Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Book Review: Good Pictures, Bad Pictures

If you are a parent of boys these days, chances are great that you are deeply interested in finding a way to porn-proof your sons. Who isn't aware of the devastation wreaked by involvement with pornography? It is tearing apart our marriages, destroying our families, and sucking in our children at staggering rates.

According to statistics listed on Enough. org concerning Internet safety, 70 percent of children have encountered pornography on the Web accidentally (Kaiser Family Foundation, 11/2006). An even worse statistic, gleaned from the London School of Economics in January of 2002, estimates that "9 out of 10 children between 8 and 16 have viewed pornography on the Internet. In most cases, the sex sites were accessed unintentionally when a child, often in the process of doing homework, used a seemingly innocent sounding word to search for information or pictures." Our children are in danger. That is clear.

Kirsten A Jensen, MA, and Gail Poyner, PhD, have addressed this mounting problem with a book written specifically to assist parents in introducing the topic for discussion with young children, Good Pictures, Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today's Young Kids. In the introduction to the book, the authors admit to their own discomfort with feeling led to write the book: "You may be asking yourself, 'Talk to a seven-year-old about pornography? You've got to be kidding! Shouldn't I wait until they're twelve or thirteen?' But the sad reality is that many American children begin viewing hard-core Internet pornography at the age of seven and even younger, long before most parents consider discussing the dangers."

You may feel like you've protected your child adequately because you've put in place the technology to block sexual content. Nonetheless, our sons are able to access it in ways we've not considered, perhaps through the phone of a friend. In the end, the best thing we can do for our sons is to assist them in developing their own internal filters. This book is key to opening that conversation. The authors stress the importance of "empowering kids by teaching them what pornography is, why they should avoid it, and how it can damage their brains and become a progressive addiction."

This book is effectively structured to introduce the topic and provide a solution for a child to master. The first seven chapters talk about the brain and how it functions in regard to the images they might encounter. It breaks down the information to a level a young child can grasp and appreciate. It highlights the dangers involved in opening the mind to these images which will be seared on their memories like the image of the space shuttle explosion will always be seared on my own memory. It teaches the child how pornography tricks the brain into an addiction. But, it doesn't stop there.

In chapter eight, the authors introduce children to an acronym to assist them in battling against the lure of pornography. They provide a CAN DO plan. C - The child is urged to Close their eyes immediately, even to shut down whatever device they are on, rather than continue to view the images. A - The next step is to Alert an adult. N - is for Name it as pornography. D - is a highly important phase, urging the child to Distract themselves with something different or some physical activity to divert the brain from focusing on the images. Finally, the O is for Ordering the thinking brain to take charge of the feeling brain. This is a conscious effort a child can make to extract themselves from the pull of pornography.

It is inevitable. Even with exceptional vigil, our children are bound to encounter this deadly evil at some point in their lives. This book offers an avenue for discussion and a plan of attack for a child to memorize and execute when faced with this foe. If you want a tool to help your children fend off the temptations of looking at pornography, you cannot go wrong by investing in this book and sharing it with your children (the authors highlight the dangers for both girls and boys in their introductory comments).

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