My first experience with porn came as a child, when neighborhood boys showed me their stash of Playboy magazines in an old garage. I don't think I was older than 8 years old. Neither were they, sadly. You may think porn was all harmless back then, right? Then ask me why the incident is still burned into my brain. Most children can recall their first initiation with porn. I wonder what my father would have done had he knew? I never told him or my mother about it. Had I done so, maybe those boys' parents would have done something right by them.
Today, the scourge of porn continues its quiet take down of American society. With so many other things you have to worry about today, do you really need to address this as well? Yes. You do. We all do. We cannot become de-sensitized in thinking this is no big deal.
Porn erodes modesty, denigrates respect between men and women, lowers the dignity and value of human person to a utilitarian object, and steals time and trust between spouses, friends, parents and children. And that's just the beginning.
A porn addiction can lead to sexual assault, arrest, loss of income or employment, other additions, violence, murder, or suicide.
Through the years, as a former youth minister, and later as a mother, I've dealt with porn surfacing in the lives of the teens I know and love. And some of that was back before the internet was in so many homes and linked via our smart phones. Really, don't get me started: my own children have lived on college campuses where internet porn is rampant in dorms, despite firewall protections against it.
Parents: software that blocks porn is good, but nothing is perfect. You must check your family's computer histories to verify what sites your children and teens are visiting. Like the old saying goes: "Trust, but verify."
Vigilance. Concern. Love. Call it what you will. We must put a hedge of protection around our vulnerable youngsters, while at the same time, appropriately acquainting our older children with the dangers.
Here is some important reading:
"The Weight of Smut" by Mary Eberstadt (Must reading!)
Is Pornography Addictive? On Wed MD.
PornNoMore.com - Catholic support for recovery from porn.
Breaking Free Blog, from Covenant Eyes - help for internet integrity and keeping away from porn, plus porn recovery tools.
Here's a CNN video interview with a sociologist from Wheelock College, Gail Dines about "Has Porn Has Hijacked Sexuality". Dines is author of a book, Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality.
Warning: Mature subject matter, viewer discretion advised!