Porn is Looking for Your Kid!

After a recent talk, in which I spoke of the destructive effects of pornography and thus the girls-at-computernecessity for accountability software such as Covenant Eyes, a parent said to me, “my kid’s not into that stuff,” implying that she needn’t purchase the CD’s I was selling nor look into Covenant Eyes.

I said to her what I’ve said to other parents: “It doesn’t matter if you’re kid’s intentionally looking for porn, porn is intentionally looking for him!”

A Growing Epidemic

We are witnessing the beginning of nothing less than an epidemic of porn addiction among teens and even younger children.

Take Nathan for example:

When Nathan started using internet pornography, he found that over time it somehow got less and less exciting. His daily routine soon included hours spent consuming porn, yet he had grown “almost numb to it,” he recalls.

Like many men with addictions, he was discovering that the compulsive use of porn dulls the pleasure receptors of the brain, forcing them to seek ever-greater amounts of stimulation in a desperate quest for sexual satisfaction.

But Nathan was not yet a man. He was just twelve years old.

In today’s wired world, internet porn is everywhere, it’s easy to get, and it’s washing like a wave over every child who can hold an iPhone or log on to a laptop—according to one recent study, by the time they reach eighteen only three percent of boys and seventeen percent of girls will have never laid eyes on it.

And these kids aren’t witnessing the kind of “soft-core” centerfold images that their parents may have stumbled across in a magazine or cable TV twenty years ago; no, they’re filling their heads with explicit, graphic depictions of sexual acts. In fact, according to the same study, which surveyed 563 teenage boys and girls, sixty-five percent had seen depictions of group sex, and twelve percent had seen rape or sexual violence.

This exposure to porn, which in adults causes dependent behaviors, spiritual emptiness, and a diminished ability to love, does additional harm to children by distorting their mental, emotional, and social development.

It’s Not Only Boys

One young woman—for it’s not just boys who are getting hooked on porn—who like Nathan became addicted at the age of twelve, observed, “’I started to isolate myself, because I hated what I was doing. I hated that I couldn’t stop.” A bewildered mother wrote of her eleven-year-old son, whose dependence on internet porn had left him psychologically devastated, “How could my beautiful boy, who could light up a room and my heart with his smile, have turned into this hollow, self-hating shell? What had I done wrong?”

With the threat that pornography use poses to their children only continuing to grow (as technology makes porn access ever easier and as porn becomes destigmatized in mainstream culture), more parents are sharing this mother’s despair.

What Can Be Done?

Today’s world is a different place for children than it was even for an adult generation that grew up trained to be wary of drugs, bullies, and sexual predators on every street corner. Today’s new world poses new threats, and those threats require new strategies to keep children safe. But don’t despair! Effective strategies do exist for protecting your children, even in our sex-saturated society, from the many harms caused by porn.

As someone who first encountered porn at the age of eight (well before the dawn of the internet), I know firsthand the confusion, pain, and destruction it can wreak. I have spent years speaking and writing about the scourge of porn, and have heard countless stories of the damage has done in other people’s lives. There have been many stories of healing and freedom from porn, too—by God’s grace I’m one of them. But it’s better never to have been wounded in the first place.

As a father, then, I focus on prevention, which involves not only shielding kids from harmful influences, but also forming them in a way that equips them to face the dangers and temptations of the online world. It’s no longer enough to ask, “How do we protect our kids from the internet?” We must also ask, “How do we train our kids to be pure in heart?”

Drawing from my experiences, allow me to offer three strategies that you as a parent can implement to cooperate with God’s grace.

8 thoughts on “Porn is Looking for Your Kid!

  1. I got sucked in through the harmless appearing “Playboy” magazine. I progressed to more hardcore, until I eventually starred in porn films. Finally, that was not enough of a thrill anymore, and the only adventure left was death. You can read more about my past at: josephsciambra.com

  2. Its heartbreaking to think that innocent, beautiful kids are being affected by this stuff. And the worst part is, its not their fault. They could be innocently googling something totally unrelated to sex but the creativity of the porn industry will have somehow linked it to sex and the thing the child was googling will come up in a pornographic way. For example, this one time I googled “Disney” because I love Disney movies (and Im not a child, Im in my 20’s) and, becasue I didnt have any filters, I cant describe the filth I found at the top of the page. Whats that internet rule, Rule 38, or something like that? “If it exists, theres porn of it.” And to think, bairns could come across this no problem, especially seeing as how alot of kids are more computer savi than their parents. But Matt, we’ve got to take solace in the example you’ve set, the example of God’s mercy. Yes you ecountered porn at a young age, and yes it had a terrible effect on you for a long time, but look at you now! You’re fantastic, you kick butt for the faith, and we should all be thanking you from the bottom of our hearts.

  3. If we naively think that it could not happen to our children, and yet do not monitor their i phones, laptops and set up safeguards for them we are the ones in denial. God has given us the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our children, sometimes by saying,NO! My son was invited to a movie and pizza for a Saturday birthday, it was rated PG, most of the parents went. He is only 7 yrs old, I said no, honey we will not be able to attend. He did not seem too upset (I was surprised, it wasn’t easy to say no), we spent quailiy time with family instead.
    Don’t be foolish, please guard the hearts of your children. It only gets harder as they get older. My 13 yr old has been asking for an I pad for 2 years, we’ve put boundaries out which include that we can scan it anytime, and he must be respectful or he will not have it. Pray a lot too, this is an evil world we live in. May the Lord bless all of you for trying to guide and parent your child.
    Thanks for listening!

  4. I don’t know how to help/keep safe my 13 y/o son! They’ve given him laptops from school and once we found out what he was looking at-we took it back to the school-now only allowed at school (not in our home). We’ve blocked everything on the home computer in the kitchen. He still seems preoccupied w/sex-he’s in 8th grade and some of his online conversations w/girls he knows at 2am before the computer from school was banned in our home make me ill. He’s been taught purity and chastity since very young. I work at a Crisis Pregnancy Center and we teach abstinence there, also. So he’s been taught this everywhere! We’ve talked to him about how to avoid those temptations and thoughts and he seems to not care. What else can I do? Seriously!-I need advice!

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