Thursday, November 15, 2012

Your Kids Have Seen Pornography. . . . So What??? . . .

It seems like a day doesn't go by without the news featuring some kind of story related to the dark side of the Internet and social media. This week, it's the unfolding saga of government officials and socialites. That's the big story. Thousands and thousands of "little" stories never make the news, but they sure make our lives miserable when they hit close to home.

One incredibly dark side of life in today's tech-saturated world is pornography. We've been examining the issue here at CPYU with some intensity for the last few months. It is incredibly dark. . . perhaps more dark than any of us care to know or imagine.

As I've examined this pervasive and magnetic cultural force I've come to the conclusion that when it comes to kids and pornography, it's a matter of when not if.  It's not at all unreasonable to assume that your middle school or high school-aged teen has seen, sought out, or developed a dangerous and destructive relationship with pornography. That's why one week ago today, we held a live webinar on "Pornography and Your Kids: What You Need to Know and What You Need to Do." That's why this weekend at the National Youthworkers Convention in Dallas I will be speaking on "Growing Up In a Porn Is The Norm World." Again, this is one of those topics I wish we never had to talk about. . . but we do.

Let's be realistic here. . . when it comes to what our kids are doing with pornography today, there will be long-lasting fall-out tomorrow. I talk about that in the webinar. Several people have asked me if I've got an opinion on what the future of pornography holds. In other words, if the world of pornography and what the world of pornography does to change the world is evident in what's happened over the last 30 or so years, what can we expect to see 30 years from now. . . or less? Here are some thoughts:

1. We will see increased frequency and widespread exposure to pornography at younger and younger ages. That's what's called age compression. We know that pornography is already finding five and six-year-olds. That trend is only going to ramp up to the point where rare is the elementary-aged kid who hasn't seen it.

2. Pornography's envelope will stretched to the extremes. There's a growing market for pornography. That  growing market is creating a need for more extreme types of pornography. We're not talking here about naked women. We're talking about even more horrifying and even criminal stuff that at it's most extreme level, depicts and includes children.

3. Like a drug habit, desensitization occurs, creating a need for more frequent and higher doses. Pornography addiction will be off the charts.

4. As pornography moves into the mainstream, it will be increasingly accepted, tolerated, and even celebrated. The use of pornography will become a right - maybe even a virtue - that is nothing more or less than a matter of personal preference and taste. Gone will be our societal ability to label it as wrong.

5. There will be a normalization of depicted behaviors and practices. What one sees is what one will do. This is called social norming. Perhaps this is the most horrifying expectation imaginable.

Now is the time to understand, examine, and address the problem of pornography. We need to be prophetic, preventive and redemptive in our approach. I want to encourage every individual, every parent, every youthworker, and every church to take steps to deal with pornography. A good place to begin is with our webinar - "Pornography and Your Kids: What You Need to Know and What You Need to Do" - which is now available on DVD. You can order it here.

We can't take a "so what???" attitude.


Anonymous said...

I am a 20 year old male without any children. And yes, I enjoy watching pornography. The only thing that I will tell my children about pornography is that it is an unrealistic representation of sex. The people in porn are paid actors and actresses, much like in a normal movie. I don't agree with your 2nd point about porn going so far as to include children, which is just wrong. Again, people in porn are actors and actresses and there's nothing with watching or making it. The only porn that needs to be stopped is child pornography and underground porn that isn't monitored or has an industry behind it.

Scott said...

Yay Jesus!

Sara Patterson said...

(to the anonymous commenter)

I just wanted to point out that it IS true that children are being involved. There are many stories of men and women being caught online by trying to have sex with an underage teen (which is a child) and then, sadly, there is still SO much human trafficking going on in the world. Parents sell their children as young as 5-7years old to be sex slaves (which some are forced to do porn videos).

Yes, its wrong. But so is porn in general. Just like sin is sin, any age in a porno is completely wrong. Age doesnt justify a persons sexual immoralityl. Just because its wrong doesnt mean it does not happen :( Although, it makes us feel better to think that...

Anonymous said...

I believe that Sara is right. Quite a few of 'porn stars' are women made to look like underage teens. This is a very large genre of porn. If this is so popular, what is to define the line that child porn is wrong, and adult porn is right? Just because you are 18 years old, doesn't mean you are right to make porn. Who knows how old any of the 'actors/actresses' are. Who knows is someone is forcing them to do it? Who knows if the tape on the internet was put by someone who didn't consent to the tape even being seen?
It also creates an unrealistic view of sex for many young people. Sex should be made of love, not of how dirty you can make it. People seem to be increasingly looking for the even dirtier videos and the people that watch them eventually get bored so the porn industry ups the stuff happening in the videos.
I want to remind you of how you might feel if it was your daughter 'starring' in such videos, how would you feel? Proud? Most parents would not be.

Anonymous said...

(same guy as first comment) Sara, I know that children are forced into pornography, and I think that that should be cracked down upon. Porn is a huge industry that is regulated, and it is not wrong. It is actors and actresses performing in front of a camera. The only "wrong" porn is child porn, and pornography that is underground with no industry behind it.

Anonymous said...

Wow...rationalization at this level is scary. Once your kids start acting it out with their teenage b/f g/f, you might rethink it being just harmless actors acting it out. Do you really think it is God's vision?

Thomidog said...

My child is only 10 and until a few months ago was completely innocent. He loves soccer and so has played soccer at lunchtime at school this year. One of the boys in the soccer group has played Xbox for some time and started insulting my son in terms he didn't understand. He became obsessed with Halo Reach on Xbox (the only game I'd let him have other than FIFA 12) and with mastering the trash talk and pornographic insults found there. I took him to a psychologist to get help in cutting down his gaming, and he restricted him to 6 hours a week. He complained bitterly that half the time, the games would drop out before they were finished so that by the time he had to get off, he still hadn't had a decent game. He wanted a new modem so at least he could access complete games. So in trying to reduce his Xbox time I bought him a new modem. Every time he wasn't on Xbox, he hopped on the pc to watch his Minecraft videos. Within 3 weeks the teachers had rung me saying "The wheels have fallen off... he's aggressive in class, aggressive with the girls, teary, something's going on." I went home and checked his use and to my horror he'd viewed not dozens but hundreds of porn sites and video clips. I couldn't believe what he'd seen, just so extreme, I had no idea this stuff was out there. It's been a huge shock.

Somehow the old modem must have had settings on it which gave a level of protection even when Net Nanny was turned off - which it frequently was because it would otherwise block videos he's allowed to watch. I still haven't found a filter which is sophisticated enough to let him watch his slightly saucy comedy vids while protecting him from the really evil stuff. I've tried all manner of things and the filters are simply too difficult to make work. I'm relying now on Norton Security which seems to block most stuff, maybe because it's all associated with malware; and Google Chrome, but half the time even Chrome either blocks innocuous things or lets inappropriate stuff through. It's a nightmare. A few days ago after 10 hours trying different things my 10 said "Having fun, Mum?" I replied "Well what do other people do?" and he said "They give up, because it's too difficult. The filters don't work." And he's right - I have time to sit here trying all kinds of different configurations but the average parent doesn't. So even if I can protect my kid, I can't stop him associating with others who've viewed horrendous stuff. I sincerely fear for the future of our society.