When Kids "Abuse" Kids: The Trend of Children Imitating Porn
Could your child be at risk for sexual abuse? It’s a scary thought, but you can reduce the risk. We’d like to help you protect your kids and prevent them from becoming a victim, or worse yet, an initiator of child sexual abuse.
Kids imitate what they see
Often when we think of child abuse, the perpetrator is an adult--a pedophile. But did you know that a third of child sexual abuse victims are abused by other minors? In fact, many kids act out sexually not as a result of any actual physical abuse they’ve suffered, but because they are imitating what they've seen done in pornography.
And it's only natural. Kids are hard-wired to mirror what they see adults do. Donna Rice Hughes, president and founder of Enough Is Enough agrees:
Children often imitate what they've seen, read, or heard, and studies suggest that exposure to pornography can prompt kids to act out sexually against younger, smaller, and more vulnerable children.
The more we learn about how pornography impacts young children, the more we realize that pornography itself is a type of perpetrator. Like sexual abuse, pornography can pre-awaken sexual feelings within a child before that child is developmentally prepared, which is confusing and often traumatic for kids.
In fact, I began writing Good Pictures Bad Pictures after hearing the tragic story of a teenage boy who went from viewing pornography to acting out and sexually molesting his younger siblings. His tragic story is becoming more and more common.
A Grandparent's Nightmare
In my family, it started with the pornography addiction of the father of my grandchildren. I knew about the addiction, but did not voice my opinion or watch the family any closer than a normal relative usually does. To me, at that point in my life, my thinking was it was his personal problem, a problem that was common with men and would be contained within the confines of his own thoughts and desires.
When those walls came tumbling down, I was to discover that the sins of the fathers are indeed visited upon the heads of the children. Our enlightenment came when my husband walked into their home and found our 8 year granddaughter performing a shocking sex act on our 10 year old granddaughter, her sister. Right there, in the living room, in front of a television flashing children’s cartoons.
It took a while for the debris to clear sufficiently to even see the tip of the iceberg. The father’s adult porn addiction...had descended even lower, down a slippery slope, to child porn. He had not only shared the vilest of images with his own children, but had sexually abused them. The older children had then repeated these abhorrent acts on the younger children.
In other stories we’ve heard (and will be blogging about soon), kids act out sexually on other children simply from viewing pornography--with no adult perpetrator involved. Child-on-child sexual abuse is skyrocketing and pornography is most certainly part of the reason.
Resources for Parents
In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing interviews with leaders in the child abuse prevention movement as well as their best advice for protecting children. In the meantime, please check out the following resources:
Child Abuse Prevention Websites
- National Child Abuse Prevention Month
- Committee for Children
- Ginger Kadlec: Be A Kid’s Hero
- Darkness to Light: End Child Sexual Abuse
- The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Child Abuse Prevention Books
(The following list uses affiliate links to Amazon. If you click on an affiliate link and purchase a product, we get compensated and you get to support our work. Thank you!)
- Do You Have a Secret? by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos
- I Said NO! A Kid-to-Kid Guide to Keeping Private Parts Private by Kimberly King
- Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept by Jayneen Sanders
Want to protect your child from pornography?
Protect Young Minds is here to help you arm your kids with skills to reject pornography.
Good Pictures Bad Pictures
"I really like the no-shame approach the author takes. It's so much more than just 'don't watch or look at porn.' It gave my children a real understanding about the brain and its natural response to pornography, how it can affect you if you look at it, and how to be prepared when you do come across it (since, let's face it... it's gonna happen at some point)." -Amazon Review by D.O.