#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. This means that 82% of them came across online porn by accident.
#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 14 year olds see the most harmful content, with 25% stating they see inappropriate videos every day.
In our day and age, the odds are staked against our children, but 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 are warm and open conversations at home.
Should we feel guilty for allowing our kids to run free online with their smartphone? This is part of growing up in the digital age. Sadly, it is not a question whether our kids will be exposed to online porn. It is rather a question of when. Are you readu to be an open door for your kids to come to you when they have stumbled upon troibling imagery? Failure is part of the process of moving forward. Our kids don’t need our guilt or shame. They need us to simply be present in a tech omni present world. 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. Cut 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 fundmental 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.
We encourage you to open the door of conversation, to let your children know that they can land softly, no matter what they have encountered online. We encourage you to respond calm and collected. We encourage you to understand the "why" of the fight against porn for yourself and inspire your children to discover it too.