3 Things Parents Must Do to Protect Our Kids Online

This week, my husband and I attended a movie called “Over 18”,  which is a documentary that talks about the harmfulness of the porn industry, particularly to children and youth. We both came away from the film rather discouraged.

It’s a big system, designed to create addiction so that it can make more money.

Studies show that 90% of boys and 60% of girls have been exposed to internet pornography before 18. Say WHAT? I just want to put masks over my little boys’ eyes forever.

The most powerful testimony in the movie was the 13 year old boy who became addicted to pornography at age 8. ? That’s not a typo.

Age 8.

And it all happened on the computer in the kitchen, while being homeschooled by his loving Christian parents. These were not negligent parents. They were normal, loving parents, just like you and me. And their boy spiralled into this horrible addiction, feeding the monster in 30 second to 5 minute intervals when his mom had turned her back.

Many kids online stumble on pornography accidentally, or because a kid down the street said “guess what you can look up on the internet?!”. But while it may start out innocent, children and youth are extra vulnerable to addiction because of the way the human brain develops.

Why is that?

I had to do a little research, and here’s what I found out:

Exposure to pornography stimulates the pleasure centres in a the brain. Dopamine is released, which helps the brain remember what made it feel so great, and can lead to cravings for more of the same. (This is the same thing that happens when brains are exposed to drugs.) <–This is really simplistic, and if you want to read more stuff that sounds a lot smarter, you can check out these articles

This reward system is fully matured in the early teens, which is not so great because the part of the brain that makes good choices (the prefrontal cortex) doesn’t fully develop until our 20s. This cautionary part of our brain is what keeps most people from getting thoroughly addicted to drugs or pornography. It’s the part that says “wait, this might feel good but it’s not good for me”.

(Here’s a good article about addiction in teens)

That, my friends, is a recipe for a cultural disaster.

Faithful young men walk into the pastor’s office, stating that they’re addicted to pornography. Teen boys get arrested on their first date because they thought girlfriends got turned on by choking. Husbands feel no attraction to their wives. Women can become addicted too, but even if they’re not, women of all ages feel degraded and objectified. This industry is POWERFUL.

Doesn’t it make you want to scream? It makes me want to scream and vomit at the same time.

What can faithful parents do when faced with this horrifying monster?

How to protect our kids online:

  1. Pray

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)

Our fight is not against the humans who run the pornography industry, it’s not against the actors, and it’s not against the internet. It’s against the enemy, the thief who comes to kill and destroy.

He has already been defeated (remember, in John 16:33 Jesus said he has already overcome the world!), but the enemy is going down kicking and screaming.

Christie Thomas
Christie Thomas
Christie Thomas lives in Canada with her family of boys and their pet fish. She writes about faith and family at www.christiethomaswriter.com and is the author of Quinn’s Promise Rock and an interactive devotional book for preschoolers, Wise For Salvation.

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