• Yvette E. McDonald, LCSW-QS

Resource Find & Share: An Organization with a Mission to Defend Young Minds

Updated: Apr 14


A couple of months ago in my research for helping those who struggle with Porn I came across this organization called Defend Young Minds.


I wanted to take a minute and unpack what I found with this resource. So, lets start in the beginning. What is Defend Young Minds? On their website they report their vision to be:

"We envision a world where caring adults empower young children with the information, skills and mindsets they need to defend themselves against pornography and reject all forms of sexual exploitation. In this way kids can grow up unburdened by addiction and objectification to enjoy healthy relationships and successful lives."

And their mission to be:

"We educate, encourage and equip parents, professionals and community leaders to defend young minds from the harms of pornography. We are devoted to developing excellent tools, including books, curriculum, articles, guides, courses and communities, to help raise empowered, resilient, screen-smart kids."

Not a bad cause in a world that is engulfed with technology. Far too many times we at the practice run into kids that have got caught up or are caught up in the tentacles of pornography and both the parents and children/teens are at a loss. What's even crazier is when I try to educate parents on the topic early on and they still respond with,


"Not my child"

"That won't be something we have to worry about"

"All they do is play on their devices they won't find that"


But, what they are missing is that it does happen. We all need to be aware of the the power of the screen and as the website states "Defend Young Minds"!



The Website: First Impressions


The website is easy to navigate and understand. Immediately they offer you resources to come alongside your parenting journey and educate you on everything having to do with porn. They provide you with prevention information along with ways to help and heal. They work hard on surrounding you with all that you would need to protect your children from pornography. I also enjoy the wide array of information for the various age groups. They understand that this is not just a teenager problem but a kid problem. So many times when I do a deep dive into a individuals porn addiction history they share that their first exposure to porn was elementary age. The struggle is real for our children and technology makes it easily accessible to all ages.

Email List: Great Resource


I must have a million emails that flood my inbox daily but there's something about the simplicity and ease to read of their emails that keeps me coming back for more. In today's email it talked about burn out. Here's a sample so you can see the value.


Hello Yvette,


As we talk with parents from all over the world and from all walks of life, we hear a common theme:

“Digital parenting is exhausting, and I’m feeling burned out.”

And it’s no wonder! While technology has improved our lives in so many ways, it’s also added extra stress by piling on a host of extra responsibilities for parents who are already busy.


Setting up, monitoring, and managing devices and screen time could be a part-time job in and of itself. Not to mention the host of extra topics that we need to discuss with our kids as a result.

And for many, it feels like you’re figuring this out in isolation. Many of you have reported your kids saying,

  • “I’m the only one in my class without a phone.”

  • All my friends are on Snapchat.”

And while this is an exaggeration by some kids to bolster their case, for other kids this may be true.

You may feel like you’re the only parent holding out.

And even though it’s important to do what you think is best for your child regardless of what everyone else is doing, it helps to know this:

You are not alone.

There are millions of other parents across the world who see the harmful impacts of pornography, social media, and screens.

As for the burn out–here are a few tips to help with that:

  • Take care of yourself. When you’re feeling really burned out, make sure you’re taking time to take care of yourself physically and emotionally. You’ll be able to better handle the challenges that come with parenting kids in this digital age if you’ve taken care of yourself. And I don’t mean trips without the kids or spa days. I’m talking about the basics–getting enough sleep, eating properly, and exercising.

  • Talk to a spouse, partner or friend. Find someone who shares similar views on the topic with you–someone you can confide in and seek solutions with.

  • Find a support group. (We’ve got one!) Whether in person or online, finding a group of parents who support one another through the difficulties of digital parenting can be an enormous help. We have a group like this on Facebook called Tackle the Tech Together. Please join us!

  • Be patient with yourself. No one is getting this right 100% of the time. And the world we live in is completely different from the one we grew up in. A world where so many young people have phones and social media is a big social experiment. You’ll have to deal with the aftermath of that even if your own kids don’t have phones and social media. We are all doing the best we can to navigate this. You’re going to make mistakes. Give yourself a big helping of grace!

  • Delay reacting. When something comes up that you need to address, take a minute before reacting. Or an hour. Or a day. Or more. While it’s good to address things as they come up, it will be much better to take some time, calm down, and think through what kind of conversation you want to have with your child before going into it. If your child is with you when you discover it, tell them you want to discuss it with them but that you’d like a little time to think about it first.

  • Make time to UNPLUG. When we’re on screens a lot ourselves, it makes it harder to have the energy to deal with our own kids’ screen time. Find time to unplug–you’ll feel the difference! And consider having regular time set aside for your entire family to unplug.

Please remember that we are here for you! You can reply to any of our emails or send us a message at hello@defendyoungminds.com when you have questions or just feel overwhelmed and need encouragement.


Kindly,

Kristen


P.S. Sign up now for our upcoming FREE webinars in honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month. I’ll be talking with body safety expert Kimberly Perry about ways to empower kids to avoid online dangers. There are two dates to choose from. Register using the links below. PLUS live attendees will be entered into a giveaway!


Can you see the simplicity in it. I love how they immediately relate with the exasperation of digitally parenting and then offer me some quick tips to implement immediately.


Free Stuff: Grow & Learn


As you navigate the website they offer both free and paid resources. Some of their most popular free resources include How to Talk to Your Kids About Pornography, 5 Things Teens Wish Their Parents Knew About Porn and Is My Child Ready for a Smartphone? I appreciate how they provide additional resources to truly come alongside parents and professionals in this digital age through pdf, books, guides and curriculum.


Final Thoughts


Digital parenting is a task that requires wisdom and intentionality. No longer as parents or professionals can we take the naive position on something that can so drastically change a child's life with consequences that have the potential to last a lifetime. Porn is no longer an adult thing. Children are being exposed to it at younger and younger ages and the struggle is real for children and teenagers and us as parents. I agree with Kristen's comment in her email that digital parenting is exhausting and we can not expect to have all the answers. We need resources like this to join our village of raising our kids in a world that seems to be making every turn more difficult and threatens the innocence of our youth.


Head over to their website and be sure to check out this great resource.


Want to learn more about Porn as an adult or alongside your teenager be sure to check out the Documentary: Brain, Heart World.




Want to learn more about growing up in the digital age. Check out this award-winning film SCREENAGERS: GROWING UP IN THE DIGITAL AGE, that probes into the vulnerable corners of family life and depicts messy struggles over social media, video games and academics. This film offers solutions on how we can help our kids navigate the digital world. I watched it with my two teenage sons and we not only used it as an informational tool but also a conversation starter. I encourage you to do the same.


Please leave a comment and share your experience of other great resources you have come across to assist you in this digital age.


Looking to bring alongside a counselor onto your journey? We can help. Click here to get started today.


Parent takeaway. Check out this Ted talk on why we need to talk to our kids about porn.



 

Yvette E. McDonald is the owner and counselor at Traveling Light Counseling, a practice for individuals, couples and families helping them discover the person/couple they were always meant to be, as they become the best version of self in their roles and relationships in the Port Saint Lucie and Martin County area. She has hand-picked each clinician based on their specialty. With a goal to build a team that is the top in our area.