ABC recently ran a great but scary piece on porn addiction among teenagers. According to a psychologist who was interviewed, we’re just at the beginning of a pornography epidemic – it will get worse in the next few years. You can view the ABC’s Nightline report here: “Generation XXX: Teens Addicted to Porn?“
As technology advances, access to porn will become easier and easier while avoiding porn will become increasingly difficult. Technology isn’t the enemy, per se, but its the conduit through which the porn is so easily delivered to stoke our sinful desires. If your son/daughter doesn’t have any restrictions on their use of technology (TV viewing, Internet usage, Internet filters, Cell Phone & Smartphones, etc.), I want to encourage you to check out a post I wrote last year: Setting Media Guidelines for your Teenager.
Walt Mueller at the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding has done significant work and has created the “Digital Kids Initiate.” This is an effort to help parents and youth workers understand the digital world teens live so that we could discerningly affirm what we can while correcting what is dangerous. As part of the Digital Kids Initiative, Walt has provided two noteworthy resources:
Here are some nuggets taken from the above resources:
- 93% of boys and 62% of girls are exposed to Internet pornography before the age of 18.
- The average age of first exposure to Internet pornography is 11.
- 30,000 Internet users were accessing pornography every second.sdf
- There were 4.2 million pornographic websites. That equals 12% of all Internet sites.
- 70% of boys have spent more than 30 consecutive minutes looking at online pornography on at least one occasion. 35% of boys have done this on more than ten occasions.
- 23% of girls have spent more than 30 consecutive minutes looking at online pornography on at least one occasion. 14% have done this on more than one occasion.
- The 12-17 year-old age group is the largest consumer of Internet pornography.
- Only 3% of boys and 17% of girls have never seen Internet pornography.
- One poll indicates that 50% of evangelical Christian men and 20% of evangelical Christian women are addicted to pornography.
If you haven’t talked to your teenager about pornography, chances are… you’re already behind! Talk to your kids about porn – yes, it’s uncomfortable and awkward for everyone, but you’re not doing anyone any favors by only talking about things that are easy to discuss! Take the initiative, and don’t just have “the talk” once and then never again, make it a conversation instead.
What should you do if your son/daughter has been looking at porn? Here are Walt’s suggestions (as found on the info sheet linked to above):
- Control your anger.
- Go after their heart, not their behavior.
- Keep a discussion going about biblical sexuality.
- Examine your own heart. Are you living God’s design for your own sexuality?
- Block the doors. Take steps to restrict access and choices, while engaging them in ongoing accountability.
- Don’t let up or give up. Shepherd them forward in their spiritual lives with the goal of heart change.
- Evaluate whether or not outside counseling is necessary or beneficial.