OPINION — If you’ve ever struggled to know how to talk with your children about pornography, harmful media, body image and other difficult topics, you are not alone. In fact, many parents wonder how they can talk about these unsavory issues with their children without harming their children or creating unhealthy curiosity.
As much as we’d all like to protect our children from the daily tsunami of trash flowing out of screens small and large, we must develop better approaches to navigate these rising waters. Instead of wringing our hands in despair, we can square up to the reality of our visual overload and learn how to talk with our children about how it affects them.
On Sept. 19, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., there will be a conference at the Dixie Center St. George, 1835 S. Convention Center Drive, that addresses these very concerns. Nationally recognized authors and experts will present a variety of workshops to teach parents how they can talk with their children and protect them from the harmful impact of dangerous media.
The Utah Coalition Against Pornography and a committee made up of concerned citizens from Southern Utah have teamed up to present this conference to the Southern Utah community (full disclosure: I am the committee chair and a workshop presenter). This is the third time St. George has hosted this conference with attendance at previous conferences reaching close to 1,000 attendees.
In addition to workshops for parents, there will be workshops for teens and young single adults. Lexi and Lindsay Kite, founders of Beauty Redefined, will open the conference with a keynote presentation on how we can recognize unhealthy beauty ideals in media and help girls and women embrace the truth about themselves and their bodies.
There will also be a breakout session for teens led by Clay Olson, founder of Fight the New Drug, where he will discuss how young people can protect themselves from the impact of pornography and learn how to build healthy relationships with media.
I will be presenting a workshop for young singles on how they can discuss the problem of pornography in their relationships. Many young people wonder if looking at pornography is really cheating and need tools for how they can successfully discuss this delicate subject.
This conference isn’t just for those who are struggling or directly impacted by pornography. It’s a prevention conference and a wonderful learning opportunity for all individuals in our community who want to be better informed on how to address these issues in their families, churches, schools, and community.
There will also be a panel discussion to address how clergy can support individuals in their congregations and a separate panel discussion featuring women who have worked through the betrayal of a loved one’s addiction. If you’ve ever wondered how to help someone who has been betrayed or affected by betrayal, these workshops can make all the difference in your ability to be helpful.
Harmful media surrounds us but doesn’t have to harm our relationships or us if we know how to respond to it.
Registration for the conference is available online. The conference is free for students.
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Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. The opinions stated in this article are solely his and not those of St. George News.
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