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In protecting our kids from pornography, we need to know the why and the how. The why seems obvious, but I think that there are more parents than we realize that don’t understand why keeping kids, especially teen boys, from pornography is so important. It’s normal, right, for teens to be curious? We know they are…we’ve all been one. The thing is, though, is that pornography isn’t normal. It’s not real life or real relationships or real sex. Not only does it create a false understanding of relationships and sex, but it also releases chemicals and hormones that lead to addiction that without intervention cannot be broken.
The Why in a real life example:
Let me share a story with you. Meet Rachel, my sweet friend, a woman sharing her story of addiction to pornography as a young teen. It’s true; girls struggle. It’s a real battle that many people of all ages face.
I grew up in church, so I really never knew any differently. This was a good thing in some ways and in others not such a good thing.
When I was in 7th grade, I began leading worship in my youth group. Growing up in church all my life, I could answer any of your evangelical questions with ease. But, inwardly there was a war raging that only I knew about.
My 8th grade year, I became addicted to pornography. What began as an accident, proceeded to consume my whole life. I was stuck in a cycle of depression, alleviation and guilt which lead back to depression, alleviation and guilt. Falling for a lie, I began to believe that I was in control and could stop whenever I wanted…the response of most all addicts.
As this was going on, I was on stage every week like nothing was wrong. I felt like if I shared what was going on, people would not understand and would not want me to lead worship anymore. This was a valid concern, but what was more concerning was that I did not know the love and forgiveness of Christ, which was evident in my response. But everyone believed I did. I was a leader; I was supposed to have it all together and stuff. Yeah, I didn’t.
In the spring of my 9th grade year, 2007, I finally cracked. It was too much for me to suppress anymore and I became visibly depressed. My parents took me to counseling.
…put back together
Very long story shorter, I did not admit my struggles until that year when I was on a mission trip to Moldova. My youth pastor at the time confronted me and asked what was going on. I told him and heard the first words of hope in the midst of all the darkness. “Rachel, I can help you! You can overcome this in Christ!”
After the mission trip I went to camp, and many people prayed over me. I began to hear and feel God calling me to Himself. Everything came to a climax on vacation with my family that summer in Key West. One night on the balcony there, I lost it. And I cried out to God:
I don’t want to be addicted anymore!
I can’t fix this!
I’ve tried everything!
I need you to fix it!
Then I began to read the Bible and the verses that were so familiar to me, the ones I’d probably done Bible studies on, and they made sense for the first time.
Praise HIM! I was broken, but now I LIVE!
Jesus came because I couldn’t fix my mess. I also could not bear the price that He paid. Yes, that’s why He came.
I wrote this song specifically about that time in my life. It’s called “Liberation”.
Written by: Rachel
Actively protecting our kids from pornography
Ironically, it’s not just men who struggle in sexual addiction, but also women, and worse, our kids. Covenant Eyes reports this statistic in Pornography Statistics :
According to a report commissioned by Congress, in 2004 some 70 million individuals visit pornographic Web sites each week; about 11 million of them are younger than 18.
Obviously, we have to do a better job of protecting our kids from pornography. The truth is, just like Rachel’s parents, most of us have no clue that something this heavy is at war within our teen. Sadly, we can’t protect them from everything. Nonetheless, we must do what we can do.
Here are 3 simple ways we can protect (and even rescue) our kids from the devastation of pornography. Simple doesn’t mean easy. Frankly, these conversations can be very difficult for us to have with our kids, but it’s necessary–urgent.
# 1: Get a filter
First and foremost, get an internet filter like Covenant Eyes. Even if you think, “Oh, my kid will never look at that.” Mama, (Daddy, if you are reading) you can’t know that. Because pornography is so easily accessed and widespread, they absolutely can and many will. This is imperative; get a filter even if you don’t think you need one.
# 2: Have “The Talk”
Secondly, have real conversations with your kids. Talk about difficult things; ask difficult questions. Have The Talk with your kid sooner rather than later, and whatever you do, do not let them learn about sex from friends at school or some public school sex ed class. That’s your job. From the very beginning, they need a realistic and Biblical view of sex.
Therefore, we recommend this book by Luke Gilkerson, who is an author for Covenant Eyes and also at Intoxicated on Life. While it is very matter of fact, it also uses Scripture to support Biblical marriage and sex.
# 3: Refrain from judgement
Finally, be there without judgement or condemnation if (or when) your teen confesses his or her struggle to you. Help him or her. Be open about your struggles. Praise him or her for having the guts to come to you because that takes guts! Ask hard questions; have serious talks.
Ultimately, it all starts with protecting our kids. Simply put, we safeguard them from everything else, why are we not safeguarding their hearts and minds from such a destructive abhorrence as pornography?