Being a parent seems to be getting more challenging all the time. We’ve hardly got our children walking and we’re being warned to “stranger proof” them at the same time we’re trying to socialize them; we’re encouraged to get them into SMART start but not to expose them to too much social media or television; we’re trying to teach them good values, reading, language, colours and sharing while connecting them to social settings where other families have other ways of doing things.

Now, we’re being reminded that we need to “porn proof” our kids. We’ve got them ready for earthquakes and fires by warning them about the danger and then teaching them what to do if the event happens. We are always looking for the way out. How do we do that with pornography when so much happens away from our awareness?

In the near future our church will be having a workshop for parents on the massive impact of sex trafficking in this city but one thing is clear. As parents, we hardly take seriously enough the things our children are being exposed to. We don’t realize how enticing images draw young minds into forbidden channels where they are exposed to illicit scenes which awake latent desires.

Children should be reminded that they have a feeling brain and a thinking brain. The imagery and emotion of pornography are centered on our feeling brain in such a way that our thinking brain doesn’t do its job of warning us about future consequences. For them to label images out loud “that’s pornography” will keep them alert so they can make wiser choices. Finding ways to distract themselves when images pull at their senses is a helpful way to protect their mind from long term memories which will impact them in relationships and self-care.

Sometimes, parents fend off the idea of how vulnerable our own children might be by thinking that the girls or boys who get caught up in sex trafficking or pornography are from other countries or they’re here without stable family support. The reality is different.

A large percentage of those youth pulled into the industry are born in Canada. The government claims 90% of known individuals caught up are Canadian. The internet, social media, the mall and even dog walkers have been used to troll for vulnerable victims. Girls even younger than 13 are being targeted.

Many of the young girls involved still come home at night so parents don’t catch on. Some of the things to watch for include longer periods of time where their presence isn’t known; changes in routine; having more than one cellphone; getting expensive things; unexplained absences from school and deep weariness.

As parents, please ensure your children are supervised when in public spaces. Be aware of their social media activity. Know where your child is and screen any potential older friends. Talk to your child about what to do if they get into a difficult situation with someone. Give clear instructions on how to handle themselves in social settings of all kinds. Pray without ceasing for this child’s protection.

Are you staying connected with other parents so you have a support network? What is God saying to you in his own efforts to protect you from the dangers around you?