Five faulty assumptions parents make about Internet porn
by Dan Copeland
Many of us are aware that Internet pornography is a growing threat to our families. But sadly, many Christians are hesitant to talk openly about this problem, and many myths persist about it. Here is the truth about five of the most common myths I hear among Christians regarding pornography.
Myth #1: Porn pop-up ads are normal. When parents who have porn pop-ups on their computers mention it to friends, they hear, “Oh yeah, that happened to me too. Hackers do that stuff. It’s normal.”
Truth: Files accidentally downloaded while browsing pornographic websites activate pop-up ads. It is exceedingly rare for a pornographic pop-up ad to appear without your computer having accessed porn. If your computer has such an ad, it’s a safe bet someone used it to view porn.
Myth #2: Marriage is a solution to pornography addiction. Many young men have misunderstood I Corinthians 7:36 as suggesting that marriage is an easy fix for a lust problem.
Truth: Pornography affects your brain differently than real sex. With pornography, you get what you want, when you want it, how you want it. You train your brain to associate sexual pleasure with self-gratification, and the simple fact is that real sex with the woman you love won’t produce the same kind of satisfaction you have trained your brain to crave.
Myth #3: Porn is a teenage and young adult problem.
Truth: Numerous studies reveal that many kids have their first exposure to pornography before 12 years of age. One example is Elizabeth M. Morgan’s study, “Association between young adults’ use of sexually explicit materials and their sexual preferences, behaviors, and satisfaction,” published in 2011 in the Journal of Sex Research.
However, we need to be aware that these studies are addressing “x-rated” pornography. Children are typically exposed to “soft-core” pornography every time they pass a magazine rack. Rest assured that your eight-year-old has taken note of the raunchy poses and captions plastered on magazines at the grocery store. Such pictures and captions can ignite your youngster’s curiosity, which leads us to the fourth myth.
Myth #4: My child is too young to look at porn.
Truth: Kids may think kissing is gross, but they are still curious about the great mystery of sex. Children learn from a very young age that the answer to nearly every question is available on the Internet. Once they are smart enough to sound out easy four-letter words, they can “Google” new vocabulary any time. Sadly, if you put a random “dirty” word into a search engine, the top results will be pornographic.
Myth #5: Accountability software doesn’t really work. Several quality accountability programs exist which record Internet activity and report it to a third party. Sadly, they get a bad rap from people who think simply downloading a program is the end of their struggle with pornography addiction.
Truth: Accountability software only works when you put work into it! If you want to use such software to protect your family, you have to do your homework. When you get the activity reports, look over them and ask questions. If you are personally struggling, then choose an accountability partner who is willing to really hold you accountable.
Internet pornography is a growing problem, and we have good reasons to fear it. But God doesn’t call us to fear. He calls us to action. It takes effort to protect our families and ourselves, and when we do the work, future generations will benefit greatly.
Dan Copeland, a member of Bethesda Church in Huron, SD, teaches Bible at James Valley Christian School, a private high school in Huron, and hosts stopthepornpandemic.com. He is a graduate of Sangre de Cristo Seminary, Westcliffe, Colo., and served as a youth pastor for four years before being called to Christian education.