The Day My 8 Year-Old Was Exposed to Pornography (and What I Did About It)

In one instance, our son expressed concern that one of his friends kept trying to kiss him, even after he made it clear that he did not like that. This was something the other boy’s parents were not aware of and so we contacted the family and let them know. It also gave us an opportunity to share about the concept of Body Safety Rules to their family. They spoke with their son and he adjusted and it has never happened again. Our son wasn’t afraid to tell us about this situation because we constantly talk about body safety rules and look to create an environment where they know that they should tell us if something is happening that they don’t feel good about.

2. Communication

Like most kids, mine ask a ton of questions. As they get older, their questions present teachable moments on deeper levels and we try to take advantage of that. When my kids started observing people smoking and began asking what cigarettes are all about, we took the opportunity to talk about addictions of all kinds, how addiction affects people and those closest to them. We feel that if we don’t dive deeper into weighty conversations from an early age, it’s highly unlikely that they will naturally open up to us when it matters most.

3. Self Worth

There are so many influences that effect the way we think about ourselves. At dinner table conversations about their day or when we have those “just before bedtime” talks, we try to listen for anything they share which shows a negative impact on their Identity, their destiny or their view of God’s Nature – and we address it. My daughter was upset about a girl in her class that was teasing her. The hurtful words that were coming at her were shaping her self perception. Our approach in helping her, aside from practical ways to resolve the situation, was to speak into the truth of who she is, who God made her to be and how that will play into the plan that God has for her life.  We spoke to our children about staying free from the control of others so that their self worth is not found in what others think of them.

4. Freedom 

We did our best to limit our children’s overall exposure to electronics but at one point it became hard for them to accept when “screen time” was over. They argued and insisted to be able to watch more and when they couldn’t have their way, it wasn’t long before they began to fight with each other.

At that point, we realized our practice with electronics wasn’t lining up with the value we have for Freedom. So we informed our kids there would be no screen time during the weekday at all and going forward, they could only watch one family movie with us  1 time per week and for the older ones, they could play a 30 minute video game 1 time on the weekends. Through this “electronics detox” – we were able to talk to them about addiction and the dangers of being controlled by something.

I’ll never forget one weekend several months later where my oldest was given the opportunity to play a video game for 30 minutes on a Saturday with my husband. At the end of the round, my husband said he was tired of playing and my son said, “Yeah, it’s probably been 30 minutes, I should turn this off.” He then blew my mind by adding “I’m so glad I don’t have that feeling anymore where I just want to watch something or play video games all the time.” He broke through the “Rules barrier” and experienced freedom as a Value!

When I think of the college culture in the US and the party scene that has swept across college campuses, I imagine that those who came from more restrictive households can easily find themselves perceiving a party life-style as “Freedom” from their parent’s rules and regulations. Our hope in prioritizing Values over Rules is that when they are ready to move out on their own, our children would adopt their own set of Values that they can look back to when they face the many challenges that will be ahead of them.

Closing Thoughts:

After this recent experience with our son, we realized how important having established Family Values can be. I want to encourage you if you haven’t created values as a family, give it a try. We certainly have a long way to go in figuring this whole parenting thing out, I’ve been so thankful to learn from the experiences of others and I hope that by sharing this, others will benefit as well 🙂


This article originally appeared at The Takeaway Blog.

Rawan Shrum
Rawan Shrum
Rawan Shrum is a mother of three and works together with her husband, Justin, in leading The Justice Project, International, an organization working to assist and restore women out of forced prostitution in Germany. The Shrums are passionate about empowering others into a lifestyle of freedom and blog together at More information about their work to combat Human Trafficking can be found at

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