Curiosity killed the cat, and it almost got me too.
An innocent middle schooler, I was laying down to go to sleep, mindlessly gazing through Twitter, when a handle titled “Sex talk” popped up. With the click of a button, pornography flooded my screen.
As countless images and videos blind-sided me, the curiosity grew. I found myself overwhelmed with the unknown of what was happening.
"What is this? Is this normal?" I thought.
Unfortunately, it is. According to Fight the New Drug, the current age of a child’s “first look” of pornography is between ages 9 and 11; leading to true addiction before the age of 18.
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation found 26% of adolescents ages 13-17 seek out pornography weekly. Younger brains are more susceptible to addiction, objectifying women, casual sexual exploration, and many other risk factors.
The stats are alarming. In our hypersexualized world, little is left to the imagination; putting your children at risk of the dangers of pornography. Those dangers include commending degradation of women, their well-being, and the abuse they face. Another danger is the risk of addiction and desire for casual sexual exploration which can lead to STDs or unwanted pregnancies.
Pornography destroys marriages, minds, and minors.
Train up your child
"Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it" (Proverbs 22:6).
Merriam Webster defines pornography as “Material depicting erotic behavior intended to cause sexual excitement.”
As a child, I was clueless about what sexual excitement was, let alone pornography. If children aren’t taught to understand the dangers of pornography, how will they react?
I recently read Good Pictures, Bad Pictures, addressing pornography for three to five-year-olds. They recommend teaching kids what their “private parts” are by defining what is covered by a bathing suit. In teaching the importance of private parts, private, they realize it’s wrong when they see such things.
Curiosity kept me engaged. Teaching the truth about anatomical body parts and God's design for sex, we lessen curiosity. It won’t erase the images but it becomes easier to identify what is to be saved for a spouse's eyes. I wasn’t looking for porn in my bedroom. Odds are, your children aren’t either. In teaching God’s design for marriage and the body, we gently show them how pornography is dangerous. Prevention is possible when we stand in the gap and teach our kids the truth of biblical principles.
Standing in the gap
"These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates" (Deuteronomy 6:6-9).
Your children need both parents and judges. But after they understand what pornography is, it’s important they feel comfortable enough to discuss what they’ve seen. What you do in the moments after hearing your child has been exposed makes a difference. Shame should never be the answer. Do they feel comfortable enough to tell you what they saw? Or will they be too ashamed to bring it up?
When children realize something is wrong, they are often quick to shut it down. Don’t let curiosity win, teach them before and let them know the importance of our bodies before the Lord. Parents, it’s your job to protect and raise a family that respects others and the Lord.
We are being called to the front line. We have to take our children’s hands and guide them into the way of the righteous. Knowing is half the battle, acknowledging the harm that comes from pornography and seeking to protect the innocence – we’re putting up the good fight.
When our children are exposed to pornography, we cannot undo that exposure, but we can stop the second or third. Ignorance never brings change, but knowledge can allow for a better, safer tomorrow.
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will" (Romans 12:2).
This article originally appeared on The Stand.