Wise parents and other adults will strengthen their families, communities, and nations by protecting the rising generation from the effects of pornography. Since pornography is all around us and can be brought right into our homes over the Internet, we must take action against it. The best defense against pornography is much like defending against other enemies: go on the offense.
How pervasive is pornography? The Daily Mail reported that “entire classes of young teenage boys have watched it.” The Mail reported that “unpublished research into access to pornography among children” discovered more children involved with pornography than previously thought. The research showed “that every boy and half the girls in a year nine group of 14-year-olds had accessed pornography.” Even children as young as 11 years old are known to “actively” search for pornography.
What were the results of the research? “Some boys now felt they had an `absolute entitlement to have sex with girls, any time, any place, anywhere, with whomsoever they wished.’” Is there any surprise then to have “15 children a day … excluded from schools for sexual misconduct”?
Conservative MP Claire Perry said on Bringing Up Britain that “parents should tell other parents about the problems of children watching pornography.” She added: “We have commissioned research into young people’s understanding of consent…. It raises very serious questions about whether boys in particular have any understanding of the concept of consent.”
Why does no one seem to be panicking about what should be considered to be a “public health issue” just like lice or a contagious disease? Parents may be too ashamed to share the activities of their own children with other parents or to even talk about it with their own children. We should all be concerned because there are some reports that connect the odds of becoming addicted to pornography with the age when it is first viewed. Do we really want a nation of pornography addicts? I think not.
Patrick Trueman, former chief of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Criminal Division, was the keynote speaker at a conference in Utah in June 2010. He said, “We have in America today a crisis of pornography.” He also spoke about the $97 billion pornography industry and how it has “addicted men, women, and even children across America” and destroyed “marriages, families, and lives.”
How does pornography do such damage? It “hijacks the brain by fueling dopamine production, which provides excitement, but no endorphins are emitted to help the brain feel satisfied. … This cycle leads users to fall deeper and deeper into their addiction as they seek a satisfaction that will never come.”
Addiction to pornography at young ages can prevent the development of normal sexual relationships as adults. Males push for more violent sex, and females simply grow more angry towards men and about sex. Neither of these results is conducive to happy marriages.
April Perry at a blog entitled Motherhood Matters suggested that parents take an active role in teaching their children about pornography. Since we cannot truly trust the Internet filter, we must activate a better defense – their own conscience. Making children consciously aware of the evil of pornography will assist them to avoid watching it and sharing it with others.
Perry suggests that “simply teaching a little girl about modesty is a great foundation against pornography in the long run. When we are teaching kids, we’ve got to go back to the basics: (1) Build trust [with children when they are young, the teens may be too late]…. (2) Talk about everything [have an “open-door policy” and be shocked in private]…. (3) Teach them to respect others…. At its core, pornography is about disrespect [and] turns men and women into two-dimensional objects to be lusted after…. (4) Instill modesty….” Perry encourages parents to teach the “why” as well as the “what” of modesty and respect for self and others.
As a means of education, Nate Pyle, a pastor for Christ’s Community Church in Fishers, Indiana, wrote an interesting essay for his blog entitled “From One Degree to Another.” He wrote about a conversation he will have with his son one day about how to really see women. “A woman’s body is beautiful and wonderful and mysterious. Respect it by respecting her as an individual with hopes and dreams and experiences and emotions and longings….
“I’m not telling you to not look at women. Just the opposite. I’m telling you to see women. Really see them. Not just with your eyes but with your heart. Don’t look to see something that tickles your senses, but see a human being.
“My hope is that changing how you see women will change how you are around them….”
Recognizing the problems caused by pornography, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints created a web site entitled “Overcoming Pornography through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.” “The Lord Jesus Christ makes it possible for us to overcome all things. No matter our circumstances, He asks us to trust that He is the way. In this site, you will be reminded of the power of Jesus Christ and His Atonement as you discover practical guidance and resources for individuals, families, and leaders seeking healing, forgiveness, protection, and power in overcoming pornography.”
We must engage in battle against pornography. We can do this best by teaching children the proper way to deal with pornography; we can strengthen them emotionally and spiritually and thus enable them to avoid it. Such teaching may also protect our children from pedophiles who are addicted to pornography. When we strengthen the rising generation, we strengthen families, communities, and nations.