The world is so very broken! As a counselor, I hear story after story of brokenness within self and in families, relationships, work, church (yes, even in churches) and communities. We watch the news and read postings on social media that have us hanging our heads in disbelief, sadness, disgust and even fear. We live at a break-neck pace that has everyone exhausted, angry, and lost. We seek out ways to escape all these negative feelings and fears. Pornography is one of many escapes.
Just today I heard of a young teen girl who has been using her smart phone at midnight to talk with an “older teenage girl from a neighboring country” about movie scripts (some app where kids play a game about writing and staging movies). How does this young teen know who she is really talking to? And why at midnight? I know this teen is not the only one doing this.
Kids, today, think they need their phones just like they need oxygen. The fastest way to find out if this statement is true is just try taking their phone away from them. You will quickly encounter great resistance in all forms including the line – “It is my right to have MY phone!!” They desire to “stay connected” and to “fit in” with their peers. Yet, I suspect they know they are doing things their parents would not approve of.
This same young teen, who’s parent “snooped” to see what text conversations are occurring and websites are being visited, was Googling such topics as “Is it okay for a 12-13 year old girl to masturbate?”, “pornography – including lesbian sites”, and “how to delete your text conversations using [specific app].” Why would a 12-13 year old girl be interested in these topics? Curiosity for sure, but there may be more to it that that. They will often say, “I need to talk to my friends.” And why doesn’t this teen want her parents to see her phone?
Anything done in secret is usually not good. We tend to keep secrets when something more is going on and we don’t want anyone to know about it. I certainly remember for myself how in my own discovery of pornography, I didn’t want anyone to know about my curiosity and interest in it. I knew what I was doing was wrong so I kept it hidden. The curiosity led to viewing more porn and before I knew it, I was looking daily. What ultimately happened was the pornography and secrets controlled me. I thought I was in control, but I wasn’t. Looking at pornography became an obsession for me. I lusted for more and more, even as it no longer satisfied.
An organization called Fight The New Drug identifies 3 ways that pornography is harmful. Porn affects the brain. It affects relationships. And it affects society. They also provide research results, info-graphics (see at left), and a blog about everything related to the effects of porn on individuals, relationships and society.
Teens quickly develop a need to view porn on a regular basis, much like the need to eat, drink and bond. The dopamine rush in the brain when viewing porn is exciting for the viewer, and by incorporating masturbation with the porn, the sexual arousal leads to wanting more and more. The addiction cycle is quickly developed because the reward center of the brain remembers what is pleasurable. It feels amazing, but the shame of doing something wrong is huge.
So as I hear stories of teens viewing porn and hiding things on their smart phones and tablets, I want to educate parents, kids and our churches and communities about how dangerous the grip pornography has on changing how we think, behave and ultimately believe. Smart phones are not needed like oxygen is needed to live. We are being lied to be the commercialism our culture promotes because pornography is not needed; it is a counterfeit relationship. Porn kills love!
So all this being said, I am writing to help you understand that porn is harmful! I want to get the word out so that others do not need to walk the journey of porn and sex addiction alone! I and many others will walk through this with you! Let someone know that you are struggling. There is help and you can overcome it.