Parents vs Porn Stars – who’s forming your child’s mind?

‘Girls think they have to act like porn stars to be liked by boys’

It’s a fact of life; our children are growing up in a brave new world of global connectivity, using social media as a means of communication and with instant access to information and imagery. For young people in a Western context there is no shortage of opportunity to access the internet through phones, laptops, iPods, tablets and other devices that I’ve probably never even heard of. In America today 37% of 12-17 year olds own a smart phone, and at the tender age of 13 you can legitimately have your own Facebook page. Even my 6 year old is more tech savvy than I am and when we don’t know something she will cry, “Google it!”

In the last two months I have read article after article about internet safety and the influence the web is having on a growing generation. The greatest concern without doubt is the tsunami of depraved and twisted sexual content and imagery that young people can access with such ease. What used to be confined to the top shelves in newsagents and to the most dingy of video shops has now gone viral.  Even children not interested in pornographic content are being exposed to it through sharing on Facebook and some have vile images sent to their phones. ‘I find it dirty and disturbing,’ said one 15-year-old boy. ‘I try not to look at it, but people just keep sending it to each other. They email disgusting links to each others mobile phones to shock.’1 According to recent reports, ‘the scale of the exposure is so vast that four out of five 16-year-olds regularly access porn online — while one in three ten-year-olds has seen explicit material.’2Screen Shot 2013-10-30 at 22.20.59 2

This does not make light reading for the mother of a 10-year-old boy. Or for that matter, the mother of two little girls. This is not just a predicament amongst young boys, girls are being affected too. In a London survey it was found that, ‘66 per cent of girls aged between 12 and 16 had seen pornographic content. All of those girls had come across the images on Facebook and said it was their main source of porn.’3 One of the articles I read this week had the headline: ‘Girls think they have to act like porn stars to be liked by boys.’4  Young girls are far more susceptible to the lure of social media and the fake popularity it promises, especially from boys. ‘Social media has created a culture in which popularity is measured in terms of Facebook and Instagram “likes”.’5 The problem with this is that the more provocative the picture posted the more likes it will receive form boys.

A generation is growing up being informed about sex and relationships by porn stars

As puberty dawns it is natural for children to become curious about their developing bodies, sex and relationships.  It is at this point that young people will go looking for information and answers. Sniggering with peers is probably the most well trodden path towards sexual enlightenment. However today Google promises to answer all of our questions, and no one needs to know what questions I might be asking of Google. For many young boys their first experience or understanding of sex is watching brutal pornographic images.  Once these hardcore images have been imprinted on the mind of a child at such a formative and tender age, they can be difficult to erase and they form part of the child’s thinking and understanding about sexual relationships.6 A generation is growing up believing that sexual distortion and perversion or normative and the standard for how to behave.  Unwittingly we have left the door wide open for porn stars to be those who inform our children about sex and relationships. Boys are growing up believing that pornographic sex should be transferred into real life, as this is their only reference point for relating to girls. Pornography teaches boys that girls are only there to serve their desire for sexual gratification, while sadly, girls feel like the only way to get boys to notice them is to look and act like porn stars.  The future consequence for this current trend in pornographic sex education for our children has got to have devastating long-term effects.

So who is responsible? Sex educators, porn stars, Prime Ministers or parents?

 In August this year a teenage girl Hannah Smith committed suicide after being bullied on the social networking site Ask fm. The British press turned on the founders of the website for answers and blamed their lack of safety measures for the young girls suicide. In turn Hannah’s father appealed to the British Prime Minister to take measures. It was a little like the Garden of Eden where Adam blames Eve and Eve blames the serpent and no one wants to take responsibility. The question needs to be asked: who is responsible for our children’s Internet safety?  When it comes to protecting our children form depraved sexual content on the web, who is ultimately responsible? The internet providers, sex educators, the government, or, dare I say it, the parents? With the alarming statistics that the largest consumers of internet pornography are teenagers that are probably still living at home, parents need to become aware of what is going on under their own roofs. It would seem that modern parenting has relinquished the responsibility to have authority or impose boundaries upon their offspring. In fact many parents use the very same devices that access pornographic images in an instant as a babysitting service to keep their children occupied. Modern parenting indulges children to the worst kind of excess, leading them to believe that life revolves around them and their own happiness and pleasure.7 Pornography feeds this philosophy of life.

As a mom I can do my bit, but my kids are answerable to their creator

 From where I stand as the mother of three children I strongly believe that it is my responsibility to protect, educate and warn my own children about the perils of the internet. This may mean that my children are deprived of gadgets that can connect to the internet, despite their constant pleas for more technology. It may also mean that when they want to Google something they can only Google it with mom beside them. I may also have to have some awkward conversations with them about why they cannot take a laptop into their bedrooms and just surf the web. I need to teach my children what sex is for, and model to them what it means to be married and to love their father. I hope to create a home where there is honest and open discussion, where my children come to me with their questions and not to their peers, or to online sex educators. Not giving them too much information too young, but on a need to know basis; preserving their innocence and not arousing or awakening their curiosity before the right time.

All these measures may help, but they are dependent upon me being there and my parental care, authority and control. I cannot be with my children all the time especially as they grow older and so the greatest protection I can offer my children is to turn their hearts and minds towards their creator, the one who made them, and let him inform their hearts and their minds. He made them and formed them to be sexual beings. Sex was not intended to be pornographic, it was not intended for our own selfish gratification and the release of our pent-up lustful greed. This is a distortion of our creator’s intention. When God made man and woman, when he gave them the gift of sexual intimacy, it was intended for marriage, for a secure, safe and faithful relationship between a man and woman. It was intended for showing love and admiration towards your lifelong lover, not for selfish pleasure. Sex was intended to create families where children could be born and brought up under the protection of their parents.

I hope my girls are loved by God and so do not need to desperately seek the admiration of men at any cost

 Actively informing and nurturing my children’s hearts and minds to love their creator, I believe, is the greatest deterrent I can offer my children against the lure of online pornography, and a lifetime of broken and miserable relationships. There is no guarantee that they will never be exposed, but when and if they are, I hope that they will be able to discern that what they see is a lie, and a selfish distortion of God’s intention. I hope that like that 15-year-old boy they will find it disturbing and disgusting. Again there are no guarantees that my children will grow up in purity, I am unable to hold their hands and guide them through every moment and they are individuals who will grow up to make their own decisions, but I pray that my children will submit their lives to the guidance of their creator and God. Only then will they grow up as people who have learned to love and respect others and who do not exist for their own pleasure and satisfaction. I hope my 10-year-old boy loves and cherishes his wife, and that he would never degrade women as being mere sex objects for his use. My heart cries out that my little girls grow up to be women with dignity, being loved by God and so not needing to desperately seek the admiration of men at any cost.  I pray for this generation that, ‘God would NOT give them over in the sexual desires of their hearts to sexual impurity, for the degrading of their bodies with one another…’ I pray, ‘they would NOT exchange the truth of God for a lie and worship and serve created things rather than the creator.’8


4 telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/10282145/NSPCC-Girls-think-they-have-to-act-like-porn-stars-to-be-liked-by-boys.html

8 Paraphrase Romans 1:24-25

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