Here are some scary facts from ABC News and Current Porn Statistics:
- The viewing of porn can start around the age of 8 but the norm is 12 to 13 years of age.
- 7 out of 10 teens have been exposed to pornography
- Porn is being labeled as the new drug
- Signs of addiction are : depression, lying, withdraw, irritability
- 70% of all 13-34 year olds use porn at least once a month
- Youth Ministers are reporting that 90% of kids who come to them are struggling with porn.
- Largest group of internet porn users are between the ages of 12-17
- In 2011-12, 70% of “blurred nudity” on TV happens before 9:00pm.
- Sex and porn are in the top 5 search terms for kids under 18
- 70% of all porn traffic occurs between the hours of 9am and 5pm
- The most disturbing new trend among teenagers: group sex
- 80% of 15-17year olds have been exposed to hardcore porn
When I wrote this book, it was before the popular trend of kids having phones and the access of the internet right in their fingertips at ALL times. Now they have not only phones but iPads, lap tops, Xbox, you name it. It’s no wonder our teen girls are more sexually aggressive than boys. They are desensitized to the images and acts. We can no longer scratch our heads concerning teen pregnancy and wonder why it’s on the rise.
And here’s the thing, it’s not always getting away from us because parents are working and they are “checked out”- it’s also because as parents, technology is going over our heads!
I was walking by my boy’s bedroom a couple of months ago and he was playing Xbox and talking to someone on his headphones. Here- unbeknownst to me, you can play a game with a complete stranger. I asked him who he was talking to and he politely spoke into the headset, “I have to pause for a moment”.
I repeated myself, “Who are you talking to?” It flabbergasted me that he was having a conversation with a total stranger- in his bedroom.
My son said to me, “Mom, you can play games with anyone you choose”.
I responded, “End the game now and I want to talk with you.”
That’s when he explained to me the capabilities of his Xbox. I then informed him that he was to never play a game with anyone he didn’t know. His response? “Probably a good idea, some of these people curse a lot!”
Great- good going mom. Couldn’t believe my ears. I thought I was safer than most because my kids didn’t have phones until high school (purely because they didn’t need them yet). I want to share with you that my lack of knowledge could have had devastating consequences. Kids are being abducted because they are lured by strangers through the internet to meet them. Therefore, I put a new plan in place, and it’s a plan that will evolve with technological advances, but for today, this is what is in place:
- No internet in the bedrooms. If my kids need it for school they do all their research in the dining room or kitchen. This will change as your children get older and transition into high school.
- My boys are not to play Xbox games with anyone they don’t know.
- No violent video games
- Clear rules on appropriate television shows- you will have to decide what is appropriate for your family. The easiest way to find out if it is appropriate is to ask yourself: Does this fit in with goals I have for my children?
- My kids don’t have Facebook accounts but they do have Instagram, which I have all the passwords and have complete power over de-friending anyone who is inappropriate
- My kids have to ask to “face time” or go onto Instagram.
- No technology and minimal television during the week! And this is easier than you think when your kids get older because when they get into middle school- there will be sports, clubs, maybe church, youth groups, etc. By the time my kids get home from school this is what our schedule looks like:
a. Small snack with some television
b. Television off and homework
c. Dinner at 5:00 out the door at 5:30
d. Sports from 6-8
e. Home by 8:30- snack and shower
f. Bed by 9 (my 10 year old is in bed by 8 on non-sports nights) ***Kids today go to bed way too late! With this in place- there is not a lot of time for the outside world to penetrate and the less you have to “over-see” the easier your life will be. We have enough going in our world- keeping them involved in sports/music/keeping grades up is enough, let alone the Apple company taking over another big chunk
h. My kids know that I will check their search engines: the easiest way to check is to go onto Google search and type in por (for porn) or se (for sex) and watch what pops up under the history and there are four types of history:
- top hits
- google search
- search for history
***If anything pops under these four Google history type searches- someone has been searching for those items.
i. And here’s the most important- talk with your kids about what is on television. If we try to shelter, the more interested they become.
For example: if you see a woman wearing a seductive outfit on television, lead into a conversation with that. It’s perfectly fine to ask your daughters, “What’d you think about her outfit?” But ask your boys as well- engage them when it comes to pop culture and the image of women on the screen. These can be the most important conversations and they tend to allow topics that otherwise both of you might be embarrassed to talk about. However, I made it funny. I presented to my children in the car ride home from school this scenario: “What would you think about Mom putting on a black leather body suit and dancing around for all to see on national television?” My daughter said, “I would hide in a closet and never come out.” I said, really? Because that’s what women do in the music industry- most of them are moms and wives too. I wanted to humanize Hollywood, where society idolizes. Then I went on, “How do you think Dad would feel if I did that? And it was my son who was 12 at the time who spoke up, “You would never do that Mom, it’s so inappropriate.”
Wow- you just never know what will come out of the mouths of babes, especially when they are your own. There was no reason to beat a dead horse, I said, “You couldn’t be more correct.”
j. Also- don’t be embarrassed to ask the important questions when it comes to sleepovers. You have every right to ask if there are televisions in the rooms, if there are computers, if they have phones and internet access AND what their house rules are. If they don’t align with yours, tell them your rules, and say, “If that’s a problem I don’t mind the kids sleeping here.”
Let’s talk about the music industry. Let’s talk about hip hop. I’d like to share something our teen mothers’ program discussed in class. We were discussing why the black family is 75% fatherless. It was very interesting, when asked what they thought was the biggest problem, they shared, “Our music.” Profound. They shared how it demoralizes women, emphasizes sex, wealth and fame. Let’s look at the country music industry as a comparison. Let’s think about the people who listen to country music. Do you think music can affect people’s culture? Do you believe that if music talks about God, working hard, being a stand-up citizen or if it sings about drugs, sex, poverty and gangs, day in and day out, would it start to affect you? Could it alter how you feel about women, being a citizen, a father and a man or woman? If children are listening to it from the time they are born, can it affect them? According to our teen mothers, they feel it does.
Talk to your kids about societal trends, they should have a safe space in your home to speak their mind. If we are too rigid, they will be less apt to bring it to us. Be willing “to go there”, stay plugged in with your kids, because your children are plugged in, even if it is wireless.
With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk. All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter.Proverbs 7:21-22
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.Proverbs 4:23
The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the speech of the upright rescues them.Proverbs 12:6
A woman without discretion is like a ring in a pig’s snout.Proverbs 11:22
Thus you will walk in the ways of good men and keep to the paths of the righteous. For the upright will live in the land and the blameless will remain in it; But the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the unfaithful will be torn from it.Proverbs 2:20-22