When Earmuffs Aren’t Enough – Protecting Young Eyes and Hearts from Porn

We’ve all done “earmuffs” when we needed to protect our children from swear words, discussions they are not developmentally ready for, etc. but aside from all of the things they will hear, we need to protect their eyes from the things they will see, most likely in private. Let’s cut to the chase and talk statistics:

According to Covenant Eyes

  • A 2018 study revealed that 57% of teens search out porn at least monthly.
  • 51% of male students and 32% of female studentsfirst viewed porn before their teenage years. [Take note, this is before their teenage years.] Age 12 is the average for males.
  • 90% of teensand 96% of young adults are either encouraging, accepting, or neutral when they talk about porn with their friends.

According to Lifeway Research

  • Traffic to the largest pornography site increased by 22.6% in the U.S. after the company offered a month of free porn through their premium service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are hundreds of resources for statistics about pornography for all ages, but today we focus on our young ones for a couple of reasons. Firstly, access to free porn means that porn is accessible on hundreds of websites and platforms, free of charge to kids who have easy access to screens. Secondly, access to free porn is contributing to the porn addiction crisis in the United States and around the world. Early intervention is key – helping kids and teens understand the dangers of porn on the screen can protect their hearts, their psychology, and their relationships for years to come. Here are a few reasons we should stop normalizing porn for children and teens:

  1. Porn dangerously becomes sex education. In 2016, an article in the New York Times was published titled: “When Did Porn Become Sex Ed?” As you might guess, the op ed article outlines the way people have been using porn as a way to answer questions and curiosities about sex. Particularly as the age of initial sexual encounters and activity becomes younger and younger, we must consider where children are getting education about sex. And because of porn, statistics show that children (31% of teenage girls) are engaging in sexual acts prior to even kissing another person. Girls are also more likely to use porn as an instruction manual for sexual activity. The hardcore nature of some porn is changing the way that individuals understand sex to be, which brings us to the next point.
  2. Porn is a misrepresentation of sex. Hardcore porn is an exaggerated representation of sex. Very often, it portrays aggression and violence, which has increased among teens engaging in sexual activity. Much of what is portrayed in hardcore porn, which again, is often free of charge, shows violence and nonconsensual encounters. Even more, children are being exploited as performers in free porn, normalizing the sexualization of minors traumatizing them along the way. Viewing porn makes children vulnerable to exploitation and abusive relationships in the future.
  3. Porn affects the brain, mental health and relationships. Have you ever heard of “neuroplasticity?” It’s the brain’s incredible way of changing and adapting in order to grow, learn new things, re-wire, and recover from difficult experiences. However, the double-edged sword is that neuroplasticity makes it also possible for porn to affect the brain. When the brain seeks intimacy and pleasure and finds it in porn instead of relationships in the appropriate context, it becomes wired to receive that pleasure only through porn – a quick, easy, often free source. Therefore, human connection diminishes and fails to satisfy as much as the images on a screen. What do you think this does to marriages? The ability to empathize with others? The scramble to fulfill the pleasure centers of the brain as often as possible? Regular porn users are more likely to be lonely, which also leads to depression.

2 Timothy 2:22 warns us to “flee also youthful lusts” – what do you picture when you hear the word “flee?” To me, it is to run as fast as possible in the other direction. Take a look at surrounding verses in this passage. The warning to flee is so that we can be “prepared to do any good work” that God has set before us. Let’s prepare our young ones for holiness, for the future of abundance before them by educating them.

If you need help with a porn addiction or with speaking to your kids about the dangers of porn, contact a therapist at our practice. Below are also some resources that can help – you don’t have to be alone in this fight!

-Mary Shea – https://surehopecounseling.com/mary-moussa-shea-child-therapy/

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Here are some great resources to address porn and sexuality and child sexual abuse:

Young Children:

God Made All of Me by Justin S. Holcomb and Lindsey A. Holcomb

Preteens & Teens:

Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids by Kristen A. Jenson

www.fightthenewdrug.com

 

For Parents

www.fightthenewdrug.com

https://www.covenanteyes.com/

https://www.defendyoungminds.com/