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Few discussions with your kids are as awkward as trying to initiate a conversation about porn. And yet, it is critical that we try.

The grip that pornography has on this generation is unlike any- thing I have ever seen. It seems like almost every teen or college student I’ve ever spoken with has seen pornographic images, and many can’t seem to break their Internet porn addiction.

In my book Challenging Conversations, I lay out several reasons.

Sex, Gender Identity, and Porn  

Why pornography is a hidden danger that few people want to discuss—a killer that destroys untold numbers of lives:

  • It is accessible and private.
  • It destroys the mind.
  • It silences conversations because many people are embarrassed to talk about it.
  • It has a stigma because many people feel guilty about viewing it.
  • It masks stress and failure because many who consume porn do so to experience a sense of relief or escape.

I shared with you earlier that the average age of exposure to Internet porn is thirteen, with some children exposed as early as five years old. The point is, Gen Z has easy access to porn, and the results aren’t good. I have counseled many Gen Zers who are infat- uated with hardcore porn and have a warped view of sex altogether. Avoid beginning the conversation with your child by jumping immediately into the graphic nature of porn and why it’s so bad. Instead, pray with your child first. Then take him or her back to the Garden of Eden in Genesis. Make sure your kids know that God created sex as a beautiful gift between a husband and a wife, but also help them understand that sex can be taken out of its proper context and abused. This might lead you to ask your kids what they know about porn.

Please pay close attention to the answer. Many times, your son or daughter will say that porn is wrong or inappropriate and that it doesn’t honor God. You can certainly affirm that answer, but don’t stop there.

Don’t be afraid to ask your son or daughter if they have ever viewed porn. If you learn that your children have been exposed— and the research suggests that they probably have—then you can certainly ask how it happened. Maybe a friend showed them a nude picture on their phone, or maybe they received a message on social media that led them to a porn site. Or perhaps it was out of curiosity. Most kids know how to use the private web browser mode known as Incognito, which many people use to search for naked images or even sex videos. Once again, instead of launching into a lecture, the best thing for you to do is listen and let your child talk.

As you can imagine, there is a great deal of shame and embar- rassment that comes with viewing porn. So go easy on your son or daughter. A great way to defuse their guilt is to remind your children that God’s love is far greater than their sin (1 John 3:20). As you talk about God’s grace and forgiveness, acknowledge that lots of people (maybe including you) experience sexual struggles. Talk about how others have found freedom from those struggles through the power of Christ.

Understanding the extent of your kids’ porn exposure isn’t so you can embarrass them. Sure, these might feel like hard questions, but their answers will help you know how to love and protect them. Yes, it’s natural for your children to feel bad about their sin. Still, the goal is to help them seek the forgiveness of Jesus and to provide them with safeguards and accountability that will put them on the track to freedom.

Let me just say that it likely won’t happen overnight. It can sometimes take years to fully experience freedom from the addictive effects of porn. It often depends on the degree of porn consumption and the maturity of the individual, both spiritually and mentally. (Also consider seeking the services of a trained Christian counselor who has experience working with kids and teens in this area.)

But here’s the good news: The more you model grace to your kids, the more willing they will be to come to you for advice and spiritual accountability.

Finally, let me repeat that these challenging interactions about sex, gender identity, and porn are not meant to be one-and-done conversations. It’s up to you to keep the discussions going. Trust the Lord that He will use you to speak truth and life into your family as you encourage them to remain set apart for God’s good purposes.



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