Who Should Be Having The Porn-Prevention Conversation With Our Kids?

John Van Arnam is Founder of The Third Talk®, a non-profit dedicated to helping parents have the porn-prevention conversation with their kids. In his 20+ years experience protecting kids from being harmed by exposure to this content, he has explored every area available to figure out who should be educating our kids about the dangers of watching pornography.

who-should-be-having-the-porn-prevention-conversation-with-our-kids

Department of Education

Teachers and School Administrators are in front of our kids as educators for a large portion of their youth. In an interview with Austin Bailey, Public Relations Coordinator for Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy in Mooresboro, North Carolina after a The Third Talk seminar, Mr. Bailey said:

“[A] lot of times, administrators and educators; we see these children more than their parents do. That’s not uncommon. You know, parents have to work. Our work is to work with their children.”[1]

So, it makes sense, then, that teachers would be a common sense solution for teaching kids to avoid pornography on their computers, smartphones and gaming consoles, right? According to John, after many conversations with School Administrators, it’s not a viable solution.

“Most parents must sign a permission slip to allow their children to participate in Sex Education in public schools. The quality of that Sex Ed depends heavily on where the school is located. But suffice it to say that we as a nation have not agreed on the level and quality of Sex Education in our public schools. Some parents will sign that Sex Education waiver and allow their children to participate in Sex Ed, and obviously some parents do not. However, the concept of signing a waiver to allow educators to speak to their students about online pornography is a bridge too far for almost all parents.”

Department of Justice

What about Law Enforcement? This content leads to assault, child-on-child crimes and dating violence.[2] This should be an issue for Law Enforcement, right? Unless laws are being broken, Law Enforcement cannot get involved. Companies who deliver the content aren’t breaking any laws and kids watching it aren’t breaking any laws. At an appearance in Holcutt, North Carolina, John talked about how Law Enforcement’s hands are tied in educating kids about not watching pornography.

“If you receive pictures on your phone, that’s breaking the law – of an underage individual, that’s breaking the law. But sitting down to watch it is not against the law.”

Department of Health and Human Services

So, public health issue? Yes. This is a public health issue. Why? Because pornography in the United States is free on any device that can connect to the internet, because children as young as age 9 are watching it[3], because watching this content so young can lead to assault, child-on-child crimes and dating violence, and because kids watching this content during the recent pandemic has led to an alarming increase in Cyber Tips to the Crimes Against Children Task Force – a number that is constantly rising.[4] John speaks on this, as well.

“[Health and Human Services] are going to determine the amount of damage, the results of that damage, and that’s going to take them a long time. We’re just beginning to study this. I don’t know if you remember, but there was a long time ago where we were still on the fence about whether or not smoking was good or bad for kids. Some people said, ‘Nah, I don’t think there’s any problem with it,’ and some said, ‘Okay, this is really bad.’ And you know what we did? We did studies about it. After 40 years there was a declarative statement made: ‘ Smoking’s bad for kids.’ I don’t need 40 years of studies to determine whether or not this is bad for kids.”

Faith-Based Organizations

Faith-based organizations should talk about it, but do not. In a study conducted entitled “Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church”, #4 reads:

“Young Christians’ church experiences related to sexuality are often simplistic, judgmental. With unfettered access to digital pornography and immersed in a culture that values hyper-sexuality over wholeness, teen and twentysometing Christians are struggling with how to live meaningful lives in terms of sex and sexuality. One of the significant tensions for many young believers is how to live up to the church’s expectations of chastity and sexual purity in this culture, especially as the age of first marriage is now commonly delayed to the late twenties. Research indicates that most young Christians are as sexually active as their non-Christian peers, even though they are more conservative in their attitudes about sexuality. One-sixth of young Christians (17%) said they “have made mistakes and feel judged in church because of them.” The issue of sexuality is particularly salient among 18- to 29-year-old Catholics, among whom two out of five (40%) said the church’s “teachings on sexuality and birth control are out of date.”[5]

It’s a nuanced conversation that still requires the permission of parents, which leads to only one area left to explore.

Parents

Are parents are the last line of defense? John concludes:

“We have to talk about this. We’ve tried legislation, we’ve tried filters. We can’t fight [this] in court. Censorship vs. the First Amendment – we’ve had that discussion for years. We talk about it. Parents are the solution. We would never send our Youth Group, our Girl Scouts, or our Middle School class hiking out into the Mohave Desert to look at the flora and the fauna and just forget to mention rattlesnakes, tarantulas and scorpions. We gotta talk about it. Smoking, Drinking, Riding in Cars, Stranger Danger, Stop Drop and Roll, Online Pornography.”

This is a growing problem that requires parents to take action. Children aren’t going to be the ones to bring it up. The Third Talk’s own interviews with 11 Young People uncovered not only porn addiction as early as age 9, but youth who wished their parents had talked to them.

“I get it, it’s uncomfortable. I would have been incredibly uncomfortable if my father had started talking to me about it. But I was much more uncomfortable when I was sexually assaulted and I thought that that was okay. And looking back on it, all I needed was a good influence to step in and say that I wasn’t dirty, or out of place, or worth less because I was addicted to porn.”[6]

John has developed the Parent’s Guide to specifically address this conversation in a straightforward manner that makes this otherwise awkward and difficult conversation very easy. John is also available for Private Consultations. And you can do a lot for your community as a Teacher, School Administrator, Peace Officer, and Leader of your Faith-Based Organization by having John come to your community and make an Appearance. When Mr. Bailey was asked about his thoughts on John’s Appearance, he said:

“I think it’s so vital for each and every school to have the opportunity to hear [John] come out, and to hear those same statistics we just talked about and truly understand the impact explicit material has on these children, and how easy it is for them to get a hold of it and to share it with their friends. It’s not just one person finding it, it’s then sharing it. [The Third Talk] is important because it is hard to find an individual this program will not impact. And I know you made the comment before, a lot of parents say, ‘Well, this couldn’t be my child,’ you know, ‘We didn’t raise our child this way.’ But peer pressure is real. Friends see things, they share it with their friends. I think it’s so important to utilize this tool you have and help and really try to get in front of this problem and be apart of the solution before it becomes something that’s too late to have a solution and we just have to react on our heels.”[1]

Dr. Carson, Principal at Guilford Preparatory Academy in Greensboro, North Carolina was asked what he would say to other educators about having The Third Talk come to their school.

“I would say do it. We have to hit this epidemic head on. It is so pervasive… As administrators, it’s time that we face the reality and face the truth that we need help. We need help with this topic and we need to do a much better job for our young people to help save them and put them in a better place. They are learning [sexuality] from all the places we don’t want them to learn it from.”[7]

Chief Lukens of the Police Department in Alliance, Nebraska coordinated The Third Talk Appearance and had this to say about the event:

“One of the points [John] brought up is … you take your kid to somebody’s house and say, ‘By the way, we don’t allow our kids to watch porn.’ I think that is something that we don’t think about and most parents would never even imagine. I had my own family come to The Third Talk and afterwards we debriefed this, we talked about this. And what I heard from other people, as well, who attended the event was the fact that there’s this moment of ‘We’re not addressing an issue that probably has been silent for many, many years.’ So, that part of the conversation, that discussion, I think, was absolutely phenomenal.”[8]

This is a movement and we need your help! Donate, share our articles and social media posts and Volunteer so we can reach more parents to protect our nation’s future from the harms caused by this content.

Parent’s Guide: https://www.thethirdtalk.org/the-third-talk-parents-guide/
Consultations: https://www.thethirdtalk.org/coaching-sessions/
Request an Appearance: https://www.thethirdtalk.org/book-the-third-talk/
Donate: https://www.thethirdtalk.org/donate/


1. Professional Testimonial from The Third Talk® Appearance at Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy: https://www.thethirdtalk.org/professional-testimonial-from-the-third-talk-appearance-at-thomas-jefferson-classical-academy/
2. Underage Porn Consumption and Sexual Violence Among Adolescents: https://www.thethirdtalk.org/underage-porn-consumption-and-sexual-violence-among-adolescents/
3. Youth speaking to camera during an interview conducted by The Third Talk® regarding underage exposure to pornography and pornography addiction, October 2021: https://www.thethirdtalk.org/young-person-testimonials/
4. The Correlation Between Human Trafficking & Internet Usage Among Minors: https://www.thethirdtalk.org/the-correlation-between-human-trafficking-internet-usage-among-minors/
5. Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church: https://www.barna.com/research/six-reasons-young-christians-leave-church/
6.Young female named “Sarah” speaking to camera during an interview conducted by The Third Talk® regarding underage exposure to pornography and pornography addiction, October 2021: https://www.thethirdtalk.org/young-person-testimonials/
7. Professional Testimonial from The Third Talk® Appearance at Guilford Preparatory Academy: https://www.thethirdtalk.org/professional-testimonial-from-the-third-talk-appearance-at-guilford-preparatory-academy/
8. John Van Arnam of The Third Talk Interviews Chief Lukens: https://www.thethirdtalk.org/john-van-arnam-of-the-third-talk-interviews-chief-lukens/

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