So What Can We Do To Protect Our Homes From Pornography?
by JoAnn Hibbert Hamilton
Womens Conference May 2002
So what can we do to protect our homes from pornography?
I don't think very many people really know if there has ever been pornography on their computer. The question is, "Has a babysitter pulled it up and perhaps shown it to your children? Has a friend of your children gotten into it? When you go home, go to www.contentwatch.com. On that homepage you will see Content Audit. It is free. Download it and according to those who put out this information, you will know right then everything that has ever been on your computer. Tonight you will know if you have a problem to deal with.
- If you find pornography of some sort, talk calmly to a child or teen. If you say to your child, "I have told you a hundred time that that stuff is filth," you will never know where your child is on this issue because he will never tell you. It is important that you stay calm and maintain a good relationship with your child or youth so this becomes something you both can talk about. The only thing worse than finding it is to NOT find it because then your child will move into addiction.
- Ask your children what they have seen. Most children will just tell you. Parents don't know because they don't ask. If a child won't talk about it, there is usually a problem. If he does so easily, you will know right where he is.
- A key is to teach your children/teens that:
- Pornography changes how people think.
- Teach them that it makes deviant things seem normal. Explain to your children that's why their friends tell them that certain things are appropriate when they aren't. Their thinking has changed because of their exposure.
- Teach them that the person involved is always looking for a higher high which is nonexistent.
- Teach them that it ruins relationships.
- They will lose the capacity to love,
- They will not experience the real intimacy that God meant for them to have.
- Teach them that it creates distance and anger in a marriage.
- Teach them that it is quickly addictive, i.e. one exposure on the internet, two weeks and common in three months.
- Teach them that the criteria is to judge against innocence. If a baby who is born innocent never sees pornography until he is 18 he is shocked. That isn't happening. How desensitized are our children?
- Talk to your family about pulling back tighter on their standards for movies, videos, television, or video games and meet the standard in the pamphlet, "For the Strength of Youth" where nothing inappropriate or suggestive in any way is to be seen. There's nothing wrong with changing family rules when you learn about a problem.
- Teach them to crash and tell. Crash means that if they ever accidentally pull up pornography on the computer, to immediately turn off the computer. Then they will see just an instance of pornography instead of 10 minutes of it.
- Teach them that they will feel guilt but it is important for them to tell so you can help them with this.
- Teach them to talk to you about it. You want to help them and give them support.
- Teach them to feel the Spirit. Teach them to do things that create joy so they experience natural highs that come from God.
- Teach them to love the Savior. As children, gather them around you and read stories about Jesus. Assure them that he provided the atonement to help each of them be able to return to Him..
- Teach them to love the scriptures. There is a family in our ward whose children when they were teens really loved the scriptures. I asked their mother what they did. She said, "My husband did it. Every time he walked into the house he picked up the scriptures. Even as little children when they asked a question, he said, 'Let's see what God has to say about that. " They learned as children that God had all the answers.
- Teach them about repentance. So many youth have made mistakes and so they feel like they are trash. This is not true in God's eyes. They just need a new start and a better understanding of God, his plan and his love.
- Teach them they cannot afford to be curious. Again, their father could have seen a little when he was a child and that didn't make him a sexual addict, but in today's world, addiction comes quickly because of the Internet.
- Put the computer in a public place where you can supervise it.
- Check that the school teaches "crash and tell."
- Use a filter over and above your server level but know the computer still needs supervision.
- Learn how to use the Internet. So many mothers don't know how. You can't afford to not be knowledgeable in this area. I have a son who appeared at home from college almost every weekend for a period of time. At 11:30 p.m. and said, "Here I am Mom to teach you." The lesson went on until after 1 a.m. I was so tired and I didn't think I was ever going to learn. He persisted for months and one night in 20 minutes I could see how it worked. I am go grateful.
- Check the history every night. Then you'll know where you are.
- You will want to role play with your six year old about how he is going to act when he is approached with an inappropriate story, joke or picture. Play with him enough so he automatically reacts in a positive way. You might say, "Johnny, I have a bad picture," and see how he reacts. Dr. Lynn Scoresby tells us in his book, "Bringing Up Moral Children in an Immoral World," that in the hands of seven and eight year olds in every elementary school are sexually explicit pictures. I could hardly believe this until I telephoned two-second grade teachers. Both said it was true. "Is it everybody?" "No." was the answer. "It is a small percentage." I was so glad. "How can you tell?" I asked. The reply was, "By the stories they write and the pictures they draw, I can tell who has pornography in their homes." And what do children do with a picture? They share. We need to send children to school prepared for these approaches by other children. We need toinclude in that teaching, "Tell me when this happens." As they share, praise them. Perhaps take them out and buy ice cream. In other words reward their telling about this.
- Warn your 11-year-olds that as the hormones set in, the curiosity level rises. They will have a harder time with this. Teach them what will happen to their life if they give in to the curiosity. They have already been turning these things down for five years. They will be the strongest youth we have ever had because they will have been well taught.
- Know that the number one place where pictures are passed around and there is inappropriate touching is sleepovers, according to Dr. Scoresby.
- Know that you need to check computer disks that come into your home. A fifteen year old might give a 12 year old a disk and say, "There are really neat things on this disk," and what he considers neat is pornography.
- Know that the free AOL or other CDs that offer free hours can be put on your computer and now you have no filter.
- Give this information to your neighbors and the parents of your children's friends.
- Know that there are warning signs that will help you identify a problem. One of these is if your child stays up late on the computer. Another is if the door is locked. Know that the lie is part of the problem. Youth who have never lied will lie about this. You have a problem if when you check sites, you find all the sites are erased. A teen will isolate somewhat, often be temperamental and won't talk about what is bothering him. He or she doesn't feel good about himself or herself. There are books and materials available that can give you more information. Every parent and grandparent needs to be better informed about this issue. One of the major problems we have on the Wasatch front is that no one thinks THEY have a problem, and so no one becomes informed about this. As a result, lots of children and youth as well as adults are getting hurt.
To Strengthen the Family, Ways to protect your home against a growing problem, JoAnn Hibbert Hamilton, obtained at www.envisionentertain.com and later at other LDS bookstores. I wrote this book to get information out to families. It contains the statistics that show the problem, including sources. It lists the lies youth hear with supporting answers, gives age appropriate talk for various ages that concern what is happening, includes the above checklist with more information, includes a checklist to protect your child outside the home, a dialogue for detecting sexual abuse in children, indicators that a child has a problem, teaching that can prevent involvement, information on how to overcome a problem, success stories, information about our schools, the library, the community, etc, and it includes a skeletal outline of talks I give so other people with the use of this book can give them. At this point this is totally a non-profit venture.
Bringing Up Moral Children in an Immoral World, S. Lynn Scoresby, Shadow Mountain, available at LDS bookstores.
The Drug of the New Mellennium-Internet Pornography, Mark Kastleman, Granite Publishing, available at LDS Bookstores. This book helps the reader understand what is going on in the body and the mind as a person is exposed to pornography. It will help people understand the strength of the addiction. Mark is LDS and this is basically tactfully written.
He Did Deliver Me from Bondage, Colleen C. Harrison, Using he Book of Mormon and the Principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as They Correlate with the Twelve-Step Program to Overcome Compulsive/Addictive Behavior and Other Problems. Windhaven Publishing & Productions, POBox 282 Pleasant Grove, Ut. 840062, www.windhavenpublishing.com.
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