How to talk to children about... pornography

Elzbieta Lozinska

Our son tells us a lot what is going on in his school. Generally speaking, we have succeeded to talk to him a lot but certain difficult subjects have been brought up recently. We do not know how to talk sensibly to a 10-year-old boy. Our son mentioned that while his colleagues were discussing their future some said that he would surely get married and then another boy reacted, ‘I am not going to have a wife. I will have sex with whores.’ The discussion continued and someone said that ‘you can see whores in the Internet.’ Soon afterwards there was a parents’ meeting in the school and I, as a father, mentioned the problem of children using the Internet. It happened so that the mother of the above-mentioned boy said that you could not prevent children to see various web pages, including the pornographic ones since even when she wanted to search something such a pornographic page was suddenly opened. Her husband says, ‘the web is full of such contents and they open even when you do not want them.’ Being a computer specialist I said that he was wrong. Pornographic contents do not appear without our control. It happens when a user opens such a page. A user must choose such a web site and it is rarely that without any activities some user can enter these websites. We use such an explanation to tell our children that their access to the Internet is limited: it is for their good and to avoid unpleasant surprises. As we use the Internet in a proper way kids do not come across any pornographic websites. We have only the challenge to make the child aware of pornography and how to talk to it wisely.
Parents of a third grader

First of all, I want to congratulate both parents on their involvement in the topic and congratulations to the father for raising this subject during the school meeting. Well done! It is important that in a family the father speaks about the issue of pornography. The first thing is to introduce the term ‘pornography’ to a six, seven or eight-year-old child (dependent on its maturity and peers’ environment). An occasion to speak about it can be an advertisement of a solarium, underwear or even a TV programme in some newspaper, commenting that ‘in fact this is some kind of pornography. In order to advertise something they use pictures of an almost naked woman.’ Then when this topic is mentioned again it is worth signalling, ‘Pornography harms people who are models for such photos and films. Similarly, it harms those who look at them as peepers.’ Pornography makes us treat another man as a subject, anonymously. You can make your child realise that as well, saying, ‘Would you agree someone to make photos of your naked mother or sister and then show the photos to all people.’ Or ‘If your colleague shows you a photo of his naked sister would that be a good idea to look at?’ And this naked woman is someone’s daughter, sister or mother. Even if this person has done a wrong thing, agreed to have such pictures taken or has been forced to do that we should not agree to look at them.’ You can say to an older child, ‘A real descent man looks only at his naked wife.’ I often tell a teenager, ‘If you want to feel fulfilled, happy and only you alone in some intimate moments with your future wife, please respect the hard disc of your brain and do not litter it with pictures that will be involuntarily recollected in the most inconvenient moments.’ We do remember certain visual contents. Today ignoring them, without seeing them, is an art. My nine-year old son said to his five-year old sister when we were in some bookstore, ‘Marta, do not look about here. We are going to the children’s books and there you will have time to look about for books!’ We do not protect our children ourselves and they themselves must learn to protect their innocence and conscience. We can only give them good examples and we should not avoid conversations on difficult subjects.

"Niedziela" 1/2010

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: