaches a simple definition of pornography (even for kids who have not yet learned the details of sex). Chapter by chapter, kids learn about addiction and their two brains (the feeling brain and the thinking brain) and how one of them can be tricked by viewing pornography, while the other can take control and prevent addiction. BookIllustrationDebbieFoxSmall

How the book is organized: The first seven chapters explain what pornography is and how the brain can be tricked into developing an addiction to it. Chapter 8 provides five powerful “CAN DO” strategies for dealing with exposure to pornography. Chapter 9 brings in Dad, who powerfully affirms what Mom has taught about the dangers of pornography and explains how porn can act like a poison.”

And here’s the Table of Contents!

Introduction: A Message from the Authors (Or Why We’re Not Crazy for Writing This Book!)

Chapter 1: What’s Pornography?

Chapter 2: What’s an Addiction?

Chapter 3: My Feeling Brain

Chapter 4: My Thinking Brain

Chapter 5: My Two Brains Work Together

Chapter 6: My Brain’s Attraction Center

Chapter 7: How Pornography Tricks the Brain into an Addiction

Chapter 8: My Thinking Brain’s “CAN DO” Plan!

Chapter 9: I Can Escape the Poison of Pornography

Glossary of Terms

Resources for Parents and Professionals

 

UPDATEGood Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids is now available! 

Click on image to purchase

Click on image to purchase

Good Pictures Bad Pictures is a comfortable, read-aloud story about a mom and dad who teach their child what pornography is, why it’s dangerous, and how to reject it. Using easy-to-understand science and simple analogies, this ground-breaking book engages young kids to porn-proof their own brains.

The 5-point CAN DO Plan teaches kids how to avoid the brain-warping images of pornography and minimize the troubling memories of accidental exposure that often tempt kids to look for more and lead them into a dark and destructive addiction. To stay safe in the digital age, kids must install an internal filter in their own brainGood Pictures Bad Pictures shows them how.

Free CAN DO Plan Poster!

FREE Can Do PosterSubscribe to PornProof Kids and we’ll send you a free downloadable poster of the 5-point CAN DO Plan, a companion resource to Good Pictures Bad Pictures.

Good News You May Not Know about Internet Porn

Shocking WebsiteThis past summer, UK Prime Minister David Cameron was able to make sure that families in the UK must make a choice whether they want easy access to Internet pornography or not. The UK has begun to require all Internet Service providers (ISP’s) to add filtering software to block pornography. As a result, customers must make the choice to remove the filtering or “opt out.”

But what if the husband wants easy access to porn but the wife doesn’t?david cameron Here’s Cameron’s answer:

“The fact is…when you sign up to an internet service provider, when you take out your broadband account, you are prompted with an online message…[about] pornography filters that are switched on.

‘If you want to keep them, go ahead, particularly if you’ve got children in the house; if you want to take them off, you have to make an active choice. And I think that’s the right thing to do.”

Some people in the U.S. are petitioning at the We the People website for the same protection. This petition is not legislation; it’s not meant to be. It’s meant to rally citizens and our government to find a solution for accidental exposure to vile and graphic images (and, I might add, the predatory practices of the porn industry which targets kids).

Of course, many people are up in arms crying that blocking porn is going to have dire consequences for freedom of speech. Do you buy that? I think our founding Fathers (and Mothers) are rolling in their graves at that argument.

Require porn to be "opt-in"

Require porn to be “opt-in”

No one is asking the U.S. government to control the Internet like China does. But regulating ISP’s seems like a perfectly reasonable and oh-so-needed action. (We recently stopped shipments of toy dolls from China that were laced with chemical toxins–why not protect kids from the much worse brain toxin of pornography?) It’s actually not that difficult, though filters are far from perfect. So, as for me, I’m all for signing the petition (and I did!). You can too, here.

More Progress Against Searches for Child Pornography

This past summer Cameron also threw down the gauntlet at search engine companies, challenging them to clean up their act when it comes to the ability to search for child pornography. As reported by SitePro News:

“Put simply, there needs to be a list of terms — a black list — which offer up no direct search returns,” Cameron said in a speech this summer. “So I have a very clear message for Google, Bing, Yahoo and the rest: You have a duty to act on this — and it is a moral duty. I simply don’t accept the argument that some of these companies have used to say that these searches should be allowed because of freedom of speech.”

Eric SchmidtApparently Cameron’s challenge got the intended response: Google’s Eric Schmidt explained that they have changed their algorithms and “have cleaned up the results for over 100,000 queries that might be related to  the sexual abuse of kids.” Furthermore, they’ve added preventative measures to warn searchers that child pornography is illegal. New technology has also been developed to tag illegal pictures so copies of them can be removed wherever they are on the Internet.

Some may argue that pedophiles use site to site sharing, thus avoiding the big search engines. That may be true, but how many people have started down this degraded path by using a search engine? All of them!

This progress is crucial and heartening! But in order to truly protect our kids, we must open up a dialogue with them, early and often, explaining to them how life will be much better without porn.

I love to read your comments so please share your thoughts on protecting your kids from pornography. Thank you!

UPDATEGood Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids is now available! 

Click on image to purchase

Click on image to purchase

Good Pictures Bad Pictures is a comfortable, read-aloud story about a mom and dad who teach their child what pornography is, why it’s dangerous, and how to reject it. Using easy-to-understand science and simple analogies, this ground-breaking book engages young kids to porn-proof their own brains.

The 5-point CAN DO Plan teaches kids how to avoid the brain-warping images of pornography and minimize the troubling memories of accidental exposure that often tempt kids to look for more and lead them into a dark and destructive addiction. To stay safe in the digital age, kids must install an internal filter in their own brainGood Pictures Bad Pictures shows them how.

Free CAN DO Plan Poster!

FREE Can Do PosterSubscribe to PornProof Kids and we’ll send you a free downloadable poster of the 5-point CAN DO Plan, a companion resource to Good Pictures Bad Pictures.

 

Porn Aftermath: 3 Simple Steps to Help Your Child Process Their Feelings

Shocking WebsiteSadly, it’s inevitable. At some point your child is going to be exposed to pornography. Hopefully, you’ve talked to them about what it is and why it’s dangerous. But even after several porn talks, kids need help sorting out their confused feelings. If they feel comfortable talking with you after they’ve been exposed, you’ve just added another layer in their armor against pornography. Especially if you can stay calm and reassuring.

I recently came across an excellent video on the Women for Decency website produced by LifeStar Network, a pornography and sexual addiction recovery organization. Jeffrey Ford, a licensed marriage and family therapist, discusses three steps you can take to help your child after they’ve seen pornography.

worried boy1. Ask: How did your body feel? Ford advises parents to recognize that pornography arouses sexual feelings, which physically feel good. Acknowledging that sexual arousal feels good will avoid shaming your child about having normal sexual feelings.

2. Ask: How did you feel emotionally? Kids often say they feel sick to their stomach or “yukky” after seeing pornography. This is confusing. How can my body feel good but my emotions feel so bad at the same time?

3. Explain that marriage is the right time to experience sexual feelings. Teach them that both their bodies and their emotions can feel good when they grow up and find someone they love to marry. Sexual feelings are good and normal and designed to bring two people together and keep them together in a committed and loving relationship like marriage.

mom talking with 11 year old sonDepending on the type of pornography they’ve seen you may also want to reaffirm that sex is not about hurting another person, but it’s about showing kindness and affection.

Pornography gives very mixed messages to kids, which are extremely confusing. The worst case scenario is to have a child turn to the internet for more information on pornography.  As a parent, you can provide a safe setting for sorting out the confused feelings produced by seeing pornography.

I highly recommend watching this 4 minute video What if my child has been exposed?

UPDATE: Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids is now available! 

Click on image to purchase

Click on image to purchase

Good Pictures Bad Pictures is a comfortable, read-aloud story about a mom and dad who teach their child what pornography is, why it’s dangerous, and how to reject it. Using easy-to-understand science and simple analogies, this ground-breaking book engages young kids to porn-proof their own brains.

The 5-point CAN DO Plan teaches kids how to avoid the brain-warping images of pornography and minimize the troubling memories of accidental exposure that often tempt kids to look for more and lead them into a dark and destructive addiction. To stay safe in the digital age, kids must install an internal filter in their own brain. Good Pictures Bad Pictures shows them how.

Free CAN DO Plan Poster!

Subscribe to PornProof Kids and we’ll send you a free downloadable poster of the 5-point CAN DO Plan, a companion resource to Good Pictures Bad Pictures.

FREE Can Do Poster

Click on poster image to subscribe to PornProof Kids!