The first encounter I had with pornography took place when I was very young, barely 9 years old. I was on our family computer doing homework when an ad popped up. I quickly pressed the “X” in the corner, yet every time I did the pop-ups would double. I was quickly at a loss of what to do.
I remember wanting to tell my parents, but I was both confused and afraid. Luckily for me, I was able to turn away from the images. When I think of why I was able to do this, I go back to my relationship with my parents.

I was able to turn to them.

Although I was afraid, I knew that my parent’s love was unwavering. I had a great relationship with them and when, after many clicks on that “X”, it finally clicked in my mind that I could run to them, they were able to take care of the virus. My parents were my lifelines in this case.

The Unwanted Guest
Even 15 years ago this pandemic found me without my seeking it. Today, pornography is even more accessible than it was when I was nine.

A study once found that forty two percent of children age 10-17 said they had seen online pornography within the past year, and sixty-six percent of those children said they had not sought out this material but that it found them. Those were the numbers as late as nine years ago, and it is only getting worse.

When it comes knocking at our door without invitation, why do we open the door and let them in?

The True Nature of Love

The desire for love and connection is a natural one. We are born with these sexual desires to lead us to real human love and connection. However, in today’s world it is not uncommon for love and lust to be confused.

Let me be clear—love cannot be found through a virtual lens, no matter how enticing it may seem.

A few years ago I heard a speech that sunk deep into my heart:

The intimate…relationship between a man and a woman that brings children into [this life] is also meant to be a beautiful, loving experience that binds together two devoted hearts, unites both spirit and body, and brings fullness of joy and happiness as we learn to put each other first.”

Simply put—those beautiful feelings are not meant to be shared with a screen. I was lucky enough to learn this in the home, and I truly believe that this saved my life. I did not walk away from that computer fifteen years ago feeling worried that it might ruin my future relationships, because I knew that it was gone and I was comforted by that knowledge. Unfortunately this is not the case for many children.

Knowledge is Not Enough

In fact, a recent survey has found that 1 in 5 children said that they had viewed pornographic material that left them feeling upset. Although the material they saw was upsetting, they could not turn away and became fearful that they were addicted.

Many of these children knew of the destruction that could come from the viewing of pornography. Most were not blind to these things, yet their consumption had not stopped.

They looked in to the future knowing that it would be a roadblock for marriage because they could already tell that their perception of those around them had already become a negative one. Several children told experiences of the porn being aggressive, and one girl even shared that by the age of twelve she and her boyfriend had participated in aggressive sexual behavior.
Education alone is not enough. These children appeared to have some knowledge of the destruction that would take place if they continued to indulge in pornography, yet they were not confident they could stop.

They need a support system.

They need to know how to avoid.

We Cannot Ignore the Facts of Destruction
If the effects of pornography don’t surface early on, they will eventually. Exposure to pornography results in a variety of negative outcomes.

The choices we make in life can reflect the choices we make in media.

The effects of pornography don’t simply show within the individual, it also shows in their actions and begins to affect those around them. The risk of developing sexually deviant tendencies, committing sexual offenses, experiencing difficulties in your own intimate relationship, and acceptance of rape are all increased significantly through the viewing of pornography.

This should not be overlooked.
In my experience, I grew up with a strong home foundation. I knew the truth about love and I knew instantly when I saw those images that what I was feeling was not love. For me, I was able to turn away because of the relationship that I have with my parents.

Dame Esther told BBC News that improved education was vital:

"We absolutely have to talk to young people about sex, love, respect and consent as soon as we feel they are ready, to ensure that they gain a proper perspective between real-life relationships and the fantasy world of porn."
There are many other factors that go in to the prevention of pornography, but I do believe that teaching begins within the home.

A Great Need for Involved Parents

We need to know the dangers of pornography. It overtakes lives, causing loss of the peace, distorted feelings, deceit, damaged relationships, loss of self-control, and nearly total consumption of time, thought, and energy.

If you are at a loss of what to do regarding pornography with your children, please turn here for a free download of “A Parent’s Guide to Addressing Pornography With Children”.

When both the truths about the destruction of pornography and the joys of love are understood, learned within the home through examples of love, children will be more likely to turn to their parents as their number one resource for healing and protection.