Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Magazine Moment: Another Pornography Lesson

I have a great friend with a 7-year-old son. He is at that age where pictures of naked people are not just interesting because they're funny. They're interesting because the child is more curious about how the body actually looks. He is taking notice of curves and clothes.

My friend's husband is military, so he works out a lot. He has a subscription to Muscle Man Magazine. The magazines have never been an issue before, even though they've always contained pictures of women in scantily clad clothes. But, his little boy is growing up and starting to notice more. Plus, he has older male friends that have pointed some things out to him. Now, my friend is faced with a dilemma. How do you deal with the magazines? Hubby really likes the workouts and doesn't want to cancel. Do you hide them in the office? Do you hide them in the nightstand drawer or under the bed? Do you force hubby to cancel the subscription?

If you hide the magazines, whether at home or work, there is always the chance that the child will find the magazines. Then, if the magazines are hidden and he finds them (and chances are that he will at some point), what message is that sending? It's sending the message that it's okay to look at pictures of scantily clad women, and it's okay to do it in secret. He won't understand that daddy just wants work outs because that's not what stands out to him.

Here was the suggestion I gave my friend. It's what I would do at my house. I suggested that her husband take the magazines and, with her son, color modest clothes over the pictures of the immodest models. Or, father and son can together rip those pages out and throw them away. Or, father and son can tear out the work outs daddy wants and throw the rest of the magazine away. Having a father work with his son is teaching the son an incredibly valuable lesson: daddy believes in modesty and respecting women and will go to whatever lengths necessary to keep himself clean. He is also avoiding temptation by getting rid of the temptor. He is being PROACTIVE! By allowing his son to take part in whatever he is doing to change his surroundings to fit his beliefs, his son is learning to avoid pornography. He is learning how to do it by changing his own environment. During the activity of coloring or ripping is also a prime opportunity to explain pornography and why it's important to avoid it. And, his son is SEEING his dad in action, avoiding the pornographic plague.

I also love this type of approach because a seven-year-old exposed to scantily clad women in a magazine is pornography, but not, what I would consider, hard-core porn. It's a great opportunity to help your child learn how to avoid pornography, or run away from it, before it gets addictive or more explicit.

Here are a few questions a parent can ask a child during this kind of activity:
How do you feel when you see pictures like this?
What do you think this picture is trying to make me feel?
How does modesty look (especially when coloring over the pictures - the child can understand what constitutes modest dress)?
What do you think this model does when she's not taking pictures? Do you think she has children, a husband, a dog? What do you think her hobbies are? (This is humanizing a person and taking away the idea that women in pictures are objects to be desired.)
Do you know why we're doing this (ripping or coloring)? (You'll want to be clear that this can be a temptation for you and you are doing this to get rid of the temptation. Young boys need to know that you have desires too, but you know how to channel your energy).

There are many more questions you can ask, but you know your child and can tailor questions to best fit your child's needs. Now, LOOK for opportunities to teach them. You can find them anywhere. There may be a billboard you pass regularly that shows a woman or man in seductive/immodest attire or poses. There may be a JCPenney catalog with pictures of models in bras. You can find an opportunity!

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