Parenting Tips, Info, & Advice
When a child is involved, it’s not porn – it’s a crime
At Savvy Parents Safe Kids and The Heartful Parent Collective, we believe that language matters—and that language can be a powerful force for shaping how we view something.
The way we talk about and address the sexual abuse of children is one such place where the words we use impact our perspective.
You have likely heard the terms “child pornography,” “child porn,” or “kiddie porn.”
If you walk away from this article with one thing, I hope it is that you will never use those terms again.
Pornography in any form suggests a willing participant—a consensual sexual act done for the pleasure of the public that views it.
But children cannot consent, legally or otherwise. Calling what may be some of the worst moments of their lives—moments where their bodies were violated without permission for the sexual pleasure of an adult while being filmed or photographed—is not consensual, it’s abuse. We erase that when we refer to it as pornography—the idea of which, per the Child Rescue Coalition, “indicates legitimacy and compliance on the part of the victim and therefore legality on the part of the abuser.”
By calling it what it is—child sexual abuse material, or “CSAM” for short, we do three important things:
We acknowledge, with our language, the true nature of the material. We call it what it is. It is photographic or filmographic evidence of the horrific abuse of a child.
We put the responsibility where the responsibility lies. In calling it “child porn,” the only person addressed is the child, implying they are responsible for its creation. When we call it sexual abuse material, we make clear that there is an abuser. That’s where our focus should be.
We refuse to legitimize images that are a permanent record of children being sexually exploited and abused.
Let’s give these children the love, respect, and acknowledgment they deserve. Remove the phrase “child porn” from your lexicon, use “CSAM” instead. And while you’re at it, invite others to do the same!
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Christy Keating is a certified parent coach, positive discipline educator, and motivational speaker. She is the founder and CEO of The Heartful Parent Collective, which includes Heartful Parent Coaching, Savvy Parents Safe Kids, and Heartful Parent Academy.
The mother of two amazing daughters, Christy strives to build a happier, healthier world - one child, one parent, and one family at a time.