Perhaps pornography, more than any other issue of today’s culture, has the greatest chance of bringing down the morals and values of this generation.
Studies tell us that the greatest new users of pornography are twelve- to seventeen-year-old boys. The girls, however, are catching up. All the while, the multi-billion-dollar pornography industry is reaching into the souls of this generation and wreaking havoc. It is so powerful that it can snatch any kid in any house today.
A thirteen-year-old boy at our church was looking for a new baseball glove online. A large sporting-good chain in our area is called Chicks Sporting Goods. We all call it “Chicks” for short. He innocently typed the word “Chicks” into a search engine, thinking he was going to find the store’s new baseball glove collection. What he found were pornography sites, and plenty of them.
His first exposure to porn took him on a journey that caused him to daily, sometimes for hours at a time, look at awful porn. This was a good kid, from a strong family, with high morals, and he just got caught in the maze of porn addiction. When the family found out (they began to suspect something when he was on the computer in the middle of the night and his grades were dropping), they did the right thing and got their son help. However, that young boy will have thousands of vivid images stored in his brain and subconscious.
One of the many problems of viewing pornography is that is that your mind takes a picture of the image. And sadly, millions of young people today have very inappropriate images stored in their minds. Pornography is extremely addicting, and for many it can escalate. Here are the stages of pornography addiction progression:
- Viewing pornography
- Act out sexually
In today’s world, kids cannot help but see very unhealthy sexual images. As youth workers, you can help kids see the negative consequences of viewing pornography.
Information on the effects of porn is very prevalent today. I don’t need to add much more on the subject, especially when you can find great resources if you are looking for this kind of information. Needless to say, pornography is fantasy. Fantasy and pornography are closely related links to sexual addiction. Pornography is a tool for going beyond reality, and, once used, it is difficult to live without. Sadly, sexual addiction among young people is growing, and for many, it becomes a strong obsessive compulsion similar to the intensity of alcohol, drug, and gambling addictions. Sexual addiction breaks families apart, causes people to view the opposite sex as objects, and tears at the very moral fiber of really good people. That’s why as youth workers, we must sound the alarm with our kids about pornography, clearly communicating to them about its dangers.
Further, with relatively little extra effort, you can help your church’s family deal with this issue. From sending an email to parents with information about the dangers of pornography to encouraging them to set clear boundaries at home related to computer use (such as not allowing kids to have Internet access in their bedrooms), you can be your church’s key resource person to parents as they try to help their kids navigate the pornography issue.
The days are over when pornography was confined to a dark section of town at XXX-rated movie theatres. Pornography is distributed through what was once safe channels, like cable TV, bookstores, phones, and of course, the Internet. As youth workers, we must be intentional to counter this influence with love, example, and instruction. Otherwise, someone else will teach our children about pornography, and the visual aids they might use may be so enticing that they lure our kids into a fantasy world full of guilt, shame, and remorse. Pornography is not safe, and we can’t assume our kids will never be tempted. Being proactive but not “preachy” or panicked is the best way for helping the students we serve. As the Scripture says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
Excerpted and adapted from Teaching Your Children Healthy Sexuality by Jim Burns.
Jim Burns, Ph.D.,
is President of HomeWord
and host of HomeWord’s daily radio broadcasts. Each weekday in cities across America, over a million
people hear Jim through his radio ministry to families. His passion is communicating to adults and
young people practical truths to help them live out their Christian lives. Jim is a three time Gold
Medallion Award winning author and has written books for parents, youth workers, and students. His
recent books include Confident
Teaching Your Children Healthy Sexuality
The 10 Building Blocks
for a Happy Family
. He speaks in-person to thousands of people each year around the world with
a message of hope for families. Jim and his wife, Cathy, and their daughters Christy, Rebecca,
and Heidi, live in Southern California.
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