I’m so tired of hearing about this! It breaks my heart when I see the grip it has on Christian leaders, and it kills me knowing that our youth groups are full of teenagers who are dying in this battle/struggle.
I meet every week with a small group of 10th grade guys whom I love deeply. They’re great kids, yet I know every single one of them struggles with lust/porn and is always one click away from a self-defeating spiral. This trap has a cost!
Neighboring youth worker and apologist Sean McDowell wrote an interesting post on The Social Costs of Pornography. He writes:
Today’s pornography is different from any in the past in three ways. (1) Accessibility. The Internet has made porn ubiquitous. (2) Quality. Today’s porn is much more hardcore. (3) Consumption. Porn consumption has increased radically with the advent of the Internet. 69 percent of men and 10 percent of women report viewing pornography more than once a month. 87 percent of men admit using it in the past year. The researchers conclude, “In sum, there is evidence that more people—children, adolescents and adults—are consuming pornography—sporadically, inadvertently or chronically—than every before”.
Here are a few actions you and I might consider taking to help the awesome teenagers who are entrusted to our care and looking for help.
Be educated.Even if you are one of those who isn’t/hasn’t/won’t be tempted by pornography—that’s great…but, recognize that you’re in the minority. Don’t assume it’s not an issue for your teenagers. Get the facts. Do your homework. Know what’s happening.
Model accountability.I know there are dozens of great software and filter options out there, but I love the software developed by XXXchurch.com because it promotes accountability. We’re only as sick as our secrets, and this software shares your “secret” with a friend—it forces you to talk about it when you fail. Check it out—for $7 a month it should be mandatory for family computers.
Talk openly.I took a risk when my small group was in 9th grade and said, “I’m just going to assume that pornography is an issue in your life. If it’s not, let us know—that’s great. But, based on my conversations with a lot of guys—I’m betting that you struggle with it.” Wow! That risk paid off. Great conversations followed. Guys signed each other for filters and accountability and it’s now an open subject in our small group. There was healing in them knowing that they’re not alone.
I know there’s a lot more that could be written and discussed and that’s why the rest of this week on this blog will be “porn week” (not as much fun as “shark week” but just as dangerous).
Question: What are you doing to help the students in your ministry in dealing with pornography?