Parents often wonder when they should start talking to their kids about pornography. The answer is: as soon as they have access to the internet.
For many families, that includes preschoolers. But how in the world are we supposed to bring it up with our littlest kiddos? They are so pure.
Believe it or not, I just found a book that we can use even before we have the "birds and the bees" talk with our kids. The author designed it that way on purpose. It's called Good Pictures Bad Pictures Jr.: A Simple Plan to Protect Young Minds by Kristen Jenson, and it's actually part of a series.
If you follow my work, you might have heard me talk about the original book, Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today's Young Kids. When it hit the market in 2014, it revolutionized the anti-porn industry. Parents went crazy for it, and it immediately became an Amazon #1 Best-Seller in three categories. After more than three years and 450 reviews, it's still #1 in Sexual Health Recovery books.
And why wouldn't parents go crazy for it? It makes having the "porn talk" with our kids as easy as reading a bedtime story. We've got the script, the research, cool pictures, and our kids--all right there in our lap.
To some, it might sound absurd to read to our kids about this topic. But if we don't teach our children, then friends, internet, and other media certainly will. The truth is, we live in a pornified culture. Even our preschoolers have to walk around in a world where semi-nude bodies and sexual content are plastered in plain sight on billboards, in the mall, and on magazine covers right at their eye level. [**WARNING: External links may contain offensive/triggering material.**] If we want to be our children's first source of information and help them establish the lens with which they will view these things, we need to take the initiative.
Some parents worry that talking to their kids about porn might make them curious. A fellow parent and expert who also reviewed this book did an AMAZING job exploring this issue. You can read his article on ProtectYoungEyes.org here:
As it turns out, Good Pictures Bad Pictures sparked a lot of interest among parents requesting a book written for even younger children. I remember feeling that way too. My big boy loved the first book so much, he even did a book report on it for school. But it was really hard getting my preschooler to stay focused. Now, with the junior version ... Tada! Problem solved.
Here are 10 reasons parents will LOVE Good Pictures Bad Pictures Jr.:
1) It’s a great companion to the bestseller, Good Pictures, Bad Pictures: A Simple Plan to Protect Young Minds. While the first book is a detailed narrative more appropriate for ages 7-12, the Jr. version uses simple words and short sentences geared toward younger children, ages 3-6. Now families can own both books in the series, accommodating children of all ages.
2) It’s easy to understand. The concepts in Good Pictures Bad Pictures Jr. are basic and build slowly, so they are easy to follow. For example, kids are taught that "bad pictures" are like poison--they can hurt our minds, just like poison can hurt our bodies. Children are able to focus on simple ideas like good and bad, what is safe, and where to go for help if they need it.
3) It gives children a practical action plan. Ask any kid, and they probably know what to do if they catch on fire: Stop, Drop, & Roll. But nowadays, aren’t they more likely to be exposed to inappropriate content? This book gives kids a plan that is just as easy to remember: Turn, Run, & Tell. It even includes actions and gives them a chance to practice: turning away from the bad picture, running away, and telling a trusted adult.
4) It is so needed in today’s world! Many parents wonder when is the right time to teach their kids about the dangers of pornography. The answer is: as soon as they have any access to the internet. Sadly, now kids--even preschoolers--can encounter “bad pictures” in public places like the mall, on magazine covers in the grocery line, and on mobile devices belonging to friends, parents, and other family members. But with Turn, Run, and Tell kids can feel empowered in these situations.
“It’s never too early to start teaching kids healthy media habits! Reading Good Pictures Bad Pictures Jr. to your young children is a beautiful way to empower them to make safe internet choices.” Sean Covey, Executive Vice President, FranklinCovey Co. and international bestselling author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens
5) It is beautifully illustrated. Debbie Fox’s authentic watercolor paintings draw us in on every page and expand on the the text in a way only pictures can. And children will love hunting for the 19 cameras hidden throughout the book.
6) It keeps kids engaged. Good Pictures Bad Pictures Jr. was designed to be read aloud, and when that happens the opportunities for participation are endless. Whether kids are looking for little hidden cameras in the paintings or doing the actions along with the book, child participation is encouraged from beginning to end. Best of all, the book includes optional messages and discussion questions in the form of “sticky notes,” opening the door to talk with children about a myriad of other issues, but especially real-life experiences.
“Our kids deserve to be warned about the very real dangers of pornography in a simple way they can understand. As a mom of two preschoolers growing up in a digital world, I am thrilled to recommend Good Pictures Bad Pictures Jr.! We loved the hidden cameras inside!” Dawn Hawkins, VP & Executive Director, National Center on Sexual Exploitation
7) It’s adaptable. One issue for parents of young children is that some don’t feel comfortable using the word “pornography.” Good Pictures Bad Pictures Jr. takes this into account, instead using the term “bad pictures.” The p-word appears only once, on an optional “sticky note,” allowing parents to skip it completely if they wish. Also, the Turn, Run, & Tell plan teaches kids to seek help from “mom or dad or a trusted adult,” making this book appropriate not just for parents, but also for grandparents, caregivers, clinicians, and use in other contexts.
8) It can be used over and over again. When we’re teaching kids something important, we usually need to repeat ourselves. Can you imagine telling your child “Don’t hit your brother!” only once, and then walking away? Vital topics like stranger danger, looking both ways before crossing the street, illegal drugs--and yes, even pornograpy--all require ongoing discussions. Good Pictures Bad Pictures Jr. makes starting the conversation as easy as taking the book off the shelf--again and again. With book in hand, parents are equipped to communicate with their children at the drop of a hat.
“For the sake of the children, I wholeheartedly recommend Good Pictures Bad Pictures Jr. As a grandfather, father and pastor, I can think of no better gift for a child than the ability to reject pornography. Our kids’ future marriages depend on it. Every young child deserves to have this beautiful book read to them over and over again.” Josh McDowell, Josh McDowell Ministries
9) It avoids shaming. Sometimes kids are unsure what will happen if they tell an adult they have seen pornography. What if the adult gets angry? Good Pictures Bad Pictures Jr. does an excellent job of addressing this issue, explaining that “even if you see a bad picture, that doesn’t make you a bad kid … If you have [seen a bad picture], don’t worry! There’s something good you can do.” This is a powerful approach that puts a child at ease and opens the door for disclosure without fear.
10) It includes great resources for grown-ups. The appendix includes “Notes to Parents and Caregivers” about how to use the book, why it is a good idea to be your child’s first source of information on pornography, how to respond if your child has already been exposed to porn, and steps on how to help a child forget bad pictures.
“As a therapist who specializes in sexual addiction treatment, I can vouch for the significance of Kristen Jenson’s ground-breaking book, Good Pictures Bad Pictures Jr. This book equips parents to wisely warn their children in an age-appropriate way. I plan to read it repeatedly with my young children.” Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP-C, author of Life After Lust
The scene is set. Your kids are ready. The internet is on 24/7. So what are you waiting for? Grab a copy of Good Pictures Bad Pictures, Jr.: A Simple Plan to Protect Young Minds, and give your children the power to Turn, Run, & Tell! Available on Amazon. For international shipping outside the U.S. including Canada, click here.
For additional information and other articles on how to have powerful discussions with your children, visit the author's website and blog at www.ProtectYoungMinds.org.