My Child Was Caught Looking At Pornography! What Do I Do?

I received a tough email from a ministry friend this week.  It said, “I found out Sunday night that an 11 year old girl from my children’s church is addicted to porn. I am totally shocked because she seemed so quiet and shy, I would like to know how to approach her and minister to her.”

Unfortunately, this is a situation that happens more often than we would like to admit.  With the literal explosion of technology (including hand-held mobile devices) in the world of kids in the last five years, children are being exposed (sometimes even accidentally through pop-ups and spam links) to pornography at a very young age.

As Kids Ministry Leaders, it is our responsibility to help parents be prepared for the most likely inevitable moment when their child is exposed to pornography.  It can be devastating to both child and parent.  Some things to keep in mind:

1)  DON’T overreact!

Don’t scream and yell at your child.  They are living in a hyper-sexualized world!  They are being fed a lie every day by society that sex is supposed to be dirty, twisted, and prevalent in their lives.  Is it any wonder that they are drawn to this?  Rather than overreact, have the conversation with them.  Ask questions like “Why do you think your parents don’t want
you to view that sort of stuff?”  “What kind of damage do you think it can
do to your mind and your heart?”  “Do you think viewing that sort of stuff
is pleasing to God or part of His plan for your life?”.  By freaking out, you will cause your child to shut down rather than open up.

2)  Talk about GOD’S design for sex

Sexual urges are not abnormal.  Kids are not “weird” because they were lured into pornography.  God created us as sexual beings.  It wasn’t some sort of accident.  He has a plan for us to enjoy sex in the context of marriage.  He wants us to be wise about our own sexuality and control those urges just as we do other urges (hunger, anger, passion, etc.).  With God’s help, we can grow to become strong men and women who enjoy healthy sexuality as married couples.

3)  Set firm boundaries/systems to prevent recurrence of the issue.

Make it a conversation.  Ask the child, “What are some things we can do to keep this from happening again?”  Perhaps limiting the hours and/or locations of internet usage is a start.  There are also some filtering/accountability software options for parents out there:

4)  Provide hope for the child.

Remind the child that God’s grace is big enough to cover this sin and provide breakthrough and freedom.  Point at that God wants to empower them and “lead them not into temptation, but deliver them from evil.”

5)  Pray with the child.

Pray with your child.  If it was purposeful and willful act, pray with your child in asking God’s forgiveness for this willful act.  Pray that God will minimize the affects on their mind, spirit, and life.  Pray that God will protect them from exposure to porn in the future.  Pray that God will give them the strength to resist temptation when it comes their way.

What about you?  Are you finding this to be something that is a growing issue?  Is it “not as bad” as I make it sound?  What are your thoughts?  Share in the comments section!  What are some of the things you are doing to help kids and parents deal with this issue?

13 thoughts on “My Child Was Caught Looking At Pornography! What Do I Do?

  1. 1 Timothy 5
    Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.

    Galatians 6:1
    Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.

    1 Thessalonians 4:3-8
    It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.

    1 Corinthians 14:20
    Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.

    Philippians 4:8
    Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.

  2. Thank you so much. This is SUCH a growing issue. For me a few years back it was two very young girls- both GIRLS!- who confessed to a porn addiction a few years ago. Definitely didn’t see that coming- but it got our whole team thinking. We kids pastors had this wrong thinking that this temptation only affected BOYS and only in high school. We were dead wrong. This is very helpful!

  3. Great post, Brian. I’m going to pass this on to my team. This isn’t something I’ve really ever had to deal with children, but I know it’s a growing issue and just a matter of time before it comes up. This post will be really helpful.

  4. Wow, what a great post Brian. I’d like to post this on our Parents Page in our church newsletter if at all possible. Please let me know if I can have your permission. Thanks.

  5. Any kid who uses an iPhone, or iPod, iPad etc… Download the “K9 Browser” (a safe web search that blocks offensive content) then Go to settings. Under “general” click on the “Restrictions”. From there you can turn off the use of safari, you can turn off the ability to download new apps, you can turn off any apps that a kid my use to seek porn. Keep informers parents, don’t think your kids are immune. Thank you Brian for the post!

  6. I just had a conversation with my 11 year old son this weekend on this very topic. We talked about how Satan wants to shame us into hiding our sin, where he can make the sin grow and eventually repeat itself. That when he falls, in any sin, to talk to someone and shine light on it so the enemy cannot hold it over us.
    Thank you for exposing me to the fact that my girls (6, 8, & 9) are susceptible to pornography as well.

    • Way to go Erin! You are a wise parent. Address the issue before it becomes a problem. It is so important that we talk to our children. That we are open without being condemning. That we help them see the dangers hidden in the trap. That we Create an atmosphere that they can tell us things and still be confident of our love.

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