With the Internet being so prevalent and widely available all over the world, it has made viewing pornography much easier than in the past.
Pornography is everywhere. Statistics leave our heads spinning about how many pornographic sites are on the Web today, how many new porn sites go live every day, and how huge, powerful, and pervasive the pornographic video industry is. According to statistics, about 12% of the internet is pornographic websites and about 42% of internet users view porn.
The revenue of the pornography industry is said to be larger than the revenues of the top technology companies combined and porn is only a click away. If you want it, you can find it quicker than quick. Even when you are not looking for it, it sometimes pops up on its own.
These days, more and more younger people are becoming, often accidentally, exposed to pornography as a large percentage of young people are very Internet savvy.
With the advent of the Internet, parents are finding it increasingly difficult to shield their children from pornography. Now, in addition to the exposure kids might encounter from classmates who “borrowed” one of their father’s magazines, most school-age children and adolescents are spending large amounts of time online for homework or for entertainment.
The problems of teenage pornography and sex addictions are real, devastating, and increasing. When faced with their teen’s struggle, most parents don’t know where to begin to get their child the help he or she needs.
No healthy parent wants to think about his child viewing pornography, but it often happens. Some researchers have stated that the average age of exposure to pornography is down to eight. Before the days of the Internet, children were typically between the ages of eleven to thirteen when they began by viewing soft-core pornography found in magazines like Playboy. Statistics show that 93% of boys and 62% of girls are exposed to Internet porn before the age of18.
It is also extremely important that parents not direct all their efforts toward their sons at the expense of their daughters. Pornography and other sexualized media can adversely affect girls as well as boys and often leads to significant damage in their ability to form healthy relationships later as an adult.
Effects Of Porn
Porn is dangerous to the core. It sucks every bit of truth, contentment, honesty, character, loyalty, and reality out of the mind and soul of the one plugging into it.
Porn leaves people feeling hopeless, guilty, and ashamed. The people who struggle with addiction to porn are not only oddball, sadistic, perverted teens but also every day, honor-roll, churchgoing, love-their-parents, striving-to-live-for-Jesus teens.
Porn changes a teens view of the opposite sex as he or she eventually stops seeing people as God sees them and begin seeing them merely as a means by which desires can be fulfilled. Pornography turns other people into objects of lust.
If your teen dates, typically it will only be a matter of time before he or she becomes more physical with the dating partner. The fantasy world being downloaded into his or her mind will fight to turn itself into reality by encouraging your teen to use people to fulfill personal lusts. And as your son or daughter tries to act out the sexual behaviors seen online, the perceived need for self-gratification will damage not only your teen’s relationships during the dating years but also his or her relationship with a future mate.
As more and more children are exposed not only to soft-core pornography, but also to explicit deviant sexual material, they are learning an extremely dangerous message from pornographers: Sex without responsibility is acceptable and desirable. Because pornography encourages sexual expression without responsibility, it endangers children’s health.
Exposure to Pornography May Incite Children to Act Out Sexually against Other Children. Children often imitate what they’ve seen, read, or heard. Studies suggest that exposure to pornography can prompt kids to act out sexually against younger, smaller, and more vulnerable children. Experts in the field of childhood sexual abuse report that any premature sexual activity in children always suggests two possible stimulants: experience and exposure. This means that the sexually deviant child may have been molested or simply exposed to sexuality through pornography
Exposure to Pornography Shapes Attitudes and Values: Most of us caring, responsible parents want to instill in our children our own personal values about relationships, sex, intimacy, love, and marriage. Unfortunately, the powerful irresponsible messages of pornography may be educating our children on these very important life issues. Just as thirty-second commercials can influence whether or not we choose one popular soft drink over another, exposure to pornography shapes our attitudes and values and, often, our behavior.
How Do Protect/Help My Teen
If your teen is struggling with porn, he or she will need your help. As a parent, it’s difficult to protect your children from all of life’s harms, but there are definitely ways in which you can prevent your child from becoming a victim of the Internet porn industry.
Parents need to realize that their teen is likely suffering from extreme shame and embarrassment. Authoritarian dictates are not likely to encourage your child to open up and share the extent of his or her struggles. Compassionate love and understanding, such as Jesus demonstrated to the woman caught in adultery, is likely to help your child feel safe enough to disclose the full story.
- One of the best preventative steps is simply not allowing your child access to a computer or Internet-enabled device in a private setting. Computers in their bedrooms should be a definite no-no. Any Internet that your child accesses at home should be in a very public room, like the family living room.
- You can also install software that will block all the pornographic websites and only allow the appropriate websites to be viewed. Another thing that you can do is to set your internet setting to a high security. This will lower the amount of potential adult pop ups that pornographic sites use to entice people to visit their sites.
- Talk with your child and get to the Facts straight. Many parents talk about porn and sexuality with their teen but do it only indirectly. Don’t dance around the issue. Get right to the point. Be specific. Share with your teen the effects porn will have on his or her life. Even if you do not suspect your teen is involved in porn, don’t wait to have such a talk. Remember, if your teen spends time online, it is inevitable that at some point he or she will be exposed to the raw, filthy, multibillion-dollar-a-year business of porn.
- Let your teen know you love him or her but hate the Sin. Your teen needs to know that, though you disagree with his or her actions, your ultimate desire is to help your child defeat this addiction and be restored to a pure life.
- Realize That a Promise Isn’t Enough: For a teen struggling with porn, a promise to change isn’t enough. You need to help your teen make the promise a reality.
- Develop a Strategy for the Future: It is unrealistic to think that just because you remove sources of temptation from the home, your teen will never again be tempted to use porn. So it’s important for you to develop a strategy for your teen, while both inside and outside the home, to help him or her avoid repeating an addictive behavior.
- Establishing a routine. Your teen needs to see the importance of a disciplined, routine schedule. The key here is not to isolate your teen from his daily activities, hobbies, and interests completely. But setting boundaries on what he or she can do will help your teen develop a greater sense of security. Work to help your teen’s schedule stay full enough so that his or her mind remains occupied. Chores, sports, a part-time job, volunteering, and more can be helpful outlets.
- Approving friendships. One teen told me that his mom and dad found out he was checking out porn at home, so they removed the computer from his room. Then he started checking it out at his best friend’s house. Remember, your teen’s friends play a huge role in his or her decision making. Choosing friends who are in line with God’s will for your teen’s life is a critical step to overcoming the temptations to check out porn.
- Establishing goals. Develop a set of goals your teen strives to achieve. As he or she proves trustworthy, the teen will then be granted more freedom. Use this as an encouragement to help your teen see progress.
- If you are a Christian get Your Teen into the Word. A key to killing the addiction to porn in the heart and mind of your teen rests in the teen’s own commitment to consistently spend time in God’s Word. Continually encourage your teen to spend time with God, praying and reading the Bible.
- You also need to pray Like Crazy: The greatest strategy that you can implement to protect your teen from Satan’s lies about pornography (and everything else the Enemy throws at him or her) is prayer.
A final Word
If we really believe that sin is a powerful barrier between our child and God, we will move past a mere “sin management” approach to mentor them into a loving relationship with us and, more importantly, with God. Wherever pornography or sexual sin is found, whether in the lives of our children or in our own, we can surrender ourselves and those we love to the greater care and compassion of our Father. His purity remains and cleanses us.