Protecting children and families from pornography and other harmful materials

The Washington Times recently reported that about 80 percent of children exposed to pornography actually encounter it in their own homes.  Some may be frightened by this report, however, I choose to see it as an opportunity to better protect my children.
 
There is so much we can do as parents to protect our children from the impact of pornography. Our children are at great risk of being exposed to fraudulent messages of pornography, which include sexual mis-education, violence, exaggerated body types, and other gross distortions.
 
We need both “high-tech” and “low-tech” solutions to these challenges.  High-tech solutions include learning more about the ways children can electronically access pornography and how to stay on top of the ever-changing technological landscape. 
 
Low-tech solutions include knowing how to teach children about healthy emotion regulation and how they can get help if they are exposed to pornography and other harmful materials. 
 
Parents need to know they’re not helpless and alone in the battle to protect their children. 
 
Concerned citizens of Southern Utah have an opportunity this coming weekend to arm themselves with cutting-edge information from some of the field’s leading experts. 
 
On Saturday, November 6, the Utah Coalition Against Pornography (UCAP) is hosting the conference “Protecting Children and Families from Pornography and Other Harmful Materials” at the Dixie Center in St. George from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (visit www.utahcoalition.org for more information).
 
This conference has been held in Salt Lake City for the past 10 years and has drawn in over 1,000 individuals and received the support of multi-faith groups, major corporations, and other groups.  This is the first regional conference hosted by UCAP.
 
Some of the speakers include local therapist, Jeff Ford, who will speak on “Creating a Safe Place to Talk About Dangerous Things” and technology expert, Ken Knapton, author of “Cyber Safety”, who will teach parents the latest ways to protect their families in a cyber environment.
 
The Utah state attorney general, Mark Shurtleff, and Michelle Torsek from KSL will offer keynote addresses to help educate community members on more global efforts to fight the impact of pornography. KSL was instrumental in producing the documentaries and educational materials found at www.outinthelight.com.
 
There will also be a presentation by myself and Dr. Mark Chamberlain on helping couples heal from the relational damage caused by pornography.
 
In addition to the keynote addresses and workshops, conference attendees will be able to gather information from over twenty resource booths featuring the latest information on prevention and intervention. 
 
I am a daily witness to the devastating effects that pornography has on the lives of those who become addicted to it.  Most of these individuals were exposed to pornography in their early teen years.
 
Although individuals and couples can heal from the impact of pornography, the road is long and difficult.  Learning about the realities of this problem and gaining invaluable education on what to do is something within the reach of every Southern Utah resident this weekend.  I hope you’ll join us.
 
Details:
 
What:The Utah Coalition Against Pornography regional conference – “Protecting Children and Families Against Pornography and Other Harmful Materials”

When:            Saturday, November 6, 2010, 9am-1pm (registration and resource booths begin at 8am)

Where:  The Dixie Center – St. George, UT

Cost:   $15 pre-registration online (www.utahcoalition.org) or $20 at the door.  Pre-registration ends at midnight on November 2.
 
 
Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, UT.  Please send questions for future columns to:  [email protected]. Geoff maintains a blog, article archive, Twitter feed, and Facebook page which are available at www.geoffsteurer.com.

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