Protecting Your Children From Porn

with Kristen Jenson | February 14, 2019

Pornography is an epidemic in our country. Kristen Jenson, author of the Good Pictures, Bad Pictures series of read-aloud books, joins Dennis Rainey to talk about porn-proofing your children. Jenson remembers a phone call she received from a desperate mom whose teen had been sexually molesting his younger siblings after viewing porn. Jenson wanted to help so she created a book that parents can read to their children to warn them about the dangers of porn.

Show Notes & Links
Resources from Kristen's website ProtectYourMind.org including the CAN DO poster.

Show Notes and Resources

Resources from Kristen's website ProtectYourMind.org including the CAN DO poster.

Pornography is an epidemic in our country. Kristen Jenson, author of the Good Pictures, Bad Pictures series of read-aloud books, joins Dennis Rainey to talk about porn-proofing your children. Jenson remembers a phone call she received from a desperate mom whose teen had been sexually molesting his younger siblings after viewing porn. Jenson wanted to help so she created a book that parents can read to their children to warn them about the dangers of porn.

Show Notes & Links
Resources from Kristen's website ProtectYourMind.org including the CAN DO poster.

Show Notes and Resources

Resources from Kristen's website ProtectYourMind.org including the CAN DO poster.

Protecting Your Children From Porn

With Kristen Jenson
|
February 14, 2019
| Download Transcript PDF

Bob: How old should your child be when you start having conversations with them about the dangers of pornography? Kristen Jenson says in our culture today probably sooner rather than later.

Kristen: As soon as your child is able to walk, you teach them not to run out into the street. So as soon as your child is able to have any access to the internet you need to teach them how not to get hurt on the super highway of the internet. It’s really just proactive parenting to talk with them and let this help you overcome your fear instead of letting the fear silence you.

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, February 14th.  Our host is Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.

The dangers of pornography are real and ever present in our world today. We want to help you as parents know how to address that with your kids. We’ll do that today. Stay with us.

1:00

And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us.

I feel like we are convening a meeting of the ‘National Institutes’ of spiritual, mental, emotional, physical health today because the subject we are talking about is an epidemic in our culture.

 

Dennis: And it permeates all of them. We’re going to talk about, well, porn-proofing your children, protecting them from ever getting into it right off the bat. So if you are a mom, a dad, who has children at home or maybe not at home. If you are a grandparent, an aunt, an uncle, this subject ought to be of interest to you.

Joining us on the broadcast is the author of, Good Pictures, Bad Pictures. Kristen Jenson joins us on FamilyLife Today. Kristen, welcome to the broadcast.

2:00

 

Kristen: Thank you so much for letting me be here. It’s an honor.

 

Dennis: Kristen is from Richland, Washington where she resides with her husband, John.

Bob: Should we tell what we just learned about Kristen, that she’s a spy ponder?

Kristen: Oh, no!

Dennis: She grew up in Cheyenne but also in Boston. Her home—

Bob: Arlington, Massachusetts and Arlington high school there is home of the Spy Ponders which—

Dennis: So you and I immediately went to a spy—

Bob: …who was pondering.

Dennis: …who was pondering.

Bob:But apparently Spy Pond is a place there, right?

 

Kristen:It’ a lake, yep. 

Bob: And so—

Kristen: It’s a pond.

Bob: The people who live around Spy Pond are the Spy Ponders.

 

Dennis: And all of our listeners on WEZE are going to go, Of course!

 

Bob: You didn’t know that? You didn’t know about Spy Pond?

[Laughter]

Bob: Dennis, I’m surprised you didn’t know about Spy Pond.

Dennis: Well, I did say that she has been married to John since 1985, they had two daughters, and one son, and they live in Richland, (I said it before), Richland, Washington.

3:00

 

We’ve got some good friends up in that neck of the woods, Tim and Kathy Bush. They have led a number of Art of Marriage® Events video series, Stepping Up® and the new Art of Parenting®, Bob.

Bob: Right. They’ve taken a couple of groups—I think they’re into their second group now—taking folks through the Art of Parenting® content.

Dennis: 140 are going through that or have gone through that up there.

Anyway, we are glad to have Kristen on the broadcast because you’re touching young minds through your organization to help parents know how to handle the exposure our young people are having to pornography.

Bob: And this all started with you when you got a call from a mom of a 17-year-old, right?

Kristen: That’s right. I got a call one night and I had just met her and she had a very large family. She was doing everything she could to protect her children. And maybe even to cocoon them. She was homeschooling them, which is great, I’ve done it myself a little bit. She was really trying to keep the world out.

4:00

When you have the internet, you can’t really keep the world out, it’s very difficult. I found out that her 17-year-old son had been sexually molesting his younger brothers and sisters. Such a tragedy.

Well, I woke up the next morning and just felt in my heart that I needed to do something about this because pornography had been a part of it. I looked for a resource that would help young children understand the dangers of pornography and how to avoid those dangers and I couldn’t find any.

I felt very strongly that I needed to start writing a book, a read-aloud book, parents could read to their children about pornography, what it is, why it’s harmful and what to do when they are exposed.

5:00

 

Dennis: Had pornography had any impact on your life that you recall?

Kristen: Not that I know of. I still don’t know. I went to my husband and I peppered him with questions like, have you ever…?, Are you…because you better tell me now! No, it was really this woman’s experience and the devastation that it did to her family. I woke the next morning and the words that I heard in my mind were—it was a question—Who will help me warn the young children?

I was like, I don’t know, Lord! Who? Because years before that, I’d heard about pornography and how bad it was and how people got addicted to it and how it ruined marriages. I didn’t want to have anything to do with that problem. In fact, I told God, I can’t help you with that problem. It’s just too difficult. Maybe someday I’ll build an orphanage in Haiti, but I can’t do that.

6:00

 

I would also say to your listeners, don’t tell God what you’re not going to do.

[Laughter]

Bob: This is not the kind of thing that anybody wants to step into and embrace. The epidemic, and we can’t call it anything less than that. It really is an epidemic in our culture. The reality of this world is so dark and the impact is so devastating, that nobody wants to go near this.

For you to have this sense of I’ve got to do something and to have in mind young children as the target audience, for what you wanted to talk about, I don’t think that is something that comes out of anybody’s heart or mind. I think that had to have come from somewhere else.

Dennis: Bob, she went for really young children. What stunned me, as I was reading, it’s a picture book,

Kristen: Only good pictures, though!

Dennis: That’s right, that’s right!

7:00

 

But you’re saying as parents when your target is three- to six-year-olds with information about this!

Kristen: I started with seven- to eleven-year-olds. The first book, Good pictures, Bad Pictures, Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids, that is geared to seven to eleven-year-olds. But I had so many parents asking me for a younger version that a few years later I   wrote Good Pictures, Bad Pictures Jr., A Simple Plan to Protect Young Minds. That book is very simple.

Again, both books accomplish three goals.

#1- Give a child an age appropriate definition of pornography—

Dennis: Right.

Kristen: —so that they can recognize it.

#2 Teach them that it is harmful; it’s like a poison.

#3 Give them a plan for what to do when they see it, so they can proactively protect their own brains.

8:00

When kids are caught off guard, they don’t have as much of a chance. Both books do those things and also we added into the junior book some body safety rules. Because young children are being targeted to share pictures, inappropriate pictures, online by people that want to produce child pornography. We need to protect our children and protecting them against pornography is also protecting them against child sexual abuse.

Bob: Kristen, I’m imagining a young mom of a five-year-old listening to us having this conversation who’s going, ‘there is no way I want to sit down and read a picture book to my child that gets into body parts and pornography.

I mean, they’re five years old, for heaven sake. They’re so sweet and pure and I don’t want to have this kind of conversation at this age with my kids.

9:00

Kristen: I understand, I totally understand. I wish you didn’t have to. However, and I’ve talked to many experts and asked—because I get this question asked all the time—What’s the right age to start talking to a child about pornography. I say, along with many other people, the right age is as soon as they have any access to the internet. Any access to the internet whatsoever, because you may have locked down every device in your home, but the minute that child leaves your front door and goes to pre-school, goes to another child’s home, goes to even a church event,

Bob: —the public library!

10:00

Kristen: —the public library, they are going to be exposed. They are at risk. What we promote is to help your child develop an internal filter. I’ve heard of so many stories of five-year-olds getting exposed on school buses.

You really have two options. There’s the cross-your-fingers plan; you just wish and hope that your kid won’t see anything bad or any pictures, they won’t be exposed, wherever they go they won’t be exposed to it and if they are they are just going to first thing come running to you and tell you all about it. That is based upon unrealistic expectations. Children fear to tell their parents when they have been exposed.

Dennis:  Bob mentioned there might be a parent that’s going, “man! I’m not sure about the age.”

11:00

 

There’s undoubtably another parent listening right now that’s thinking, ‘I don’t know, won’t this make the child curious about the whole subject?’ What do you say to that?

Kristen: I get that because you know your children are curious. Children are very curious, and no parent wants to feel that guilt that somehow they did something to turn their kids onto porn. Again, you’ve got those two options. You can just hope that your kid doesn’t see it and that you get to them first, right, to warn them of the dangers and to teach them. Or you can be proactive. I believe the fact that kids are curious and they have unprecedented access to this material—three clicks on any mobile device will get you to porn for free.

12:00

 

I believe that that is even more reason why we need to start early because as you said, you need to set up yourself as the go-to expert for questions about sex and questions about pornography. Our books are written so that you can warn children about pornography well before you even start those conversations about the birds and the bees. Children are going to be at risk for seeing these pictures. What does it do to them? It gives them this toxic view of what sex is all about. Pornography is the counterfeit of healthy sexuality.

Dennis: Right.

Bob: This is just as important for parents who’ve got little girls at home as it is for parents who’ve got little boys at home. We tend to think of pornography as something you have to talk to your sons about. It’s a whole new world in terms of exposure and even curiosity.

13:00

 

Kristen: Yes! When I started writing, Good Pictures, Bad Pictures, I just felt like I should go next door to my neighbor and tell her. She had three boys. So I thought she might be interested. It turns out she’s a social worker. She had a lot of experience with this.

But this is the thing, a month before, her friend who had an eight-year-old daughter, had come to her and said look what happened my daughter. We gave her this iPod Touch with an internet connection. We talked to her about sex and she went online and she typed in s-e-x. Guess what she found? For months she was viewing the most vile pornography and her personality changed until finally they found out. Thankfully, they were able to take her to counseling.

14:00

But this just struck fear in my neighbor’s heart. How—I am an expert in this supposedly, but I don’t even know how to start this conversation with my sons. It was really an eight-year-old girl that had gotten into this that caused my neighbor to really lose sleep and be very prayerful about how she could start warning her own sons.

It is an equal opportunity offender. Women are quickly catching up. The porn industry realizes ‘hey, 50% of the people they need. That’s a whole other market, we can go after them! If you feel that way, ‘oh, it’s only a boy problem’, you are actually leaving your girls at a much higher risk.

Dennis: I remember when I was just a little boy, my mom and dad warned me about a car pulling up as I walked to school. I walked to school for the first eight or nine grades that I went to a local elementary and Jr. high.

15:00

But they’d say if somebody rolls up next to you in a car and offers you gum, or candy—

Bob: A stranger danger, right?

Dennis: Yeah! They just explained to me that danger and prepared me. I think that is a healthy fear at that point. I think in the area of sex I would rather my grandchildren have heard about this at an earlier and earlier age rather than to leave them vulnerable to what can happen in this culture because it permeates. We started out about talking, it has poisoned this stream and parents have to decide. Are you going to get out ahead of this and attempt to lead it proactively or are you going to let the world do it for you?

Bob: It’s not just make sure your children have heard about it but it’s make sure your children or your grandchildren know what to do when they find themselves stumbling in this area. Whether it’s a friend, a classmate who says ‘hey, come look at this, or whether you’re surfing around on the internet doing nothing and a pop-up comes on.

16:00

 

Kids are going to face some kind of exposure and the key question is do they know what to do in that moment? That’s what you try to build in your book,

Kristen: Yes.

Bob: —is a road map for kids. When this becomes an issue for you here’s how you respond.

Kristen: Exactly. We warn our kids about other dangers. As soon as your child is able to walk, you teach them not to run out into the street. So as soon as your child is able to have any access to the internet you need to teach them how not to get hurt on the super highway of the internet. It’s really just proactive parenting that we need to do.

I want to tell you the story of a mom who did this. She read Good Pictures, Bad Pictures, to her nine-year-old son and just days later he went to school and someone pulled out a device and showed him pornography.

17:00

He came back home and he said to his mom, told her what happened, and he said, mom I was scared but I knew what to do.

I love that story because it is such a burden for children to be in this situation where they are traumatized and yet enticed at the same time. They don’t feel like they have an adult helping them to know how to deal with it because mom and dad might be too embarrassed or ashamed or fearful to talk with them. Our message is be proactive, let this help you overcome your fear instead of letting the fear silence you.

Bob: Kristen you decided to make these books faith neutral. You wanted moms and dads wherever they are going to church, or taking their kids to church or if they’re not taking their kids to church.

18:00

You wanted them to be having these conversations and helping kids develop a strategy. The faith component which is not irrelevant to this conversation, that can be a subsequent conversation that parents can craft given whatever their background is but this conversation about how to deal with the reality of pornography is a conversation every parent needs to be having.

Kristen: Exactly. This message needs to go to all people of all beliefs, faith or no faith. This book is now published—our original book is now published in Chinese, in China, and it’s about to be published in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia in Arabic. It’s in Spanish and it’s in many other languages. Parents know how to teach their children their religious views, or their views on religion and faith. What they need is a script, a way to start this conversation in age-appropriate manner, so that their children have that benefit early on before they are exposed.

19:00

Also, while that parent is still seen as the authority on everything to the child. Because once the child becomes a teenager, or even a tween, the peers have more influence. Why not get in their early? You have every advantage to start young and early. To warn your children and to give them a proactive strategy to deal with this instead of just hoping against hope that they’re not exposed. We don’t want to base our parenting on unrealistic expectations. We are raising children in this world and it’s a great world. There are many wonderful things in this world and on the internet. But we do have to warn our children about the dangers.

20:00

 

Bob: Yes. We were talking about this earlier, if we were sitting down and having a conversation about spiritual matters, there would be fundamental gospel issues where we would not see eye to eye. Those, as I said, aren’t insignificant. But on this issue of pornography, and Good Pictures, Bad Pictures, helping our kids be ready to face this, this is something we can work together to try to help the next generation be protected against what they are going to be exposed to. Even if we don’t agree on the same gospel issues this is something we can work together on.

Dennis:  What I want our listeners to hear is that a book like this, Good Pictures, Bad Pictures, is not a one and done conversation. It begins a conversation. If you take a look at the book of Proverbs, over and over and over again, it says, ‘Listen, my son, listen for I give you sound teaching.’

21:00

‘Listen to my wisdom’. In Proverbs 5-7 warns sons about the ways of the evil woman. This is about evil that is being done to children. I think the most important thing parents need to realize is once you begin this conversation it enables you to stay on the offensive and not play defense.

It’s much better to have a language, a dialog, where you’ve talked about the subject, there are words that the child can put to what they are seeing, and you can enter into an ongoing conversation not only in the kindergarten and elementary years, but also into junior high, high school, and frankly beyond. I’m having conversation right now with my sons who are all older. They are in their 30’s and 40’s.

22:00

It’s time to have these conversations with your sons and with your daughters and not to stop having the conversation. This is really—you used the word poison—I couldn’t agree more.

Bob: Yes.

Dennis: Parents need to be the one who engage in the conversation.

Bob: And as you said, parents need a script and that’s what you have given us in Good Pictures, Bad Pictures. Both the original book and then Good Pictures, Bad Pictures, Jr. for younger kids. This is a script, this is a story book with great illustrations that you can read aloud and talk about what are the good pictures, what are the bad pictures, what do you do if you see a bad picture. How do you stay away from those?

We’ve got copies of the book, Good Pictures, Bad Pictures in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center as well as the book you’ve written for younger kids, Good Pictures, Bad Pictures Jr. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com for information about both of these resources. You can order them from us online. Again our website is FamilyLifeToday.com. You can also order these books by phone, 1-800-FLTODAY is the number, 1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800-‘F’ as in Family, ‘L’ as in Life, and then word, Today.

23:00

 

Ask about the books for parents to read to kids called Good Pictures, Bad Pictures and we’ll make arrangements to get the books sent to you.

It’s Valentine’s Day and I imagine some of you, most of you hopefully, have plans for either a date night tonight or a date night over the weekend to celebrate romance in marriage. We’d like to help you as a couple with some date night conversation starters. We’ve put together 20 date night conversation starter cards for couples to use just to have some questions to toss out as you have dinner together or as you enjoy your date night.

We’ll email these conversation starter cards to you when you request them from us. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com and ask for the date night conversation starters. This will not only help you with your date night for Valentine’s Day but for date nights in the future.

24:00

We think having regular date nights is a good idea, and we just want to prime the pump and get you talking. Ask about the date night conversation starters when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com and again we’ll email them to you upon your request.

We hope you can join us back tomorrow when Kristen Jensen will be here again to talk more about how we can be proactive as parents in addressing the subject of pornography with our kids.

I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas; a Cru® Ministry. Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.

 

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