4 Sneaky Ways Your Kids Are Being Groomed for Pornography Addictions


desensitized to porn

It’s your daughter’s birthday. She’s delighted to get a Trolls doll as a gift. But when she plays with it, you notice something disturbing: a button under the doll’s skirt. When pressed, the doll giggles and makes noises you’d hear in an adult movie. This isn’t entirely imaginary. Hasbro recently recalled a Poppy Trolls doll after outraged parents pointed out the button and the noises the doll makes when you press it.

Hasbro says the button placement was unintentional. But as a parent, I’ve noticed what looks like grooming—an intentional effort by the media to get kids desensitized to porn. Here are 4 ways it’s happening right under your watchful eye.

Comic Books/Graphic Novels

Your son has finally become interested in reading! That’s great, but upon closer inspection of his graphic novels, you may see scantily-clad women who have enormous breasts and are overly sexualized. The stories might be good, but the illustrations leave kids desensitized to porn by getting them accustomed to viewing women this way.

Fortunately, there are plenty of kid-friendly graphic novels, such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney, Babymouse and Squish, both by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm, Big Nate by Lincoln Peirce, Warriors by Erin Hunt, and even Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey. Kids like them, and they don’t have sexual content.

Pop Music

You know you can get whatever you want from me/Whenever you want it, baby (“Break My Heart,” Dua Lipa)

Bonafide stallion/You ain’t in no stable, no, you stay on the run/Ain’t on the side, you’re number one/Yeah, every time I come around, you get it done (“Yummy,” Justin Bieber)

Would you want your daughter to say these things to her boyfriend? If your kids listen to pop music, these are lyrics they’re singing. They’re learning that this is how you talk if you want attention from the opposite sex.

I remember the night my mom threw away my Vanilla Ice cassette (yes, I’ve dated myself). I was mad, but she was wise enough to read the lyrics and protect me from them. Now that I have kids, I understand.

Video Games

My 5-year-old daughter loves games that let her pick hairstyles and clothes for princesses. But in some, the princesses wear skimpy underwear and pose suggestively. One game, Princess Pajama Party, only offered sexy lingerie. And I’ve even seen my daughter mimicking those poses. No thank you!

Another game my children stumbled across has players make a boy and girl kiss for as long as they can without getting caught by a nearby parent. My kids assumed it was a funny way to practice reflexes. But it desensitizes kids to sexual behavior and rewards them for disobeying their parents. All children make poor choices, but these games encourage sneaky, inappropriate behavior.

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If you have a son, have you ever walked past a Victoria’s Secret with him? You walk a little faster, right? There is nothing inherently wrong about selling women’s underwear. But there is something wrong with how it’s presented. Even I gawk at the bodies and skin the models boast. And those seductive images get burned into your son’s brain.

Then there are the ads that arrive in the newspaper or mail. While the ad for the Playtex 18-hour full-coverage bra in your Sunday paper may not be the sexiest, it’s easy for kids to access and can arouse curiosity to see more. It’s a small step toward a bigger problem: The porn industry makes millions by exploiting the people who consume it and the people in it, like trafficked women and girls.

What subtle ways you have found that kids are being desensitized to porn? How do you handle it in your home?

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