Now those images are in the brains of all 11 of the children involved and will likely affect future decisions they make. The boys will never forget those images because the images are stored in their brains and because they entered their brains on an emotional level. So what can we do to help our children not have this experience?
1. Educating your child/teen is a key component. Kids need to understand this problem so they can first, avoid it, and second, if necessary, handle it. Here are things they need to understand:
a. Tell children that sexuality is good and can help create a strong marriage.
b. Tell how special it will be to save that experience for marriage.
c. Teach that getting involved with seeing inappropriate pictures is compelling. The more they see, the more they will want to see and they can’t erase those images out of their mind. At times the pictures will surface in their mind, totally uncalled for, and then they will have to deal with the problem.
d. Teach them that our bodies were made so that we are naturally curious. These are normal feelings.
e. Teach them that addiction can come in a single exposure of Internet pornography
f. Teach them to say “no” when someone wants to show them a supposedly “neat” image on the computer or elsewhere.
g. Teach them to tell you as they see inappropriate images in bathrooms, on magazine covers, etc. Keeping secrets about what they have seen will tend to make those desires increase.
h. Teach the importance of avoiding “all” sexual images in movies, videos, magazines, video games, etc., because the more they see, the more they will want to see and addiction comes quickly and is difficult to overcome.
i. Keep reminding them that sex will be wonderful in the walls of their marriage if they save it for that. Pornography destroys marriages and teaches deviant sex. Addiction can start with things as casual as lingerie ads.
2. Keep all forms of inappropriate material out of your home.
3. Place the computer in an open, supervised area of your home.
4. Install a filter and know that a knowledgeable student can get around it.
5. Require a password to enter the computer
6. Monitor Internet viewing, history and cookies. Be there when your children are using the computer.
7. Talk to your children about what they are viewing.
8. Teach them “crash and tell.” This means to immediately turn off the monitor or entire computer if they pull up something inappropriate and then tell you.
9. Check out disks that come into your home.
10. Avoid sleepovers. This is a common place for inappropriate sharing of sexual images.
11. Monitor movies, television and videos that you or your children see. Pictures teach.
11. Role-play how to handle various situations.
12. Warn children about chat rooms, online associations, cell phone abuse, etc. Have rules they understand.
13. Have fun with your children/teens so they will talk openly to you.
Next week I will write about what to do when you find your child has already been exposed.