Tuesday Topic: Protecting our Children from Pornography

From Becka in Ecuador: How do you protect your children from the cultural acceptance of sin?  In particular, my question is in regards to pornography.  In my country, it is very common to find porno calendars hanging on every shop wall.  Any television, at any given time will have women dancing in ways that would still be unacceptable in the US.  It was far easier for me to protect my young boys (and my daughter) from these images while we were will in the US, but here, it is virtually impossible.

(If you would like to pose a “Tuesday Topic” question, please email it to formissionarymoms@gmail.com . Provide your blog address if you would like to be linked to, and specify also if you would like to remain anonymous. Thanks!)


6 Responses to “Tuesday Topic: Protecting our Children from Pornography”

  1. 1 Ashley L January 18, 2012 at 6:35 am

    This is such a good and hard question, which I am guessing is why nobody has had a chance to respond yet! I asked my husband what he thought this morning because honestly I also really don’t know the best way to handle such a thing either. He is going to think and talk with me later and maybe he’ll have some good thoughts. I really look forward to hearing what anyone else might have to say, even if it isn’t an answer about how to completely deal with the problem. This is the sort of thing that will need attention from many different angles I am sure. We deal with similar issues here with provocative images fully visible in stores and ads, but not nearly to the degree that it sounds like you encounter there. I’m praying for you and for others who live in such a challenging situation!

  2. 2 Lori January 18, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    We have some issues with pornography in our area, although it doesn’t sound to be quite as prevalent as in your area. ( And we have learned which shops are the worst offenders and avoid them.) But your question made me think about so many other ways that sin is culturally accepted and how I want to keep my children from inheriting those cultural sins.The other day my daughter went to a friends house to play and one of the neighbors had made a special shrine with a pig head and were performing ceremonies in front of the house to appease (and send away) spirits of sickness. I was so uneasy… and I almost packed up my daughter strait away and took her right home! But God spoke to my thumping heart and reminded me that he called me to this area… and he didn’t just call me. he called my family too. And if he called us here, he will take care of us here! So I surrendered my daughter into his capable hands and let her have her play date. While I think that trusting God is the most important.. this doesn’t mean that there aren’t practical things we can do to address the issues we encounter. These are the two things I focus on with my kids.

    1) Spiritual warfare. Praying for my kids. Claiming the protection of the blood of Jesus on their lives and hearts. Praying that their innocence would be protected despite what the world throws at them.

    2) Speaking candidly with them about the things that we see… what they mean and what we believe about them.

    I have two daughters (and like I said we’ve managed to avoid most of the pornography issues.) but if I had sons and were having difficulty avoiding inappropriate pictures while out. I think I might find an anatomy book and discuss the female body at home in a safe environment… hopefully trying to take the mystery out of it… and stressing that God created us, and we are to treat ourselves and other respect. Then when you are in situations when there are nude pictures about, you can talk about how those are disrepectful and not honoring of God… etc.

  3. 3 Becka January 20, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Thanks. I can’t remember what inspired this question but it is suddenly very timely again.

    One thing that a sister missionary did that has impressed me (and I wish I had the guts to do it) was to demand that a shopkeeper take down his poster or she would never shop there again.

    We have recently had issues with horror movies being shown on the bus and my children were forced to ride for 2 hours with their heads down. Next time I plan on bringing a child friendly movie with me and suggesting that they can have the movie if they will play it during our trip.

  4. 4 Shilo January 20, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    This is a really hard subject for me for two reasons, one because we know a former missionary brother in jail because of this and two because I have two boys and I feel like it is a fearful thing to raise boys in this day and age when 50 percent of PASTORS admit to viewing porn at least once a month and the group most actively viewing pornography is aged 12-18. I even heard a statistic at the Women of the Harvest retreat this summer that 1 in 6 Church going WOMEN admit to viewing pornography. So yes, how do we protect our children??? Yes, it’s not as blatant in the US as it is in some places but it is so accessible here. Whenever this topic comes up I just have to pray and give the future of my children to God and pray for their protection because otherwise I become fearful.
    May God give you and all of us wisdom, Becka.

  5. 5 Ashley L January 21, 2012 at 4:40 am

    My husband and I started talking but didn’t get to fully finish our discussion, but like Lori and Shilo, we came to the same starting point of prayer. My husband also mentioned the importance of teaching our kids what the Bible says about modesty and showing our bodies to people that we shouldn’t. Our kids need to understand that our bodies were created beautifully of course, and in certain circumstances its full beauty is to be appreciated (aka within marriage), but we’ve talked with our kids that in the wrong context it is not glorifying to God and is a sinful thing. There are so many passages about “nakedness” in the wrong context and the sin and shame of it. God often talks about Israel’s “nakedness” when rebuking them for their sin. We want our kids to understand that their bodies are good and created beautifully, but also want to teach them that God has always spoken of the revealing of nakedness in the wrong context as something utterly disgraceful to Him. I am praying that as they understand these things they will be able to filter what they see (and hopefully learn to quickly avert their eyes from) through that lens and will have an understanding of why they shouldn’t allow those things to pass through the “eye gate.” Another thing would be to at different levels begin to explain that it isn’t just “don’t do this” sort of a rule but that there are actually harmful consequences to looking at these sorts of images that we want to spare them from. Of course we can’t really explain fully to our kids how viewing pornography can affect one’s spiritual life, future relationships, and marriage, but there are elements that we can explain. I don’t mean that we should scare our kids, but I do believe that if these things are so blatant in our host cultures that we need to address them earlier than if our kids had never been exposed to them.

    I’ve probably not said anything that you aren’t already doing or thinking, but hopefully it might still be an encouragement! I’m praying for you and the rest of us who deal with this issue in varying degrees, and especially those of you who deal with it so blatantly!

  6. 6 richelle January 21, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    My husband and I have discussed this in a slightly different context – in our W African context, nudity (men and women who have some sort of phychosis and live on the streets) are a not uncommon occurrence… driving across the bridge, home from school, teenage boys swim totally nude and our girls see it, women nurse and there is no cultural taboo on showing the breast in public (even in the midst of a church service) and within parts of the expat culture and in this very hot climate, that are parts of the year when I wish I could simply keep my boys locked up in the house.

    For us, we’ve found a very straight forward and open approach to be the best. We talk about what they see, talk about how it makes them feel and then search the Word to find applicable biblical truth… We try to let them know that feelings and desires and imaginings and wonderings are all normal – and that we need to figure out how God wants us to deal with all of those. Particularly with our older ones, we try to let them come to their own conclusions, trusting the Holy Spirit to teach them. Our oldest is currently making some choices regarding more macabre type movies and books of which we are not happy – but we want to disciple him through this, preserving relationship, giving guidelines and constraints that protect our other children from exposure, and letting God convict him and give him a decision he can own. Otherwise, once he is on his own (in less than two years, now), he won’t be ready to think, pray and search the Word for the decisions he needs to make. And yes, we pray lots… and lots.

    Generally, I talk with my girls and my husband talks with our boys – but we also find times to talk with the opposite gender and as a family. When “curiosity” questions arise, we try not to make our children feel as though that curiosity is wrong, but let them know that there are no “out-of-bounds” or taboo questions. We encourage them to discuss all of those “curious’ issues with us. Our 8 year old asked the other day why guys liked to look at women and why women let people take those types of photos of them. In the past month, we’ve had two additional really special times talking: one recent discussion had to do with kissing – simply touching lips verses more intimate kissing, the other had to do with why everyone makes such a big deal out of the first night together after getting married – and even our 5 and 7 year olds were a part of the discussion. Of course, all that means praying, begging the Lord for discernment and guidance when those questions arise.

    I don’t think there are easy answers – and maybe there shouldn’t be…

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