It is 2022; a year when information is king, and thanks to the Internet, kids can find the answer to almost any question with the click of a button. (Just think: they don’t have to scour dozens of books just to write a research paper!) While the Internet provides some pretty handy information, it also poses some pretty serious threats to our kids’ wellbeing. With that, I want to share some information about what seems to be the hardest topic to talk about: pornography.
The Sad Reality
As we all know, what used to be something you could only access as an adult at a particular store is now available to virtually every child and individual that has a phone, tablet, computer, or video game console. Accessible at literally a click of a button (and I mean literally) your child has the biggest cesspool of pornography ever in the history of the world at their fingertips.
That doesn’t include TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Netflix, HBO, Crunchyroll, WhatsApp, etc. (Yes, I have managed to view pornography in one form or another on all of these apps.) Between apps, websites, and games, your child can see it all within minutes. and the reality is, they probably have.
My Own Experience
I have struggled with pornography since I was 12 years old. That being said, I urge you to read on, as I feel that what I have to share might save you and your family decades of heartache, tears, and confusion.
Now, I was a lousy college student, but I specifically chose to study psychology to understand pornography and its addictive nature in relation to the brain.
I’ve poured over countless articles, books, and podcasts just about pornography alone. As a religious young man, I wanted to understand why I kept indulging in something I knew was not right, and was very well destroying my brain as well as my future. In this article, I will share the things I have learned about pornography and how those facts have influenced my own experience with pornography.
From the books I have read to the articles I have scoured, I have learned that pornography isn’t a small problem among kids and adults alike. In fact, 46 million US adults regularly access porn sites, while 93% of boys and 62% of girls are exposed to porn before the age of 18.
My personal experiences have helped confirm the veracity of these statistics. For instance, I have yet to speak to one young man (who was willing to confide in me) that does not struggle with pornography. Not one. The colleague of a friend of mine wanted to conduct a study here in Utah about the effects of porn on a man’s day-to-day living compared to men that do not view porn. They never completed the study because they could not find one volunteer, in-person or online, who said they did not view pornography. Let that sink in.
What Parents Should Know
We’ve all heard general statistics and facts about pornography use, but it’s different when it comes to our own kids. So what should parents know about their child and pornography use?
Though it might be hard to accept, it is more than likely that your child has been exposed to pornography, whether purposely or accidentally.
If your child knows how to operate a smartphone, TV, or computer, and they have been alone with these devices, they have already been exposed to the most pervasive drug and disease known to man. But don’t worry—this does not necessarily mean they’re hooked. The first time I saw pornography, I was only eight years old. I didn’t become addicted until I was 12 years old.
That was back in 2003. It is now 2022 and the cunning and tactful distributors of sex and pornography have exponentially extended their reach toward future customers of all ages and genders. My curiosity started with a magazine; your child’s curiosity may begin with YouTube, TikTok, or even a harmless cartoon show. But if you are open and honest with your child early on, and encourage them to come to you if they are exposed to anything pornographic, you can help prevent their first exposure from leading to frequent use or addiction.
Another word of caution: every major porn site online makes it easy for anyone to view their content. That means children can access the most vile and hard-core pornography out there.
All those money-hoarding companies ever do is display a“verify you are 18 years or older” window before their site, and with a click of a button, your child is “18 years or older.” The porn sites get more monthly traffic than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined. These sites are part of a $100 billion industry (with as much as $20 billion of that revenue coming from the United States).
What Can We Do?
The sites and companies distributing pornographic materialonly care about how much money they make. Unfortunately, Internet filters and “the talk” aren’t enough to defend your children from these home-wreckers.
Ultimately, the only thing that can keep your children from falling victim to pornography is their own free will. As we have established, every child will be exposed to pornographic material at one point or another, but the choice of the child to look away when he or she is exposed is what counts.
This willpower can only develop through the help of open, vulnerable, and loving parents who teach their kids about why of pornography is so harmful, and what the devastating effects and consequences of it are. Your child is bombarded with pornographic material every day—help prepare them for this sad reality by discussing what they should do when they are exposed, and letting them know that you will never be upset with or ashamed of them for confiding in you about their struggles with pornography.
If you learn that your child has or is struggling with pornography, remember: hope is not lost. Although it’s a difficult issue, you can help your child overcome their addiction. Make sure your child knows that they have your full love and support, and encourage them in seeking out professional help if necessary. As you work together, you can help your children avoid and overcome the dangers of pornography.