Recently my husband discovered that our eleven-year-old daughter has seen pornographic images on the Internet. When we asked her about it, she said that her friends were talking about it, so she was curious and searched for it online. We had already talked to her about the changes in her body and that kind of thing, and we think that we have given her the confidence to talk to us about that subject. We have always controlled what she can access on the Internet, but she was able to figure out a way around it.

We read the Bible together and talk about the love of God and what sin is. We attend church. We want to help her develop a healthy self respect and respect for her body. Can you give me some advice?

Dear Friend,

First of all, it is important to keep this issue in perspective. It is completely normal for pre-adolescents to be curious. It is also normal for teens and pre-teens to share information with their peers. Before there was the Internet, adolescents found magazines with these same kinds of pictures. Therefore, it is important that you do not handle this in a way that would make your daughter think that you or God judge her for what is normal curiosity.

Had you ever actually told your daughter not to look at those kinds of images? Probably not, because you didn’t expect it to be an issue at her young age. Therefore, she couldn’t have been disobeying your instructions if you had never given her those instructions. But now you should, of course, tell her that she should not look at those images anymore.

Your daughter can’t unsee what she saw, so it is very normal that she would have lots of questions. We’re glad that you understand the importance of creating an atmosphere in which she can ask her questions so that she will not be as likely to get information from her friends. You say that you have talked with her before about her changing body, and that is a great start. But now you need to read books with her that are written specifically for adolescents by authors who are believers in God and in His perfect plan for our lives. Those books present sex as something that is very special and reserved exclusively for married couples.

It is also great that you read the Bible together and talk about God’s love. In that context, it is important for your daughter to be taught that God created our bodies and that He created sex. His perfect plan was for it to be beautiful and not sordid or dirty. However, when we humans choose to disregard God’s plan, sex can be the cause of broken marriages, broken homes, and broken lives. To illustrate this point, you could discuss Cases of the Week that reveal the stories of people who have greatly complicated their lives by choosing to have sex without being married.

We wish you the best,