What Parents Need to Know about Pornography

By Jill Geigle

Everyday I wake up and jump into the routine of getting my children ready to go out into the world.  I begin by making school lunches. I start with organic peanut butter on 100% whole wheat bread with all fruit preserves. I wash the organic strawberries. I grab a handful of whole grain pita chips, baked not fried, and include some hummus for dip. For a treat I add some dark chocolate covered pretzels. Then, gently—I don’t want to bruise the strawberries—I put all of the food in a BPA-free lunch box.

After tying the children’s close-toed shoes with orthotics in them and slipping a backpack, hand sanitizer attached, on each child, we head to the car.  Then every child is snuggly buckled into the appropriate buckle. Or booster seat. Or five-point car seat.

Parents have been called by God to protect their children from the dangers of this world.  So every day we strap on the bike helmet tighter and put on those knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, ankle guards. We smear any remaining exposed skin with sunblock. Moms and dads do all this because we love our children and want them to grow up safely and live happy, successful lives.

An Insidious Threat

But an insidious threat to our children’s future has invaded our homes, schools, and even the electronic devices we carry with us everywhere. Pornography! It’s so easily accessible. Everywhere.

Pornography presents physical danger, as well as emotional, mental, and spiritual dangers.  The plague of pornography that has engulfed our families is urgent and critical.  It must be addressed in our homes, communities, schools, and churches if our children are going to grow up safely and live happy and successful lives.

In the past, pornography was viewed as a bad, embarrassing habit, but something that really didn’t hurt the viewer or others around them.  Boys will be boys, right?

Now mental, medical, and social science have proven those attitudes are dangerously wrong.  And we are reaping consequences all around.  Families are crumbling.  Divorce rates are high and the new generation’s interest in marriage and family is low.  Young people are moving away from God at alarming rates.

The battle for our children’s safety and happiness is taking place in a technological world, and their brains are the battleground.

The time has come for parents to strap their children into another kind of protective gear.   This gear is described by Paul in Ephesians 6,

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

When our children are armed with truth and righteousness, they are ready to conquer the battle of pornography.

Here are 5 simple truths about pornography that will give you and your children power on the battlefield.

  1. Pornography is everywhere– posters in the mall, commercials on TV, mainstream TV shows, music videos, cable, video games, movies, books, magazines, schools, churches, homes, and even in the devices we let our children carry in their hands.  In fact, there is so much pornography that if a young child began looking at a new pornographic web page every 10 seconds, he would be almost 200 years old before he would finish looking at all of them.
  2. Pornography is available to everyone and targeted especially to children.
    The multi-billion dollar pornography industry uses every tactic it can to trick, lure, and trap children into looking at pornography.  Pop-up windows, web addresses that are closely linked to popular child websites, elicit cartoon and video games, advertising on game sites, are just a few ways that they are directly targeting your child.  The average age a child sees pornography is 11 years old, and that is a conservative estimate.  There is almost no barrier between a child and pornography.  If a child can tap a screen or click a mouse, she can access vile and dangerous content.
  3. Pornography is as addictive as a hard drug and harder to quit.
    University of Pennsylvania Mental Heath Department says: “Porn is one of the most concerning things to the psychological health of the human being existing today.  Pornography addicts have a more difficult time recovering from their addiction than cocaine addicts since coke users can get the drug out of their system but pornographic images stay in your brain forever… The internet is a perfect delivery system because you are anonymous, aroused, and have role models for these behaviors.   Thus it’s the perfect delivery system if you want to have a whole generation of young addicts who will never get the drug out of their mind.”
  4. Pornography physically changes and damages the brain.
    As children look at pornography, their brains create and release chemicals that give them the same kind of high as a drug.  The behavior is rewarded on a chemical level, causing them to want more, even though they instinctively know that it is not good for them.  Pathways in the brain are formed and cemented due to the powerful emotional and physical reaction to pornography.  As the addiction progresses, the frontal lobe of the brain shrinks.  The child then has damaged the reasoning, cautionary, and stabilizing part of the brain.  Pornography literally changes the structure of the brain and affects a child’s ability to reason.
  5. Pornography desensitizes and objectifies women causing serious problems in real life relationships.
    Social science from the United States, Europe, Canada, and Australia, give us some of the shocking effects of viewing pornography.  Here are just a few:  decreased sensitivity toward women– showing more aggression towards them, rudeness and lack of respect toward them; increased risk of becoming sexually abusive to others; decreased desire to marry and have a family; increased risk of cheating on your spouse; increased risk of separation and divorce if you are married; increased risk of being fired from your job.

Technology can seem daunting sometimes.  But the battle for your child’s mind and spirit is raging everyday.  Are you going to sit by the side and send your child off to battle without being armed?

Remember Gideon, a man who was called by God (much like a parent) to lead an army into battle. The Lord wanted to show His might and power through Gideon and his army, so he told Gideon to make his army smaller by sending those soldiers who were afraid home.  22,000 soldiers left.  Then God put the remaining 10,000 to a test.  He instructed Gideon to take them to the river to get a drink.  Any soldier that bent down and drank the water like a dog was sent home.  Any soldier that bowed on his knees to drink was sent home.  But those soldiers who remained completely alert and aware of their surrounding at all times, by bringing the water up to their mouths, were the 300 soldiers the Lord used to win the battle.

Being “completely alert” as a parent in the digital age takes effort and time and energy.  It means learning new technology before you give it to your children.  It means having constant and strong conversations about what pornography is, where it is, and the consequences of pornography with our children.  It means checking and rechecking social media, texts, and images your kids are sending and receiving.  It means reading, learning, and making a plan with your children about what to do when they see pornography, because it isn’t if, it is when.  It means finding parental control software and using it on your computers and mobile devices.  It means taking computers, smart phones, TVs, video games out of bedrooms. It means all of these things and more.  God will tell you what “more” means to you and your children as you pray and diligently try to help them put on the whole armor of God.  Remember, those who were completely alert, won the battle.

All of this might seem overwhelming, but remember, we are the parents that conquered pesticides, high fructose corn syrup, and BPA in plastic.  We know the right SPF level of sunscreen for each child; even our pets are hypo-allergenic.  And with God’s help, we can become families that conquer pornography!

(Note from Gary: I met Jill recently at Liberty Market for a cup of coffee. She and one of her colleagues wanted to talk to me about her passion for purity. When we first said hello, she reminded me that we had met. When she was in middle school! She played on Kino Junior High’s championship volleyball team—with my daughter Shari!}

1 J.C. Manning, What’s the Big Deal about Pornography? p. 20
2 http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2004/11/65772/
3 D. L. Hilton Jr., He Restoreth My Soul, 49-72
4 J.C. Manning, What’s the Big Deal about Pornography?  p. 39-41
5 Bible, King James Version, Judges 7

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