Our congregation at church had a special sunday school the last hour of church where one of the researchers for this book came and presenting to us about porn-proofing your kids. It was amazing! and I actually am pretty critical about the information out there because some of it I think is naive but they were spot on.
ok their website is protectyoungminds.org
Anyway, this is by no means a complete depiction of the presentation but just the notes I happened to take on it.
Speaking with an LDS audience of adults referring to an article in the Ensign magazine from Sept 2014 ...talking about the 2000 stripling warriors. They were fighting a battle their parents could not fight. And while none of them died, many were wounded even unto fainting....and then referred to healing hidden wounds. Here is the link to the article. https://www.lds.org/ensign/2014/09/healing-hidden-wounds?lang=eng
Brooke talking - If there is something in this world I absolutely hate it is pornography. It has effected too many people that I love who have been ensnared in its destructive web. and it actually shrinks your brain matter like other addictive substances. So I have been talking to my son about the horrors and traps of pornography since he was 7 years old and I felt inspired to do so. (after tonites speaker I think we went home and even talked with our 6 and 4 year olds!)
I have also had talks with my daughters, and we very much have an open discussion about pornography and what to do and what is it. But that being said, I have not always reacted the best way when I find out about certain situations and the really feel physically ill and scared frankly when I hear of their exposure and how close it sometimes gets to us. I am not perfect nor our my children, but we are trying our darnest (is that a word) to fight this awful thing. But also I have reacted quite amazingly at times as well when I know that the spirit is with me and guiding me what to say. When I have reacted calmer than I have felt.
Okay, back to my notes.
the presenter spoke about how are children can be exposed on their devices AT SCHOOL and really there is no filter that is 100 percent.
The reason educating children is so important is because is that children mimic adults and learn from them and have a hard time distinguishing what is real and what is pretend. so exposing them to bad images or any form of pornography can cause a pre-awakening of their sexual feelings that can be as dramatic as sexual abuse victims.
Pornography is an un-natural stimulus . These things don't happen in real life they aren't normal. People just don't walk up to you like that or see it regularly.
and this was particularly alarming to me. Pornography increases dopamine production EVEN IF THE CHILD HAD A NEGATIVE RESPONSE. even if they hated and even if they were crying.
She talked about how todays pornography is not yesterdays pornography (i.e. the dumb bunny). Current pornography can be violent and multiple people.
And that our daughters need to be talked to every bit as much as our boys (this one I need to remember) Any child can be hit. Any child. And those with a strong sense of right or wrong or Christian values can be hit even worse because they might have a harder time telling someone about it because of guilt or shame. Some children have described it like feeling like they have two sides of them, the good side and the bad side (doesn't think break your heart!)
But our kids need us. If we do not talk to them and we do not help them, we are leaving to face this ALONE! .
She said the #1 reason parents give for not talking to their children about it is that they don't want to make them curious. Well she said that is wrong.
YOU want to make them curious. You want to be the one to get them to start thinking about this, not from anywhere else. Its much safer with a parent by their side and telling them there are lots of important reasons why you should look away.
Talking is the most important thing.
So the cute little lady said it helps for her to explain to her kids like she is Bill Nye the science guy. She does it completely science based.
3 things they need to know. What it is. Why should they make the choice and How
Start with a simple definition. Like pornography is people with little or no clothes on.
Help them define it by the way it makes them feel. The unique thing about pornography is it can give two polar opposite responses simultaneously. YUCK and Wow! They can intensely think gross and then at the same time think oooh. what is that? I'm really curious and it makes me feel things.
That is one way they can recognize it as pornography. As having 2 strong conflicting emotions. And pornography can be different for different people. Like one could be a swimsuit ad and one that would not affect (or effect, can't remember which word it is right now ;)
PORNOGRAPHY LIES ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS. It is all a lie.
We also need to warn about violent pornography and we can say this by saying. sometimes you might see people being mean to each other. Warning them will lessen the shock and when they know their parents know about it, the kids feel less alone because it can be scary for them.
ANY LEVEL of pornography use can pave the path for addiction. I think this is one lie people tell themselves personally, this is Brooke speaking.
and talk about what is addiction with kids? When you create a habit you do not want. The person feels trapped.
She talked about their being 2 sides of the brain (ok so technically there are 3 parts but simplifying for children). The thinking side and the feeling side.
The thinking part of your brain is what you use when you catch a ball. Automatic. helps you to plan, sense of values and ethics.
Feeling part of your brain is also called the Limbex system. Controls food, most of what we do, memory, sexual drive, excitement and happiness.
So for an example. Say you hear and see an ice cream truck. Your limbex system says I want ice cream and would just run right out to get it. But your thinking brain says no wait lets wait at the curb and not get hit by a car.
In addiction, the limbex system hijacks the thinking brain. Then she showed us an image of brain with pornography addiction and showed the decrease in thinking brain matter which is the similar look of the addiction to substances.
But as members of the church we have a good habit in place. Our fasting once a month on fast sunday gives us a chance to exercise our thinking brain. Our limbex system says I WANT FOOD. but our thinking brain says no i will go without for a higher purpose.
and what can we teach our children? CAN DO !!!!
We can't just tell kids its bad , but we need to give them the skills. Its like telling someone how good it is to read the scriptures but not teaching them how to read! So teach your children these steps and implement them yourself.
C - lose eyes and turn it off
A - always tell a trusted adult (the instructor said these are the steps that adults should do. And as a research she tries to protect herself but has come across some pornography and she implements these methods as well. tell someone!!!) Pornography thrives in secrecy, so we must combat this!
N- âme it when I see it. Naming things takes it out of the Limbex System and pops it into the thinking brain so you can make a choice about it and not just react. Say, thats pornography!
D- distract myself . go outside, ride your bike, be around people. Have a plan already in action when you remember the image you saw. It doesn't help just trying not to think about it. The limbex system is so smart it especially remembers those memory associated with bi-polar feelings the most! (which is sad and ironic) but we can combat it with distraction. Do something else. Go somewhere else.
O- order my thinking brain to be the boss. The only way to break a habit is to make a habit. So replace it with good habits. Tell your feeling brain, you keep reminding me of this, but I
m not going to think about that.
So What is CAN DO? try remembering them on your own.
Important thing is when our kids tell us these things not to react in anger (which of course I have done doh). Do not be angry with yourself for not catching it sooner either. We all have been caught off guard with this topic so just start where you are.
But the most important thing is to know the Saviors healing power is bigger than all of this. He can heal all wounds if we are humble and turn to Him.
Help get this issue out of the dark where pornography has power and bring it to the light.
(and yes we were already talking to our kids about this again on the car ride home...car rides are great because they can't go anywhere else so they are a captive audience ;)
Thats all I have. Lets combat this together :) she sent us home with some handouts which I have yet to read.