What’s wrong with Pornography? The gift of sexual love is reserved for marriage alone. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that pornography, “perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world” (CCC 2354).
Helping your child with this topic is possible. Some parents may stray away from addressing it with their child because they or their spouse regularly view pornography. They can get help with that while helping their child avoid this as well. You can check out the resources below to find support for helping yourself or your spouse and for helping your child.
Don’t wait for your child to be exposed to pornography to start the conversation. If your child has their own personal device(s) or has friends who have devices, it might be time. If you’re the parent of a younger child, you might be wondering how to bring this up with him or her in a way that is age appropriate. You don’t need to have a big, long, and detailed conversation. Just share a few basic facts.
- If you have questions about your body or about sex, it is always best to come ask a parent or caregiver instead of looking elsewhere.
- All people are created in the image and likeness of God. If we focus on them just for their bodies, it is not respecting them for who God made them to be.
- Seeking out and looking at images or videos of naked people is wrong and sinful.
- If you are exposed to these images, you are not in trouble, but you need to tell us.
As your child gets older you can share more, but the conversation has started, and they should feel safe talking to you about this issue. Feel free to repeat the conversation over time so that they are reminded that this topic is important and that you are open to talking to them if they have any questions.
You may also want to discourage media that might contain suggestive topics or images. The media may not be explicitly pornographic but can stir lustful desires. You can use these instances to talk about the dignity of the human person and proper relationships with the opposite sex.
If your child has been exposed or is struggling with pornography, know that there is hope that you can help them get the help they need.
Begin by simply asking your child how they feel about what they have viewed, what was their intention (e.g., an accident, curiosity, sexual desires), and what they think the next steps should be. Respond with love and openness, letting your child know they have your support while being clear that viewing pornography is sinful and always inappropriate. Your child may be feeling ashamed of his or her actions and need repeated reassurance from you. You may be feeling angry that your child was viewing this or that you’ve let your child down by allowing this to happen. These are all normal responses to a difficult situation. Your goal is to meet your child where they are, help them move forward, and help them towards living a pornography free life.
Confused and want to learn more?
Learn more about Internet Safety
Learn more about Sexual Education
Learn more about overcoming Masturbation