I finally had the conversation with our oldest (9-year-old) son about images and the power they have on our brain. Hubby and I have been preparing for this conversation for about two months. This will definitely be a series of conversations, but here is our first one. I need to start with a sub-story that I refer our son to during our conversation.
A few months ago our son read a superhero comic book. There was a cuss word in it. One night as he was going to bed he called me to his side.
K: "Mom, I can't get a bad word out of my head. I've tried and it won't go away."
M: "Oh, where did the word come from?"
K: "It was in my comic book. It didn't even need to be there, but I saw it and can't get it out of my head."
M: "Have you tried saying a prayer?"
K: "Yes, and I still can't get it out of my head. I've tried thinking of other things, but I can't.
M: "Have you tried singing a Primary song in your head? You love that Gethsemane song. You could try that one."
Now, on to our conversation about the power of images......
First of all, our son recently acquired a DSi. His friend is moving and has three, so he gave one to our son. His friend's version has internet, but the one he received from his friend does not have internet access. Our son knows the rules and that he may be able to have an electronic devise with internet when he turns 12, if he completes his Duty to God requirements.
K: "Mom, B's (his friend) DS is really cool because it has internet. Mine is still cool, but it doesn't have internet."
This was my big opening. I've been waiting for a moment like this to discuss this with him. His father has been waiting too, but this was the right moment.
M: "That would be neat to have the internet. Do you know why me and your dad don't want you to have internet on an electronic devise yet?"
K: "So I don't see bad stuff."
M: "Yes, that is part of it. We also want to make sure you know how to properly deal with bad stuff if you do come across it."
K: "Like turning off the computer and telling you if I see something that's not appropriate."
M: "Absolutely. Also, we want you to be able to know how to get rid of images, or pictures, in your mind that you may see on the internet. Do you remember when you read that comic book with the swear word?"
M: "You couldn't get the word out of your mind."
M: "Well, pictures are that way. Once you see a picture, your brain remembers it. It can be hard to get that picture out of your mind, like the swear word."
K: "Oh, that makes sense."
M: "What would you do if you couldn't get a picture out of your head?"
K: "Ummmmmm, I would tell you."
M: "It's really good for me to know if something like that is happening, but what if I wasn't there?"
K: "Ummmm, I would try to think of something else."
M: "That's good. To get rid of your brain thinking about one thing, you should fill it with something else. What if it's hard to think of something else. Remember, it was hard to get rid of that swear word and think of something else."
K: "I could say a prayer."
M: "Great. Heavenly Father definitely wants to help you get rid of inappropriate images. What else?"
K: "I could sing a Primary song."
M: "That's great too. It's good to try a couple different things because if the first thing doesn't work you can try something else. Hey buddy, did you know that you should tell me if you saw inappropriate pictures, even if you were looking for them? I love you and want to help you. If you were ever interested in something and looked it up, even if it was inappropriate I want to be able to talk to you about it."
K: "Oh, yeah, I guess."
M: "What do you do if a friend wants you to look at something inappropriate?"
K: "Not look."
M: "But, what if you don't know it's going to be inappropriate until you begin to see it?"
K: "Tell him to turn it off."
M: "That's a good start. You can always walk away and do something else too if he doesn't want to turn it off."
I could tell he was hitting his max information, so I stopped there. I wanted to keep the conversation going as long as I could because I know we will have to repeat some information and our next conversation will be going into more detail about peer pressure. I'm also going to look for some opportunities to point out good spiritual feelings and moments when the spirit is absent.