When My Son Learned About Extreme Porn From a Fellow 5th Grader

Your kids are NOT safe from porn, and it’s time to get in the fight to protect them.

A couple of weeks ago I was treated to a glorious, rare night out with a mom friend. It was so great to just be out together and talk without being interrupted. But of course, as mom conversations tend to always circle back to a particular topic, we were soon discussing our kids. Specifically, we began to talk about the technology-related problems we have as parents that our parents simply didn’t have. I just turned 40 and she will be there soon. We were the last group of kids to grow up without internet…slogging through college with dial-up AOL and getting our first (very, very, not smart) cell phones around age 21. Our parents didn’t have to worry about us having porn at our fingertips or befriending predatory strangers online: it simply wasn’t a “thing” back then.

As we talked about protecting our kids from porn in particular, she told me a story that knocked the wind out of me. I know I should not be surprised by these anecdotes, but I was. And similarly, she and her husband were completely caught off guard when their 5th grade son came to them and told them what had happened.

During the school day, at a time when he and a friend were in a scenario where they could chat and talk without a grown-up overhearing (how many times does this occur? On the bus, between classes at lockers, at recess or lunch…), a friend said to him, “Have you ever seen extreme porn? You should! Just get on YouTube and search ‘rape’ and you can watch it.”

These boys are in the 5th grade. Ten to eleven years old.

My stomach hit my feet when she told me that. She and her husband did inform the school principal about the incident, and it was basically related to them that, “Well, this child is the youngest of a large family of boys, so…”

SO? So, that’s it? That’s just the way it is now? Encouraging your pals to watch women being raped online is now the normal school chatter if you have older brothers?

Parents, we HAVE to demand better for our kids. But I will get to that in a minute. First, I’d like to underscore the point that my friend’s son came and told her husband about the incident. The reason he did so is because before 5th grade, before the incident, he had been properly educated by his parents about what porn was, and he had been reassured that if he ever had QUESTIONS about it (or sex in general) that he would be safe and welcomed to come to them and ask or tell them about it.

This honestly, is the first step in protecting your kids from porn. And who knows what would have happened had my friend and her husband not taken that step long before their son’s friend extolled the benefits of “extreme porn” on the playground?

Secondly, I’d like to address what concerns me most as the mom of two boys AND a girl: I am terrified already for the health of my children’s marriages. Marriage is HARD ENOUGH on its own without the terrible, unrealistic sexual expectations that porn exposure places on it. How much porn will my daughter’s husband have seen before they themselves even have sex? How many damaged sexual expectations will have to be navigated through before they can enjoy a sexual relationship as God intended it to be? I wish with all my heart I could choose her husband now, from a very diligent family who raises him in a bubble. I mean, I guess I’m only half-serious when I say that, but…it sounds kinda good. And my sons…I will do whatever I can to shield their eyes and their HEARTS from the unrealistic, violent, ugly sexual treatment of women. From their instincts and reactions being trained to want fake porn star actresses instead of real women with vulnerable hearts and beautifully flawed bodies. Jesus, please, please, help me be vigilant.

Porn is bad for many reasons, not the least of which is, it changes your brain. You can find OODLES of peer-reviewed research about this at Fight the New Drug, and I cannot encourage you any more strongly to do so. Here are a few facts from these studies:

How porn changes the brain:

Repeated consumption of porn causes the brain to literally rewire itself. It triggers the brain to pump out chemicals and form new nerve pathways, leading to profound and lasting changes in the brain.”

“Porn happens to be fantastic at forming new, long-lasting pathways in the brain. In fact, porn is such a ferocious competitor that hardly any other activity can compete with it, including actual sex with a real partner.”

How porn hurts the users’ partner:

“Two of the most respected pornography researchers, Jennings Bryant and Dolf Zillman at the University of Alabama, studied the effects of porn and media for more than 30 years. They found that consuming pornography makes many individuals less satisfied with their own partners’ physical appearance, sexual performance, sexual curiosity, and affection. They also found that, over time, many porn users grow more callous toward females in general, less likely to value monogamy and marriage, and more likely to develop distorted perceptions of sexuality.”

“Women are also generally portrayed as anxious for sex anywhere, at any time, with anyone, and they are delighted to go as long and aggressively as one man or multiple men want. They always climax, usually loudly and ecstatically, and then are immediately ready for more. They never get tired or sore. They never need a break. In fact, they never seem to need anything at all except endless sex. They are depicted as happy with whatever a man wants to do, even if it’s dangerous, painful, or humiliating.”

(Is this the expectation you want put upon your daughters!??!)

Moms and dads, this is SERIOUS business—as is the porn industry. It is a multi-billion dollar a year industry, in large part because porn is so addictive. And the porn industry LOVES to get its users started young, so they can have an addicted user willing to pay for it their whole life long. They are already grooming your children to become their best customers.

I’ve written and published plenty of articles on HOW to protect your kids from porn. I’ll link them below, but please don’t forget: YOU and your openness to TALK about with your kids is the FIRST line of defense in the war against porn taking a hold on your child’s heart.

Gear up, moms and dads. The battle started a long time ago, and we cannot sit this one out.

Protect your kids! Read these next:

To the Mom Down the Street With the Porn Problem

A Mom’s Letter to Her Sons About Porn

The Day My 8-Year-Old Was Exposed to Pornography, and What I Did About It

Instagram’s Insta-Porn Problem

How Our Culture Is Grooming Our Daughters For Porn

Jenny Rapson
Jenny Rapson is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and the editor of For Every Mom. You can email her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter.

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