The Porn Talk: Five Tips Every Parent Needs to Know

Family playing with Tablet computer at homeTo help keep kids safe online, every parent needs to warn and educate their kids about the dangers of pornography. If they don’t, kids are left to the predatory wolves of the porn industry who are looking to create an addicted customer for life.

Here are five of my best tips to get you started.

  1. Get comfortable with your topic. Educate yourself and leave shame behind. Pornography entices kids by activating a very normal and strong part of their brain—their sexual center. For a child to be curious about seeing naked people is totally normal. However, they aren’t able to foresee the damage down the road, and shame only makes pornography more addictive.two girls with cell phone
  2. Start early. As soon as your kids have any access at all to the Internet, you need to give them some simple warnings about “bad pictures.” They need to know you expect them to tell you of any exposure so you can help them stay safe.
  3. Keep talking. Don’t have ONE BIG TALK and then never say another word. This will overwhelm the child and may lead them to go to other sources for clarification. Make talking about pornography a natural part of discussing other negative influences and challenges they meet. This should be an on-going conversation which progressively gives your child more and more information as they grow up. A six year old may not be able to understand how pornography “objectifies” people or normalizes sexual harm or supports sex trafficking, but a 12-year-old can.
  4. Unmask the lies told by pornography about sex. Teach kids that the true purpose of sex is to bond two people who love and trust each other and are committed to their relationship. It should be loving, kind, respectful and honest. In other words, the same traits that you desire in any relationship! But pornography teaches just the opposite: Sex is for exploiting or taking advantage of another person for your own selfish pleasure; violence and rape are normalized and portrayed as enjoyable for women; and unprotected sex has no ill consequences like sexually transmitted infections, physical damage and emotional scarring. These lies about sex are hurting our kids’ future ability to develop a healthy sexual relationship in their future with someone they love and respect.
  5. Give your kids a specific plan to deal with pornography exposure. Help them know exactly and immediately what they must do when they see bad pictures. Teach them how to minimize the shocking memories of pornography that are hard to forget. Many children see porn and never say a word; in fact, in my opinion, NOT telling their parents is the norm. But these images keep dogging them and may entice kids to go looking for more. My new book, Good Pictures Bad Pictures, that I co-authored with Dr. Gail Poyner, has a simple to remember CAN DO plan that arms kids to reject and deal with pornography exposure. It’s probably the most powerful part of the book!

mom talking with 11 year old sonStart talking with your kids while they still see you as a credible source of information. Be proactive in shaping their attitudes about healthy sexual relationships and their counterfeits in the media and online.

Any amount of time you invest in this will bring you excellent returns in your child’s future happiness.

Do you feel comfortable talking to your kids about pornography? What has helped you overcome your hesitations? Please leave a comment!

3 Ways to Define Sexual Integrity for Your Kids (and Why You Must!)

puzzled momXSmallI’m not sure where I first came upon the term sexual integrity, but it both impressed me and intrigued me. Sexual integrity sounds like a good idea and definitely a value I’d want to pass on to my kids like: honesty, loyalty, trustworthiness, generosity, cheerfulness, and…sexual integrity!

But what is sexual integrity?

I asked a few friends, and here’s what they came up with:

  • “I think sexual integrity implies having a clear understanding of the purpose of sex (to bond two people together/to create life) and respecting the power of sex such that you would not use it for any other purpose.”
  • “Sexual integrity is having sexual strength and doing what is ultimately best for us—even when others aren’t looking or don’t know what we’re doing.”

My own definition would probably be a combination of these two. It would also include the added tenet that pornography is the opposite of sexual integrity because it promotes lust instead of love and the objectification and exploitation of others.

mom talking with sonHere’s my definition for kids:

Sexual integrity is being honest and careful with my sexual power by using it only within a marriage relationship to show love and affection for my spouse and to create a family. Sexual integrity means that I don’t use pornography to excite my body because that is misusing the purpose of my sexual power, as well as misusing others.

It could probably use a bit more work, but the point is that you can come up with your own definition. When you are clear about your own thoughts and feelings about sexual integrity, you’ve got a much better chance of instilling this value in the minds and hearts of your own children.

But why is teaching sexual integrity so important?

Has Sex Divorced Love?

Because in popular media and in online pornography, sex has been entirely divorced from love. And kids are learning that you don’t need to love someone or even to like them to have sex with them.

So Sexy So SoonAs recounted in So Sexy, So Soon by Diane E. Levin and Jean Kilbourne, a health education teacher discovered this sad trend in her 5th grade class. One of the most basic lessons she always tried to teach was that sex is a special part of a relationship between caring adults—between two people to show deep affection for each other. But one day a boy challenged her by saying, “Well, I think you don’t need to like the person. I saw sex on the Internet. My cousin showed me. They just do it ‘cause it’s fun, they like it.” (So Sexy, So Soon, p.27)

That’s what pornography teaches: Sex is for fun, and people are for exploiting to get it.

“Pornography objectifies people (especially women) and takes sex out of the context of even the pretense of a caring relationship. It is difficult for children to unlearn these attitudes.” (So Sexy, So Soon, p. 47)

Clarity on Sexual Integrity is Crucial

So, if you’re going to instill the value of sexual integrity into your children, begin by clarifying your own definition. And then start teaching it to your kids, and pointing out the positive consequences of maintaining sexual integrity in their own lives.

thinking asian girlA child that grows up with an understanding and expectation of sexual integrity will at least see the folly of porn use for what it is, hopefully before being mindlessly sucked into a vortex of lust and addiction.

How do you define sexual integrity? Do you see any examples of sexual integrity in present or past media? Please share!

 

 

 

Internet Safety: Three Tips for Parents Before Giving Kids an iPad, Tablet or Smartphone

Children Opening Christmas Present In Front Of TreeAre you planning to give your younger child an Internet-enabled device like an iPad, Kindle Fire, Google Nexus or any kind of smartphone for Christmas? It may be on your kid’s wish list, but before you wrap it up and put it under the tree, make sure you consider how you’ll keep them safe online with their new device. Here are three things to consider before Christmas morning:

The Gift of Access. Are you sure you want to give them an Internet-enabled device? Now hold on, I’m not suggesting that they don’t have access to the latest greatest technology. But you might consider giving the gift of access instead of the actual piece of technology. KJ Dell’Antonia, a parenting blogger for the New York Times, proposed a “family iPad.” That way, kids don’t create their own “individual online world” prematurely, before they’re ready to deal with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and texting, as well as the issues of Internet safety from predators.  A family device leaves parents with the “right” to set up passwords, parental controls and time limits.Family playing with Tablet computer at home

Family Tech Etiquette. Whether you give your kids the device or just let them use it, it’s crucial to set up “Family Tech Etiquette” to preserve family relationships as well as keep kids safe online. Here’s the message: In our family, we thoughtfully and intentionally use technology to improve our lives; we don’t allow technology to rule (or damage) our relationships.

Some questions to consider:couple with   teenager with device during breakfast

  • Are devices allowed to go to bed with kids at night or do they get re-charged at the parents’ bedside?
  • When friends who own Internet-enabled devices come over, where do those devices go?
  • How much time each day should be given to interfacing with the device/Internet?
  • What information should be shared online?
  • Do we allow devices at the dinner table?
  • If we’re in the middle of a conversation, do we allow that to be interrupted with a call from a friend? If so, in what circumstances?

family watching movieFamily Media Standards. This is where you talk about appropriate and inappropriate content. Why define your standards? Kids may initially be distressed or repulsed by pornography, but without specific reasons to avoid it, that initial distress can quickly be overcome by curiosity and peer pressure. If you give your kids clear reasons why they should avoid viewing pornography, you’re helping them develop their “thinking brain.” That’s the pre-frontal cortex that is still developing (and not fully developed until the early 20’s!). A child whose parents have clearly and specifically communicated how porn can be harmful has a stronger defense against the allure of sexual images. In the end, this is the best and probably only way to keep kids safe online. Here are a few ideas to get your started:

  • Our family does not watch or vote for media that objectifies women or men. People are more than their bodies and deserve to be treated with respect. Repeated viewing of media that exploits people for their bodies can lead us to see people as objects instead of human beings with feelings.”
  • Our family does not watch or vote for media that is sexually arousing. Sexual arousal needs to be controlled and used for developing a loving, committed relationship like marriage.”
  • Our family does not watch or vote for media that glorifies violence. Watching extreme and repeated violence can desensitize us to the pain people feel when they get hurt and decrease our ability to empathize with others.”
  • Our family talks about the media we see. We decode the underlying messages and decide if we want to accept them or not. We ask ourselves, Is the hero a good person who conquers evil in the end? What can we learn from the mistakes the hero and other characters make?”

iStock mom and daughter readingWhatever gifts you decide to give your kids, giving them the gift of media standards and media savvy will go a long way in keeping them safe online. In the end, with the wide availability of Internet access, our kids are going to be the ones who make critical decisions about what they will and will not watch. With your direction and guidance, they will be equipped to make smart choices to protect their brains from Internet pornography.

Pornography Addiction: 3 Tips to Keep Kids Safe Online

Father and son talking in living roomA therapist who specializes in pornography addiction recovery sees kids who became addicted to pornography by the age of 12.

But the pornography industry, which earns $93 billion annually, has no interest in revealing the truth that pornography addiction is real. Much like the tobacco industry deniers of yesteryear, porn producers adamantly argue that porn addiction is a fantasy.

  • Tell that to my friend Brian (name has been changed) who was shown pornography at the age of seven, and felt compelled to search for more images of nude women. The Internet fueled his fascination into a full-fledged pornography addiction that took years, a 12-step program, and the accountability of a therapy group to overcome.
  • Tell that to a woman I met whose father gave up everything, including his marriage and family relationships, to his pornography addiction and took it with him to his grave.

A pornography addiction is a hellish trap because the brain makes its own drug! The vile images are trapped inside the memory, and there’s no way to flush them out. And even without Internet access, a person can still recall the memories of porn to feed their addiction.Regretful young man

Norman Doidge, M.D., author of The Brain That Changes Itself, says this about pornography addiction:

“Pornographers promise healthy pleasure and relief from sexual tension, but what they often deliver is an addiction…and an eventual decrease in pleasure. Paradoxically, the male patients I worked with often craved pornography but didn’t like it.”

Just another level of hell: Intensely craving something you find disgusting.

3 Powerful Truths to Protect Against Pornography Addiction

Internet safety for kids is worth every effort and it starts with them understanding the danger of Internet pornography. These three tips will fortify your kids against the trap of addiction.

  1. Teach kids that their brains can be hurt by looking at pornography. Brain MRIPornography is powerful and tricks the brain into strong feelings and desires to see more and more images. An addiction occurs when the brain becomes locked into wanting to see more and more intense images. An addiction actually changes the physical structure of the brain; scientists have actually measured the harmful effects of pornography using MRI scans.
  2. Teach kids healthy ways to deal with their feelings. Some kids use pornography to deal with negative emotions, like when they’re bored, lonely, angry, stressed or tired (BLAST), but doing so can lead to an addiction. Imagine if every time a person felt BLAST, their brain created a craving to see pornography? Pretty soon, pornography could become the most important thing in that person’s life.
  3. Teach kids to tell a trusted adult about any and all pornography exposure. Pornography has a stronger pull when it’s kept secret. Explain that when pornography is brought out into the light and discussed openly, its power is weakened.

worried boyThe access to Internet pornography is easier than ever before. While filtering software can help, the only way for kids to avoid the risk of a pornography addiction is to decide for themselves to protect their brain. And in order to make that decision, they need to be informed before their hooked.

What do you think?

Why My Upcoming Book (Good Pictures, Bad Pictures) Really Ticks Me Off

angry womanToday is a major milestone in publishing Good Pictures, Bad Pictures! The manuscript and illustrations are being sent (well, uploaded) to the publisher. YAY!!! (Keep reading for a sneak peek!)

But I’m a little ticked off. Not just because my book is so needed (wish it weren’t!). Not just because the porn industry is so predatory. (I always want to say predatorial!) But because, for many, it’s too little, too late. A book like this should have been written  a decade ago.

The Elephant in the Room

Why is Good Pictures, Bad Pictures the first of its kind? This just ticks me off. I honestly don’t know why there aren’t at least a dozen books out there to empower kids so they can avoid the brain dangers of porn. Maybe it’s because pornography is that elephant in the room that no one wants to acknowledge. Despite the crushed people and stinky picture poop all over.

A Whole New Genre!young boy thinking

Good Pictures, Bad Pictures will help kids avoid the brain-damaging and soul-crushing effects of porn consumption. But I also hope it inspires smarter and more gifted people than I am (not that hard to find!) to write anti-pornography books for kids. We need more content out there! Maybe even a whole new GENRE! “Juvenile: Growing up Porn-free.”

Test-driven and Crowd-Edited

As a final effort to make Good Pictures, Bad Pictures as kid-friendly, parent-friendly and effective as possible, we farmed the manuscript out to a dozen or so parents to read to their kids. (This is the second time we’ve done this.) Afterwards, I interviewed them for their feedback. As a result, we made lots of little changes to clarify concepts and improve word choice.

Basically, it’s been crowd-edited by parents!

And Then We Paid People

Quill pen tipI sent our manuscript off to a professional editing group, Eschler Editing. Their children’s lit professor helped me improve the dialog between the mom, dad and son as well as make several other suggestions to improve clarity. A proof-reader found lots of stupid punctuation errors, as well as making some grammatical suggestions. What would we do without these skilled people?

Eagle Eye Friends: Every Author Needs Them

Finally, I took the professionally-edited manuscript to a few friends who have eagle eyes. Why? My author friends warned me that no one editor can catch every mistake—haven’t you had the experience of reading some NYT best seller and finding a typo? Our friends came through and we made a few more changes. Whew! What a process!

Good Pictures, Bad Pictures should be out by late February or early March 2014. It will be in paperback and in e-versions for the Kindle, Nook etc.

The Sneak Peek

happy kid with magnifying glassWhat is this revolutionary book all about? The excerpt below is from our short, but amazingly informational introduction. Keep reading to discover the chapter titles—a glimpse into the powerful content that teaches kids about their own brains and how to use them to say no to porn.

And stay tuned! As we get closer to the launch, we plan to give away even more.

This book is easy to read to kids. Good Pictures Bad Pictures uses the comfortable setting of a mother and son enjoying a family photo album, and models a conversation that teaches a simple definition of pornography (even for kids who have not yet learned the details of sex). Chapter by chapter, kids learn about addiction and their two brains (the feeling brain and the thinking brain) and how one of them can be tricked by viewing pornography, while the other can take control and prevent addiction. BookIllustrationDebbieFoxSmall

How the book is organized: The first seven chapters explain what pornography is and how the brain can be tricked into developing an addiction to it. Chapter 8 provides five powerful “CAN DO” strategies for dealing with exposure to pornography. Chapter 9 brings in Dad, who powerfully affirms what Mom has taught about the dangers of pornography and explains how porn can act like a poison.”

And here’s the Table of Contents!

Introduction: A Message from the Authors (Or Why We’re Not Crazy for Writing This Book!)

Chapter 1: What’s Pornography?

Chapter 2: What’s an Addiction?

Chapter 3: My Feeling Brain

Chapter 4: My Thinking Brain

Chapter 5: My Two Brains Work Together

Chapter 6: My Brain’s Attraction Center

Chapter 7: How Pornography Tricks the Brain into an Addiction

Chapter 8: My Thinking Brain’s “CAN DO” Plan!

Chapter 9: I Can Escape the Poison of Pornography

Glossary of Terms

Resources for Parents and Professionals

 

Good News You May Not Know about Internet Porn

Shocking WebsiteThis past summer, UK Prime Minister David Cameron was able to make sure that families in the UK must make a choice whether they want easy access to Internet pornography or not. The UK has begun to require all Internet Service providers (ISP’s) to add filtering software to block pornography. As a result, customers must make the choice to remove the filtering or “opt out.”

But what if the husband wants easy access to porn but the wife doesn’t?david cameron Here’s Cameron’s answer:

“The fact is…when you sign up to an internet service provider, when you take out your broadband account, you are prompted with an online message…[about] pornography filters that are switched on.

‘If you want to keep them, go ahead, particularly if you’ve got children in the house; if you want to take them off, you have to make an active choice. And I think that’s the right thing to do.”

Some people in the U.S. are petitioning at the We the People website for the same protection. This petition is not legislation; it’s not meant to be. It’s meant to rally citizens and our government to find a solution for accidental exposure to vile and graphic images (and, I might add, the predatory practices of the porn industry which targets kids).

Of course, many people are up in arms crying that blocking porn is going to have dire consequences for freedom of speech. Do you buy that? I think our founding Fathers (and Mothers) are rolling in their graves at that argument.

Require porn to be "opt-in"

Require porn to be “opt-in”

No one is asking the U.S. government to control the Internet like China does. But regulating ISP’s seems like a perfectly reasonable and oh-so-needed action. (We recently stopped shipments of toy dolls from China that were laced with chemical toxins–why not protect kids from the much worse brain toxin of pornography?) It’s actually not that difficult, though filters are far from perfect. So, as for me, I’m all for signing the petition (and I did!). You can too, here.

More Progress Against Searches for Child Pornography

This past summer Cameron also threw down the gauntlet at search engine companies, challenging them to clean up their act when it comes to the ability to search for child pornography. As reported by SitePro News:

“Put simply, there needs to be a list of terms — a black list — which offer up no direct search returns,” Cameron said in a speech this summer. “So I have a very clear message for Google, Bing, Yahoo and the rest: You have a duty to act on this — and it is a moral duty. I simply don’t accept the argument that some of these companies have used to say that these searches should be allowed because of freedom of speech.”

Eric SchmidtApparently Cameron’s challenge got the intended response: Google’s Eric Schmidt explained that they have changed their algorithms and “have cleaned up the results for over 100,000 queries that might be related to  the sexual abuse of kids.” Furthermore, they’ve added preventative measures to warn searchers that child pornography is illegal. New technology has also been developed to tag illegal pictures so copies of them can be removed wherever they are on the Internet.

Some may argue that pedophiles use site to site sharing, thus avoiding the big search engines. That may be true, but how many people have started down this degraded path by using a search engine? All of them!

This progress is crucial and heartening! But in order to truly protect our kids, we must open up a dialogue with them, early and often, explaining to them how life will be much better without porn.

I love to read your comments so please share your thoughts on protecting your kids from pornography. Thank you!

Porn Aftermath: 3 Simple Steps to Help Your Child Process Their Feelings

Shocking WebsiteSadly, it’s inevitable. At some point your child is going to be exposed to pornography. Hopefully, you’ve talked to them about what it is and why it’s dangerous. But even after several porn talks, kids need help sorting out their confused feelings. If they feel comfortable talking with you after they’ve been exposed, you’ve just added another layer in their armor against pornography. Especially if you can stay calm and reassuring.

I recently came across an excellent video on the Women for Decency website produced by LifeStar Network, a pornography and sexual addiction recovery organization. Jeffrey Ford, a licensed marriage and family therapist, discusses three steps you can take to help your child after they’ve seen pornography.

worried boy1. Ask: How did your body feel? Ford advises parents to recognize that pornography arouses sexual feelings, which physically feel good. Acknowledging that sexual arousal feels good will avoid shaming your child about having normal sexual feelings.

2. Ask: How did you feel emotionally? Kids often say they feel sick to their stomach or “yukky” after seeing pornography. This is confusing. How can my body feel good but my emotions feel so bad at the same time?

3. Explain that marriage is the right time to experience sexual feelings. Teach them that both their bodies and their emotions can feel good when they grow up and find someone they love to marry. Sexual feelings are good and normal and designed to bring two people together and keep them together in a committed and loving relationship like marriage.

mom talking with 11 year old sonDepending on the type of pornography they’ve seen you may also want to reaffirm that sex is not about hurting another person, but it’s about showing kindness and affection.

Pornography gives very mixed messages to kids, which are extremely confusing. The worst case scenario is to have a child turn to the internet for more information on pornography.  As a parent, you can provide a safe setting for sorting out the confused feelings produced by seeing pornography.

I highly recommend watching this 4 minute video What if my child has been exposed?

Please leave a comment and let me know if you thought it was helpful! Thanks!

5 porn stats most parents don’t know…but should

embarrassed momWe know it’s out there. We know it’s harmful. We just may not realize how prevalent it is. Here are a few numbers every parent needs to know:

90% of internet porn is FREE. A study in 2010 led by Gilbert Wondracek, a computer security expert from the International Secure System Lab, examined a total of 35,000 pornographic domains and found that 90% were free. As reported on DailyTech, these free sites are given content from paid porn sites in order to drum up business. Kids can easily find free porn and plenty of it.

30% of all internet bandwidth is used for pornography. It might actually be worse than that. A software security service company called Optenet did a study looking at 4 million URL’s and approximately 37% contained pornographic content.

thinking asian girl11 is the average age children are exposed to pornography, according to the PornHarms website. As more and more kids get smartphones at earlier ages, that age will get younger.

90% of porn depicts violence against women. A study which looked at 50 popular pornographic websites and DVD’s found that 90% of all content included verbal or physical abuse against women.

The violence of internet pornography is documented in a recent article in the Guardian:

Rape Crisis South London carried out simple research that involved typing “rape porn” into Google and then quantified the results: 86% of sites that came up advertised videos depicting the rape of under-18s, 75% involved guns or knives, 43% showed the woman drugged, and 46% purported to be incest rape.

sleepoverNearly 80% of unwanted exposure to pornography takes place in the home. This is a frightening statistic. But it’s also empowering because you have a lot of control over what happens with your kids in your own home. Start with an internet filter, and then establish family media standards with your kids. Get them on board at a young age and they’ll be much better protected as teens.

Any child is just 3 clicks or swipes away from violent, degrading sexual content. Carole Cadwalladr, a British journalist put it this way, after describing her experience of Googling “rape porn” and viewing both simulated and actual rape scenes online:

“Rape porn”, and then two clicks of the mouse, and that’s what’s there. It’s not skulking in some dark recess of the internet, it’s a dropdown box on one the most popular porn sites in the world, but my experience – of not knowing, and not really wanting to know – is not unusual. There’s a collective, willed ignorance of porn.

The nature of it, the accessibility of it, the preponderance of it has changed so fast that a lot of people simply haven’t kept up. Huge numbers of us, including most of the mainstream press, have drawn a polite veil over the subject, except at a largely theoretical level.

dad and son looking at workbookFor our kids’ sakes, let’s get ourselves educated about what’s out there…because our kids will find out one way or another. Have you talked to your kids about pornography? If not, what’s holding you back?  I’d like to write a post about blocks parents have to overcome in discussing this topic with their kids, and you could help me! Please leave a comment! Thanks!

Mousetrapping & Pagejacking: Two Ways Kids Get Hijacked to Pornville

CMost young kids don’t go looking for pornography, but it certainly is looking for them!

Pornographers set traps to try to hook unsuspecting people, including your kids, who are on the internet for legitimate reasons. Other unscrupulous businesses get paid by porn vendors to drive traffic to their websites.

That’s where pagejacking and mousetrapping come in. Once you know about these two techniques, you can teach your kids how not to get trapped.

Pagejacking: This is a way that pornographers redirect you to their websites, even though you’ve clicked on a legitimate link. According to wiseGEEK.com,

 Unscrupulous persons can copy high-ranking, legitimate webpages, then add a bit of code that causes would-be visitors to land somewhere else entirely. These bogus links end up in search engines because the stolen content and code mirrors legitimate pages (aside from the redirect). A surfer can’t tell if a link is bogus or not until he or she clicks on it. Choose to visit a camera retailer, check out wedding dresses, or see the score for last night’s game, for example, and you might end up in the “red light” district.

Of course, once you’re at an offending site, you’ll try to get out. Pagejackers know this, and that’s why they employ the second technique: mousetrapping.

SONY DSCMousetrapping prevents you from leaving, while using your clicks to generate revenue for the pagejackers.

Pressing buttons like “back,” “forward,” or even “close” will begin a loop, opening one offensive site or advertisement after the next, popping up banner after banner in a cascade of windows.

According to wiseGEEK, this gains maximum benefit for a one-time visit. It’s like being mugged on the internet.

Here’s what to do if you find yourself pagejacked or mousetrapped.

  1. Manually enter a legitimate URL address in your browser. Or click on a saved bookmark or link from your Favorites folder. Avoid clicking on the close button, because you may just get redirected again to another porn site.
  2. Install a filter that blocks access to porn sites.  Nothing takes the place of heart-to-heart talks with kids about values and intimacy, but in my opinion, every internet-enabled device that kids have access to needs a filter. Here’s a site that compares some of the top filtering software.

iStock mom and daughter readingWe are more and more intertwined via the internet, and that’s a fact that’s not going away anytime soon.(At least I hope not!) But learning to deal with the bad stuff that comes with it is also a fact of life. I hope this blog is helping in some small way.

Have you ever been pagejacked or moustetrapped on the internet? Have you ever come across objectionable content?

This happened to me on Pinterest! I clicked on a link to see “easy” instructions for making a cool ottoman. (BTW, this is not the one! But it’s cute!) Boy did I get an eyeful!  I gave feedback to Pinterest and left a note on the pin, but I am still working to keep those images out of my brain.colorful ottoman

How do you insure that your family is safe on the internet? I’d love to hear from you–please leave a comment! And thanks for sharing this with other parents!

6 Odd Bedfellows Teach Us How to Fight Porn

A wide range of honest people are waking up to the harms done by viewing pornography. You might not expect evolutionary scientists or radical feminists to be on the side of religious leaders when it comes to pornography. But you might be surprised! Here are six diverse examples of people working to fight porn. They can teach us a lot!

Scientists

color brain diagramI first came upon science teacher Gary Wilson when I was researching my soon-to-be published book Good Pictures, Bad Pictures. He created the website Your Brain on Porn, a six-part series of videos, as well as an excellent TED talk entitled The Great Porn Experiment. Wilson has no “moral” reasons to be against porn and he doesn’t seem to want to block anyone’s right to it. His background in neurobiology and evolution gives him the perspective that “evolution has not prepared your brain for today’s Internet porn.” He uses brain science to help porn addicts recover. I like that. But…

Feminists

gail dinesI obviously don’t agree with Gary’s amoral stance on porn. Hardcore porn is violent and abusive of women and children. Maybe Gary should talk to Gail Dines; she’s an anti-porn feminist who’s written three books, including her most recent, Pornland, How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality, published in 2010. Dines is Professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies at Wheelock College in Boston as well as founder of the National Feminist Anti-Pornography Movement.

Former Porn Stars

Shelley_Lubben_in_2011Even former porn stars are getting into the fight! For example, Shelley Lubben is a former porn star who became a born-again Christian and now serves as the Executive Director of the Pink Cross Foundation—trying to help people involved in the sex industry to find their way out. Her amazing story illustrates the strong links between pornography and sex trafficking.

Newspaper Writers

But as Holly Finn explains in her recent Wall Street Journal piece, Online Pornography’s Effects, and a New Way to Fight Them, porn has “become a whole generation’s sex education and could be the same for the next.” Citing statistics that 70% of 18- to 34-year-olds look at porn at least once a month, she declares, “I’ve never felt so lucky to be over 40.”

Young Activists

Fortify PDF bookSo it’s especially gratifying to see young people take up the charge to save their own peers. The people who have created a non-profit organization called Fight the New Drug want to educate teens on the harmful effects of pornography. They believe that young people can change the world, and I certainly hope they can! They go into schools to teach kids and have a new book entitled Fortify. (I just bought my copy–you can get a PDF version for only $5!)

Faith Communities

A large anti-porn contingent comes from religious people. Some efforts grow out of churches and others are created by people of faith reaching out to help everyone (I fall into that category).

Some churches or church leaders have developed their own websites.christ

  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) created overcomingpornography.org, a website that helps church members use the Atonement of Jesus Christ to prevent and recover from pornography. Their video, Watch Your Step, powerfully portrays two very different outcomes based on one man’s decision to embrace a love for his family or pursue his lust for pornography. Additionally, the LDS church has an Addiction Recovery Program which deals with all kinds of addictions. They sponsor separate group meetings for those with sex addictions.
  • A Catholic group named The Serenellians developed pornnomore.com, which seeks to help Catholics overcome pornography addiction via “God’s limitless mercy.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials.” Section 2354
  • Josh McDowell, a Christian apologist and author, launched just1clickaway.org, an effort to raise awareness about the dangers of online pornography. He argues that “[t]he greatest threat to the cause of Christ is pervasive sexuality and pornography.”

Leaders from Islamic, Hindi, Jewish sects all have written views against pornography. I thought this article Overcoming Pornography by a Krishna leader, Krsnanandini Devi Dasi, could be very helpful to almost anyone seeking to overcome sexual addiction.

Kristen and John 2012And then there are bloggers out there, like me. I’m just one little voice against a tsunami of porn, but I take heart that I’m not alone.

And now it’s your turn to speak out! Leave a comment and share your thoughts. I love to read them!