Protecting children from pornography and sexual abuse

Sam Meier is the consultant for the My House Initiative. For more information about protecting fam- ilies from pornography, go online to: www.archkck.org/myhouse.

by Sam Meier

In a 2016 statement on pornography, the American College of Pediatricians indicated that “children under 12 years old who have viewed pornography are statistically more likely to sexually assault their peers.”

In a 2015 pastoral letter on pornography, the U.S. bishops wrote that “data indicates that children repeatedly exposed to pornography are more likely to sexually harass or molest other children, imitating the behavior they have seen.”  

The U.S. bishops’ letter said the following to church leaders: “We must see our role in protecting children from pornography as our sacred duty, as well as an aspect of our work to create safe environments in accord with our ongoing implementation of the ‘Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.’”

Father Sean Kilcawley, a national expert on pornography, recently provided a training event in Kansas City to over 40 local priests, deacons and deacon candidates.

Father Kilcawley made three practical suggestions on how Catholic parishes and schools could effectively protect Catholic children from pornography.

The first was providing the book “Good Pictures Bad Pictures” to all second-grade parents as part of first Communion preparation.

Since the average age of exposure to pornography is 8 to 11 years old, it is good for parents to read “Good Pictures Bad Pictures” with their children around ages 7 to 8. Discounted orders (minimum 20) are available through the Savior Book Store by contacting Mary Manan online at: mmanan@archkck.org or by calling (913) 721-1097.

The second was providing the book “Wonderfully Made Babies” to all fourth-grade parents.

Father Kilcawley has been working closely with the author of “Wonderfully Made Babies,” which is a short book that parents can read to their children (ages 9 and up) to assist them in teaching about God’s design for human sexuality. All parishes seeking a bulk order should simply email the author at: eckgian@comcast.net.

The third was having all parents of children in Catholic schools and religious education programs watch an 18-minute video online at: cmgparent.org.

This video educates parents on the importance of protecting their children from pornography and the dangers of social media.

Parishes and schools can have parents take a short quiz and print a certificate after watching the video. Parishes and schools can also track online which parents have watched the video and completed the quiz.

Church leaders and parents, let’s all do our part to implement these resources in our parishes!

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