Stats on internet pornography...

(Joseph) Some sad statistics in here. Particularly worth noting is that one out of three internet pornography consumers are women. Very soon, we'll need a program for young women similar to what David Canfield is doing for our young men. (Stay tuned for ClearNote Fellowship's soon-to-be-released book for young men on sex and marriage, written by David Canfield help from Nathan Alberson.)

Comments

"Companies like Time Warner, GM and Mariott make millions selling erotica"

And the US just bailed out GM?

Also the part about "sex and porn" being top search terms for kids under 18.

I've been thinking about getting rid of the net at my house. I have wireless but haven't thought of my kids having a way to get online. But then I found out that my 12 year old son's friend from a solid Reformed family recently got an iPod touch - so when he comes over they could look up this stuff online even if they don't have access to my computer which is locked in the bedroom. We encouraged that family to take the iPod away and buy one without wireless but they thought it was important for "school" and districts are now buying laptops for all students.

With ubiquitous public wireless and computers being so small that one kid can easily loan one to another, the difficulty of keeping our kids off of porn seems impossible.

The only thing I know how to do is have frank discussions with them telling them exactly why they don't want to get on the mad merry-go-round and pay close attention to their behavior.

And pray, pray and pray ...

-Clint

Clint - FWIW, as a young man who does not have TV or internet at his apartment (in part for this reason, in part so I can focus my attentions on His Word, and in part because I have to sit in front of an electronic screen too much anyway), I can tell you the last one is the most likely to work. Christ have mercy on me, I still have to fight against these temptations whenever I'm around unfettered internet access despite knowing exactly what harm it does to me and not having regular access. I recommend putting much more time into the spiritual prevention than the physcial prevention (though in that one to show that you are backing up what you say, too). Not saying you don't, just saying what I know.

Praying alongside you, brother,

Regardless of how guarded any home is against any sin, particularly any sexual sin in the media, opportunities to indulge in it will abound in the world. Furthermore, as we build larger and stronger walls against these sins in the home, worldly access to them becomes reciprocally more available, as we see in the stats in this post. As a result, I agree with Kevin, that the strongest defense against these things lies in the spiritual battle.

We must teach our children the dangers of sexual sin and pornography, so that when they go into the world (a friend's house, a computer lab, a video store, etc.), where there are no guards, their hearts will already be fortified against these iniquities. Parents can prohibit their children from exercising malicious violence within the home, but what is to stop this child from violence or murder outside the home unless they believe and understand it to be wrong? Similarly, parents can put up dozens of safeguards against pornography (filters, locked rooms, etc.) in the home, but there will always be loopholes and outside access. Only a child who believes pornography to be a sin and knows why it is wrong will ultimately overcome the temptation to indulge in such a sin when the opportunity inevitably presents itself.

*******

I encourage everyone to read Michael Foster's recent post on the ClearNote Fellowship blog regarding raising children, even toddlers, to be fortified against pornography: http://www.clearnotefellowship.org/Resources/Blog/2010/01/08/Training-Your-Toddler-Battle-Porn

*******

The actual physical prevention of access to inappropriate material should only be an aid to the instruction of the heart. We must be careful not to focus too much on the external manifestation of sin. Pornography is wrong because it lies about sexuality by turning it into something trivial, impersonal, and self-centered. Since we know sexuality is to be a picture of Christ's relationship with the Church, we can see that pornography is a lie about Jesus Christ. We must focus on teaching our children the fear of the Lord and reliance upon Jesus Christ's all-sufficient grace. Restriction of Internet and TV access in the home aids in teaching this to children because it removes access to things that distract from what we are to focus on, which is Christ. But we must be careful not to swing to far in the legalistic direction which does not teach about the grace of Christ, but simply provides a law which will certainly awaken sin in our children. Such legalism in the home can unfortunately lead to even firmer enslavement to the sins of pornography outside the home. The law only identifies the sin, which is half the battle. Only Christ sets us (and our children) free.

"For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code" (Romans 7:5-6, ESV).

In Galatians, Paul refers to the law as our "guardian," set in place for our protection. When we present a rule or a law to our children, it is for their protection against a particular sin, until they learn to rely on Christ's strength to overcome temptation toward that sin, at which point true freedom is gained. The law is only a guardian for the child, but it is not enough, because the law protects, but it also enslaves. And only through Christ can freedom from the imprisonment of the law be achieved, because he fulfilled the law, which we and our children can never do.

Dear Clint,

It is possible to screen your internet usage for anyone or any device that uses your home network. Many of us from church use opendns.com.

It works well.

Love,

Philip

I'm with Alex on this. It's funny because when I was a non-Christian kid, I used to think the legalistic Christians were nuts. One such friend became an atheist professor in the spirit of Peter Singer. So I know legalism doesn't work.

However, I have worked to make my home a haven from temptation for my kids. Not as a place where they will be safe and am afraid to let them out into the world, but a place where they can rest reasonably well from the sin that so easily entangles us.

Filters will always fail, especially if a kid hasn't had his heart trained and is seeking evil.

I had read Michael's post when it was on Facebook or someplace. It's a good one, and a good reminder of what we all know but don't think of very often, that we must teach our sons restraint and self-control above all things. As my sons' father, I am thankful I'm not relying on my own self-restraint as an example but rather Christ.

It's a scary time when your kids become teen-agers. A very Godly man with similarly godly grown children told me recently, "Your kids will lie to you, you will find out years later and often never but have faith, stay the course." It was very encouraging.

So I keep teaching my kids in faith, hoping they're really getting it. We did Ephesians 5 for devotions tonight, pretty fitting.

-Clint

That was excellent, Alex, thank you. Please post here more often!

That legalism can't be the answer to this plague is fairly obvious when you see that the highest porn rate use is in UTAH...uh huh.

I started to post something, Barbara. But it got ate by the blog software, I guess.

I had said that David was there when the 12 year old boy we know got the iPod and he and Ginger encouraged the mother against it.

I don't think Alex and I are really opposed to each other here. I don't think what I'm advocating is legalism.

The question is one of risk to value ratio. Playboy may have good articles (isn't that the joke that's always made) - but we wouldn't give them to our sons because the articles surely aren't that good and they're right next to obscenity. The Net may be good but it's one click away from obscenity that is surely far worse than what's what's shown in Playboy. Also in the public schools many teachers are pushing that things like Playboy be called "art" - and in fact, when teachers ask that nude art be unblocked from the filters for limited specific academic freedoms, we have to unblock it. So for those of you with kids in public schools, be aware.

Now, I know no one who would call their friend a legalist for not allowing their 12 year old to have Playboy. They wouldn't say, "Just train your son's heart to only look at the articles."

The Web is that dangerous, even with filters. I want to make sure my kids are well trained before I throw them to the wolves. My sons/kids probably won't get a device that can get on the web until they're at least 16 and then I'll watch them darned closely and train as we go. But at 12 this is training from off the court, then at 16 they're in the game but you're still coaching.

-Clint

"1 out of 3 porn users are female."

My wife and I have been talking about this for a couple months now. We suspect that the major draw to porn for women is learning how to perform up to the desires and expectations of their bored, porn-saturated partners. We can't just assume a direct translation of desire and motivation in the majority of cases. Women are still fundamentally different than men.

With that, I still would argue that eating disorders are likely to be as much of a corollary issue for women. Consistent statistics there are difficult to track down, though.

"We suspect that the major draw to porn for women is learning how to perform up to the desires and expectations of their bored, porn-saturated partners."

That is what I was thinking.

I actually talked with the dad about his 12 year old and the iPod today. I said, "This may offend you but, I don't think it's a good idea your son having the iPod" and he said, "Why would that offend me, you have a good point. I'm not sure I like it."

> "learning how to perform up to the desires and expectations"

That's one of the things my friend said.

Also, I've heard quite a few sad stories from families where porn has destroyed their parents or their marriages and these men often talk their wives into viewing so that they can pretend it's Godly in the context of marriage. Many such men have been officers in their churches.

Nowadays men have eating disorders and women are taking steroids, it's fried. All around everyone's evaluating everything by standards set forth in all media outlets, the net is now competing with TV as the dominant cultural outlet.

And those standards are that sex is everything and with sex anything goes and has no standards. That's the world's shifting sand.

This issue has it's roots into everything. Once again, we've got to work on multiple fronts to train and protect our kids.

-Clint

>>We suspect that the major draw to porn for women is learning how to perform up to the desires and expectations of their bored, porn-saturated partners.<<

But, in the end, these women are left feeling less than adequate, less than perfect, and completely inferior to the screen woman they are competing with. It's a losing battle, and sure to be the destruction of the marriage bed.

Even though women ARE fundamentally different from men, I wonder if the women who are looking at porn are doing so more because they have been so twisted away from their nature by an inverted culture that they are believing what the glitzy women's magazines tell them: the only life worth living is the orgasmic life, and, to be completed as a sexual being in this day and age, always will mean having impersonal sexual experiences with the flat screen.

That makes sense. Also, I have noticed that women increasingly look at men the way men have traditionally looked at women, physically.

This is an advertising-based cycle. A man can be sold to just by selling him a sexy woman. A woman needs a story, romance etc. That's harder to encapsulate into an ad. Also, as gay men begin to look at men as men used to look at women then companies like Abercrombie can advertise to everyone using the same ads. These companies are transforming our sexual responses to sell stupid clothes.

Once again instead of "diversity" we're getting a flattening, turning us into generic widgets that will fit any plans they have.

1778 Interchangeable Parts, 2010 Interchangeable People.

-Clint

I have a feeling that a major contributor to women viewing pornography is that they have been victimized by someone in their past who used it to "introduce" them to this way of life. This particular sin has a way of rewiring the brain of the viewer, especially those of young children. It would be of value if someone could question these people further (both men and women) and find out how many of them were fed this poison at a young age by a predator.

I've seen legalism brought up a few times here, regarding keeping our children from certain media sources. But I'm really wondering: What is the difference between using common sense (when restricting your child's use of media) and legalism?

I'm not sure if it's common sense vs. legalism necessarily. What it is is 1. Do we know the enemy? and 2. Do we know our Savior?

If all of our armor is in the front, to protect from outside sources, we leave our backside uncovered to the attacks from our own wicked hearts. That is where we must teach ourselves and our children to fight the fiercest battles. And it IS a battle, which means not only having armor on, but taking up the sword against it...over and over and over...

Now, having said that, it is easy to put our faith in our protection, or even in our own fighting against it, but we MUST put our faith in Christ, who has already faced every temptation and won! I know from experience that temptation will come no matter what. I grew up in a Christian home with no pornography, no cable TV, no internet (pre-internet) and yet I stumbled upon it as a child after finding magazines in the woods in our neighborhood. Had I been able to discuss it with my parents, it might not have haunted me as much as it did. Had my parents taught me more about the sinfulness of my own heart, maybe I would have fought against it more. But the point is, Christ saves and redeems! The battle is the Lord's - whether the battle is raging in my own heart or the heart of our children.

Yes, we have faith in Christ so we setup reasonable protections in Faith not in Fear. We teach our children from scripture in Faith rather than Fear.

Our faith gives us the power to do what we need to do. In faith you can setup standards and boundaries knowing that your children will be safe rather than awakened to sin, in faith you can let your children out into the world knowing that your heart training from scripture in the Holy Spirit is going to be effective.

We also have faith knowing that when our kids inevitably stumble that God will restore them.

-Clint

Rebecca,

Yes, there is a difference between common sense and legalism.

First of all, it is difficult to define what you refer to as "common sense." As a Christian, I assume that you simply mean protecting our children from the wickedness of the world in such sensical ways like not allowing our children to have free reign on the Internet. This common sense is good in the same way that Paul says the law is good. The law is good and true, but it only identifies sin; it does not save. Prohibiting our children from access to sexually explicit material is common sense to a Christian, and it is a good practice. However, it becomes legalism if we think this prohibition alone saves our children from the dangers of pornography entirely. The law has no power to save, but it just identifies sin, and even awakens it! When providing such a law to our children, we are required to be clear about why it is wrong, and also preach to our children the gospel by offering freedom from this sin through Christ.

I guess that you could say that "common sense" is like the law ("the elementary principles of this world" Galatians 4:3). Legalism is the law without the promise. It's what the Pharisees fell into because they forgot about the promise. They believed that their righteousness could save them. So, common sense is not in and of itself bad; legalism is. But, common sense alone is weak; only the Holy Spirit actually gives power over sin.

Alex

Thank you, Alex, for your clarification.

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