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“I have daughters, so I’m not worried.” I’ve heard this rationale over and over again as I’ve talked to parents about protecting children from pornography. I only wish it were true that 50% of our children were completely immune to pornography’s pull. But in fact, studies show that up to one-third of porn viewers are female, so girls may be more vulnerable than we once thought.

Sister Joy D. Jones, General Primary President, warned at a recent conference, “I am concerned that many parents may not yet realize how dangerous pornography really is or may think it’s only a problem for the boy next door. Reality is, this problem is affecting our boys and our girls and we’re not talking about it enough. The good news is that it’s never too late. We can begin today.”

Girls Are Not Immune

Cassy, a straight-A student, college graduate and active LDS member, began her struggle with pornography addiction at age 11 and for the next 10 years struggled alone. Finally, through the help of her bishop, she began the healing process.

In another example, after her parents had given her “the talk,” 8-year-old Carly* looked up the word “sex” on her internet-connected device. Unfortunately, her curiosity led her into the dark world of hard-core porn. Months later her parents were devastated to discover what she’d been viewing.

It’s clear that girls are vulnerable to the pull of pornography. Therapist Jeffrey J. Ford shared this concern with me:

“A lot of people think that girls are safe from pornography, but girls are just as susceptible as boys. In some ways, girls are more at risk because parents and religious leaders assume they aren’t as curious as boys about porn and do nothing to protect them.”

I have found this to be true. When I gathered together a focus group of LDS youth ages 14 to 18, most of the young men showed me their flip phones or said they didn’t have a phone. On the other hand, 100 percent of the young women had smartphones and social media accounts.

To read the full article on LDS Living, click here.