What Parents Need to Know about Pornography
Everyday I wake up and jump into the routine of getting my children ready to go out into the world. I begin by making lunches for my children to take to school. I use 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 put with them some hummus for dip. For a little treat I add some dark chocolate covered pretzels. Then I gently (I don’t want to bruise the strawberries) put all of the food in a BPA-free lunch box.
After tying the children’s close-toed shoes with the orthotics in them and slipping a backpack with hand sanitizer attached to it 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.
The job of a mom and dad is to protect their children from and prepare their children for the dangers in the world. And so everyday we strap on the bike helmet tighter and put knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, ankle guards, and smear any remaining exposed skin with sunblock, in order to keep them safe. Parents do all of this because we love our children and we want with all of our hearts for our children to grow up safely and live happy, successful lives.
But an insidious threat to our children’s happy and successful future has quietly invaded our homes, schools, and even the devices we carry in our hands. Pornography is not only a real physical danger; it is an emotional, mental, and social danger. The plague of pornography that has engulfed our families has long-term destructive consequences. And it is critical that we act with urgency. It must be addressed in our homes, communities, and schools 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. 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. Children are becoming addicts and acting out, sexual harassment lawsuits at schools are on the rise, and the importance of marriage and families in the rising generation are at all time lows.
The battle for our children’s safety and happiness is taking place in a technological world, and their brains are the battleground.
Here are 5 simple truths about pornography that will give you and your children power on that battlefield.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”
- Pornography physically changes and damages the brain. As children look at pornography, there 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.
- Pornography desensitizes and objectifies women causing serious problems in real life relationships. Social science from the United States, Europe, Canada, and Australia, gives us some of the shocking effects of viewing pornography. Here’s just a few: decreased sensitivity toward women- showing more aggression, rudeness and lack of respect toward them; increase risk of becoming sexually abusive to others; decrease desire to marry and have a family; increase risk of cheating on your spouse; increase risk of separation and divorce if you are married; increase risk of being fired from your job.
It is the job of a mom and dad to protect their children and prepare their children to live successful and happy lives. Technology can seem daunting. But the battle for your child’s mind and happiness are raging everyday. Are you going to sit by the sideline and send your child off to battle without being armed? The stakes for losing this battle are too high.
Children of all ages need help to be able to navigate this technological world. For parents, this means learning new technology before you give it to your children. It means having constant and strong conversations with your children about what pornography is, where it is, and the consequences of pornography. 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.
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. If we stay informed and are not afraid to act, we can become families that conquer pornography.
Arizona Family Council