kid_computerLet’s just, for a moment, agree to take off all the blinders. Regardless of how great a parent you are or how careful you’ve been about raising your children in the church, the fact of the matter is pornography has a pervasive Internet presence and tempts even the best kids.

 “Not in MY house!” you insist.
Seriously, don’t kid yourself.

Walt Mueller of the Center of Parent and Youth Understanding has stated that in all his research when he assesses the various issues students are facing today–broken homes, divorce, cutting, illegal drugs, depression, bullying and the like—that pornography is THE issue that we need to set our target on.

 

According to Family Safe, the average age of a kid’s first Internet exposure to pornography is 11. Odds are once a child has seen it, they’ll seek it out. This is supported by the fact that the largest consumers of Internet porn are those between the ages of 12 and 17. Ninety percent of 8- to 16-year-olds have viewed porn online.

 

The sad fact is, many of our kids have no need to seek out porn, because it finds them. (Don’t believe me? Check out: www.kff.org—“Key Facts—Teens Online—Fall 2002”) Seventy percent of teens ages 15-17 report that they have accidentally stumbled upon Internet pornography. One recent study found that 47 percent of school-aged children received porn spam on a daily basis. This study also found that as many as one in five children open the spam they receive. (Symantec survey reveals more than 80 percent of children using e-mail receive inappropriate spam daily,” Business Wire, June 9, 2003.)

 

Allow me to offer a small cup of painful reality …

How many preschoolers have you seen who can navigate an iPad or computer better than their grandparents? Because kids are literally growing up with this technology, parents become inattentive to the possible ramifications. When kids are able to access the Internet when they are alone, without parental supervision and interaction – in their bedrooms, then it’s only a matter of time before they see porn.

 

What they see is only going to get worse. Tim Challies recently shared in a blog post that the pornography industry is suffering. Wait, before you celebrate …

 

Pornography is suffering because of a lower rather than a higher morality. It is not that as a culture we are objecting to pornography on the grounds that it objectifies women or hardens the hearts of men or destroys families or any of the other moral objections. Rather, the culture has decided that it will not pay for what it consumes but will instead take whatever it desires. And even worse, the culture has become so hardened to what used to be shocking, that no allure remains. “Sexual content has gone from scandalous to stale. It’s become the background noise of the culture.” Against the backdrop of all the smut around us, the mainstreaming of what used to be shocking, few consumers can muster outrage at much of anything. (http://www.challies.com/articles/porn-has-no-one-but-itself-to-blame)

 

I’m going to cut the fluff and just unpack a few truths for you regarding what happens when your kids watches porn

  • Watching Porn Decreases Our Sexual Satisfaction.       It trains us to desire the variety and “designer sex” of porn more      than the familiar sexuality of marriage.
  • Watching Porn Disconnects Us from Real      Relationships.  It trains us to detach emotional involvement from      sexual experience.
  • Watching Porn Lowers Our View of Women.  It      trains us to see women as sexual commodities, not people created in God’s      image.
  • Watching Porn Desensitizes Us to Cruelty.       It numbs us to the seriousness of verbal and physical aggression.
  • Watching Porn Makes Us Want to Watch More Porn.       It taps into the neuro-circuitry of our brains, making us desire the      rush of sexual energy from porn again and again.

(Luke Gilkerson of Covenant Eyes has written a very helpful, free e-book called Your Brain on Porn. These 5 points come from him. http://www.covenanteyes.com/brain-ebook/)

 

You know what’s really heartbreaking? For far too long the church and many parents have been silent about the issue of sex. That silence has been misinterpreted by many (including youth) that the Bible (specifically the gospel) has nothing to say on the matter. I probably don’t have to tell you that the silence of the church has been masked by the loud, emphatic, persistent voice of the world proclaiming that sex is about ME!

 

Parents, It’s Time to Speak Up & Take Action

  • Talk about God’s design for all Creation including sexuality. Godly married sexuality is designed to be between a man and wife when the two become one through the covenant of marriage. It’s a gift to be enjoyed and stewarded wisely, and it’s a signpost to Christ and His relationship with the Church.

 

  • Talk about pornography. I’m serious, your kids are going to see the serious, graphic, disturbing distortion of God’s design sooner or later and they need to recognize it as such. Talk about the temptation that pornography is. Tell them that pornography and sex within marriage are completely different things. There is no measure of equality between illegitimate, selfish sex and legitimate sex within marriage.

 

  • For heaven’s sake, don’t tap dance around this. Be a straight shooter and tell them that pornography is WRONG. This is serious. If your kid were in a burning building and you had an opportunity to save him/her, you would do it without hesitation. Likewise, Satan and porn producers have a target in mind and it’s your children! If they can capture the mind of a child, they often have them for a lifetime. (There’s truth in the lyrics of the Sunday school song, “Oh, be careful little eyes what you see.”) You have a responsibility to tell them to church and save them from the snares of the enemy.

 

  •  This next point is a no-brainer. You absolutely must monitor your kids’ use of the computer.  Ideally, your kids should not have computers with online access in their bedrooms. For that matter, none of us should because kids aren’t the only ones who are going to stand on this mountain of temptation. Computers should be set up in high-traffic areas and MUST always have the monitor facing out.

 

  • You will be the keeper of all passwords. Period. End of discussion. If your children are on the Internet, you absolutely must have all of the passwords and you need to frequently get on the computer and check things out. Look at their history. If they are deleting it, you need to be concerned.

Tomorrow … PART 2: When Your Child has Already Seen Porn