I went to an excellent seminar by Christian sexologist, Patricia Weerakoon Monday last week (patriciaweerakoon.com). The main topic she covered was about pornography.
The point that struck me the hardest was how naive Christian parents can be, in her experience, about what their children are accessing on their phones/tablets/computers. One pastor at the seminar, who works with teenagers, expressed despair over how little he was able to help teenage boys because their parents were not engaged in the fight.
The average age of exposure to pornography in Australia is 11 years old. Remember that’s an average, so it is easily much younger than 11 for many Australians. I remember hearing someone say that giving your children free access to a smart phone is like giving them free access to crack cocaine (because of the potential for addiction and psychological harm).
Patricia made the point that ‘the emotional brain’ kicks in at puberty but ‘the control brain’ doesn’t kick in until the age of 24. This means that teenagers can easily be enslaved by their hormones and struggle desperately to exercise self-control. Her conclusion was that parents need to step in and take the role of ‘the control brain’ in these situations.
Patricia has written 4 books about sex aimed at four different age groups:
- Birds and Bees By the Book (set of 6) – for ages 7-10.
- Growing Up By the Book – for ages 11-14.
- Teen Sex By the Book – for ages 15-19.
- The Best Sex for Life – for ages 20+.
Her advice to parents of early teens is to read the relevant book before passing it on and then discuss. The best advice I can give to adults or teenagers about pornography is this:
- Install accountability and filter software (www.covenanteyes.com).
- Visit www.patriciaweerakoon.com or www.resistporn.org for more resources.
- Radically restrict access to apps and websites (I mean radical!).
- Consider instituting regular fasts from technology – Facebook, YouTube, etc.
- Meet regularly with trusted Christians for frank accountability conversations.
Unfortunately, filter and accountability software can be easily averted, which is why it takes active engagement of parents and teenagers alike. Sites or apps that are problematic (eg. that come up on accountability reports) need to be added to the restricted list. Often you will need to email Covenant Eyes to ask how to ensure a particular site can be blocked/allowed.
If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell (Matt 5:29).
The ultimate answer is Jesus, the pearl of great price, for whom we can sell everything with great joy because of how much better his ways are than any other way. For those who are stuck in the fight, be encouraged:
If we confess our sins he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9).
He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)