GenEd: “After Porn Wins”: How Delusions of Censorship Are Destroying Our Kids

Your children already KNOW.

Parents: it seems that some of you aren’t aware, so somebody has to tell you. I suppose I will. For your information, your children already KNOW.

They know what sex it. What porn is. What a blowjob is. Many have even already viewed such content, either on one of an estimated 70 billion adult websites or through social media sharing. With any given Google search or social media click, they’re one step closer to a maelstrom of disturbing material, ranging from sex and violence to racism to extremism to suicide.

 Gone are the days when explicit sexual content was shelved high up in paper envelopes or stowed in the back rooms of video stores…things have gotten quite literally out of control.

Take pornography, for instance. Despite its thousands of years of existence, its mutation over the last ten is troubling, to say the least. Gone are the days when explicit sexual content was shelved high up in paper envelopes or stowed in the back rooms of video stores, when “parental controls” walled out the horrors of profanity and violence, and when parents chose who their children befriended and interacted with. Now—especially with regard to sexual exposure—things have gotten quite literally out of control.

Despite its harms, one of the great benefits of modern technology is its unprecedented collection and production of DATA, which can reveal a LOT about what our children do online.

We know, for instance, that boys are first exposed to porn from as early as eight or nine years of age, and that an estimated 93 percent of boys and 62 percent of girls will have viewed porn by age 18.

23 percent of boys and 8 percent of girls say they have tried to stop, but could not.

And mind you, this is 21st-century porn. We’re no longer talking about centerfolds in a magazine or a sexy voice on the other line charging five dollars per minute. No, this is full-stream hardcore HD 4K VR PMV compilations brandishing surgically-engineered drug-pumped freak-of-nature silicone models performing inexplicable acrobatic feats of infidelity, incest, rape, group sex, and implied sex with minors. And that, by the way, is the mainstream.

We also know that children are disturbed by it!

In her groundbreaking book The Cyber Effect, cyberpsychologist Dr. Mary Aiken cites a comprehensive EU survey which compiled nearly ten thousand responses from children, asking them if they or their friends had ever been “bothered” or “upset” by something they’d seen online. Responses varied from violence to bullying, but the most commonly-reported thing troubling eight- to twelve-year-olds was pornography. By THEIR OWN admission!

Aiken explains, “…within a few seconds of searching on the Internet, a child can come into contact with the adult world in a shocking variety of ways—which can leave them disturbed or, as the EU study says, ‘bothered.’”

This is the bottom line: Children are encountering explicit content and KNOW that it’s harmful.

Yes. Talk to your kids. About. SEX.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Not MY Child”.

Really? Why not?

Do your children have access to the Internet? To Wi-Fi? To Google? To a cell phone?

More concerning, can you definitively confirm that they DON’T?

I’m not here to proselytize my moral outlook on pornography. That is none of my business. But what IS my business—as an educator and a community member—is to call attention to child abuse when I see it. And when children and teens are admittedly complaining from exposure to “upsetting, intrusive, or inappropriate” content, then we as adults must address it.

The only question is, how?

Frankly, here is the only option you have: Talk to your kids.

Yes. Talk to your kids. About. SEX.

If you’re still reading this and haven’t yet dismissed me as “crazy”, then I’ll inform you that what’s “crazy” in 21st-century upbringing is to think that you even COULD control your child’s exposure to information.

Not anymore.

Rather than trying to shelter our children from information, we must instead teach them—and ourselves—how to deal with it.

If censorship has ever served a productive purpose (and I sincerely doubt that it has), then it is no longer a viable defense against the dangers of the Internet. Children and just about everyone else WILL. HAVE. ACCESS. despite your most ingenious and vigilant efforts. Attempts at censorship in this day and age are futile, naive, and—to put it bluntly—foolish.

Rather than trying to shelter our children from information, we must instead teach them—and ourselves—how to deal with it: how to process it, recognize its dangers, and synthesize its content to establish truth.

So, talk to your kids. If you won’t do the talking, then let an expert do it for you.

Sit down with your boys and watch the TEDx talks “The great porn experiment” by Gary Wilson and “Why I stopped watching porn” by Ran Gavrieli, or even the shorter, more simplified “The Science of Pornography Addiction” on YouTube’s AsapSCIENCE channel.

Talk to your girls about social media and sharing, about their value as a human being independent of “likes” or physical appearance. Watch the TED talks “Looks aren’t everything. Believe me, I’m a model” by Cameron Russell and “What does it mean to be beautiful?” by Esther Honig.

Beat them to the race. You don’t have an alternative.

  1. Thank you for this important article!

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