#1 More than 50% of 11-13 year olds have encountered porn.
#2 Only 18% of 11 to 13-year olds who watch porn sought it out intentionally. 82% of them came across online porn by accident or were targeted directly.
#3 75% of parents claimed their children had not seen porn, but 53% of the children of those parents told the researchers they had in fact viewed porn.
#4 88% of the most popular porn depicts aggression and violence.
# 5 At age 14 year, children watch the most "harmful" content, with 25% stating they see inappropriate videos every day.
In our day and age, the odds are stacked against our children. These sobering stats should not make us fearful. Instead, we need to step up to the plate and engage our kids in healthy conversations. Research has shown that the best preventative measures against porn consumption among children are warm and open conversations at home.
Should we feel guilty for allowing our kids to run free online with their smartphone? Sadly, it is not a question whether our kids will be exposed to online porn. It is rather a question of when.
Are you ready to be an open door for your kids to come to you when they have stumbled upon troubling imagery? Does your child have the tools to reject pornographic content. Children are naturally curious about sex and will likely be targeted as pornographic content equates to profit. In a world of omnipresent tech, it is simply not possible to child our kids from harmful content.
No parent is nailing it perfectly in the digital age. In fact, almost everyone working with kids and teens at every level is feeling broad sided by the fright train of Big Tech. Our kids don’t need our guilt or shame. They need us to simply be present in a tech omni present world. yourself some slack. You are not fighting against a smartphone, you are battling the will of a billion dollar digital entertainment industry run by relentless business men who are experts in hijacking our fundamental human needs with fleeting feelings of digital bliss.
Where do we go from here?
There is no secret serum, but there is a journey and path forward. Too often we search for the quick and easy solutions to our problems. Try parenting dishwasher free for a week and you will know what I am talking about. However, the problem we are facing is waged in the depths of the mind and heart. “The wiring of the brain becomes the playbook of the heart. What we thread our brains to online becomes how we live and love offline.” This means that our approach to solving this problem has to go deeper than the depths of the problem. We have to speak into the hearts and minds of this rising generation to empower them with an inner strength to reject exploitation online and discover a path forward that supports who they are, what they are about and where they are going.
It is up to us to open the door of conversation, to let our children know that they can land softly with us, no matter what they have encountered online. There is an invitation to respond calm and collected. If we understand the "why" of the fight against porn for ourselves, we can inspire our children to discover it too.