This Means War: A Mad Mama’s Thoughts On Pornography

When I hear advice on a stage of parenting that I am not yet in, I will tuck it away for later. I might remember the faint smell of it after a situation with one of my children and think, ‘Oh, that’s what that was about.’
A couple of months ago, a friend sent me a long text detailing a mess her son had gotten into. She was loving about it, not wanting to throw him under the bus but said her hopes were ‘to pass this along in hopes that it will help you prevent the same trouble.
I prayed for my friend and her son and probably immediately (and in all seriousness) thought how awful that was and how thankful I was to not be dealing with the same yucky thing.
But I would be speaking too soon.
Last week the world pressed in on my family. Pressed in is really the wrong word. Assaulted is the better one.
And this mama is mad.
The same baby I have fed, kissed the lips off of, kept lathered in lavender baby lotion and watched grow into a beautiful human…was invited to view filth on an iphone.
You might wonder who, much as I did, immediately wanting to hurt one who had hurt mine.
Who?
It wasn’t the child who is the usual troublemaker or from a family in difficult times or from an older kid at the junior high.
The one who put filth before my child looks just like my child.
You probably go to church with him.
You see him every day in the pick-up line and you wave to him because he is always there, talking to your son. He’s your best friend’s kid. He’s the smiley guy who waves at you when you come to eat lunch with your child.
He’s our son.
Here I want to clear up a couple things lest we be tempted to ‘Good ol’ Boy’ this into a youthful rite of passage and compare it to Uncle Jimmy’s Playboys behind the barn like back in the day:
1) Seriously?
2) It’s absolutely not the same thing anymore.
There are such long-term consequences to being pulled into online pornography that it can physically and emotionally shape a person (brain and behaviors).
Like a drug.
And I put this ugliness before you with the sure knowledge that this is coming for our children. It’s coming for our babies. I am going to be so bold as to say that if your child meets any one of the following criteria, they either have already been exposed or will be:
1) If your child has access to the internet through a phone, or a home computer or any other device.
2) If your child has friends at school.
Maybe you think you will never need this unsolicited and distasteful information. Maybe you will tuck this away for a time that you need it. Maybe you will remember it after.
My hope is that you won’t.
My hope is that you will get out your whetstone and you will take the blunt side of your arrow and you will sharpen it to a line so fine it cuts just to look at it.
You take aim and you go to war for your child. They are not equipped to fight for themselves. We are the ones who must engage for them. The war is here whether you pick up your weapon or not and our children will be the casualties.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children born of one’s youth. Psalm 127:4

*******************

I was graciously reminded that I had not given any advice. We are still right behind the learning curve. As far as preventive measures (apps and security, etc.), there are many mamas that know more about that. So what was the biggest thing I learned with my child (who, I would argue, has the most technologically-restrictive parents in the fifth grade) through this experience? Something kind of wonderful that my husband nailed as he thoughtfully chewed over everything that happened: ‘I realize more than ever that we have to be open to talking to our kids comfortably about everything.’
Everything.
So my advice? Figure out now how to talk about it before and after.
We had had the talk Before about all the things available for viewing on the internet.
The one After is the one that mattered more and will have the biggest impact on future decisions.
No accusations. No judgment. Only love and searching and praying together.
I saw our tight family get tighter this week.
And for that I say, ‘Thank You, Lord.’
And another friend sent me a private message reminding me that this isn’t restricted to this ugly stuff…Thank you, Jen.

And, please, feel free to private message me for deeper conversation or tips. I believe ours was best-case worstness.

********************

Statistics vary…but not by much. Here are a few I found:

*The average age of introduction to online pornography is now eight.
*By eighth grade, almost 100% of boys and 80% of girls have been exposed to online pornography.
*The neurochemical dopamine is central to all addictions. The amount of dopamine released in the brain when viewing pornography is similar to using drugs like cocaine.
*The brain actually begins to rewire itself because of the artificial stimulation it receives from pornography.

Check out more here: Fight the New Drug

20 COMMENTS

  1. Traci | 28th Mar 14

    Preach it sister! It makes my blood boil knowing what our kids are exposed to. Not only with viewable pornography, but I think words can stir the same kinds of feelings. And they are everywhere we turn. And to see the way the kids “talk” to each other sexually on fb, Instagram, and that stupid ask.fm. This momma is just as mad. I monitor not only my kid, but if I’m following your kid, I see what they are looking at too. And it frustrates me that the parents aren’t watching! Thank you for writing this!

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 28th Mar 14

      Traci,
      I was so mad this week I hadn’t thought about the words…you are so right. And, um, when my kids are old enough to be on myspacetagram…will you please follow them? I need you on my side. Thank you for your encouragement, sister.

  2. Lori Lehrmann | 28th Mar 14

    Oh, oh, oh. Nothing makes me madder. And yes, I know that is not a word. As momma & children’s minister I sometimes feel like we are fighting an uphill battle with this. I see it everywhere. I knew the statistics you posted. They sicken me. We need to be aware. We need to be armed. And like you said, we need to go to battle for our kids because if not they WILL become casualties. This is not a joking matter. We need to be involved. We need to know what they are looking at, texting (if they have access to a phone or even iPod touch or iPad), posting or taking pictures of. We can bury our heads in the sand no more. It’s time to step up & be “that momma”!!!!!

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 28th Mar 14

      Lori,
      I thought about you after I wrote this…hard conversations we have had before. The issues don’t stop at pornography…there is all that girl-bullying, too, right? Thankful to have you fighting with me. Interestingly, remember the conversation we had about how not everyone loves to work with the kids (like you do)…I felt something click in me this morning during this fight…hmmmmmm…I love you!

  3. Brenda | 28th Mar 14

    Oh Melissa! I am with you in this fight! I’m currently reading Elisa Morgan’s book The Beauty of Broken and it’s all I can do to keep reading. She writes about her own journey to raise godly kids and the impossibility of raising and protecting our kids from unhealthy choices– yet our responsibility to do our very best, pray, and love them like crazy. Praying over the hearts and minds of your sweet ones and for you mama! Keep fighting for them and loving them!

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 28th Mar 14

      Brenda, I can’t wait to pick up this book…you nailed it: it’s impossible to protect them. But the good part can come in immediately after. I was so thankful that 1) this happened now and that 2) it created the dialogue it created. It. Was. Redeeming. And has created such a bond and a VERY lasting impression. How can I be thankful this happened?! That’s God, right? Looking forward to talking to you soon! Thank you for your encouragement, sweet friend.

  4. Sarah Mae | 28th Mar 14

    Thank you, I appreciate your words and your passion. But here’s the thing, I didn’t hear any advice.

    How are you fighting? How are you dealing with this? I’d love your thoughts.

    For our family, our kiddos don’t get iPhones, Kindles, or computer game time except at the library where there is full view and not access to the Internet. Friends who come over with iPhones or Kindles we ask them not to bring them out or use them (I usually take them for safe keeping until they leave).

    We don’t let our kiddos go to friends houses without mom or dad.

    Now, these seems strict (they are), but our kiddos are young – our oldest is 8. I know somewhere they will stretch into more independence and it will be hard and I will have to loosen my mama grip. I know things have probably already slipped in that I am unaware of. I’m going to do my best to prepare them for situations that will most likely arise. We’ll have to talk about sex (we do, but in more detail as they get older), and we’ll have to have lots of conversations. I will do my best to fill them with Scripture and truth and wisdom, but at the end of the day, they will choose. Sometimes they will choose well, and sometimes they will not, so we’ll keep grace and honesty and openness at the forefront as best as possible.

    I don’t know how to raise kids in this culture, but I have to. Thankful for moms like you out there who care.

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 28th Mar 14

      Sarah Mae,
      You are right. I got so caught up in saying, ‘HEY! We have this thing here!’ that I didn’t give advice…only a name and statistics. And as I was writing, it felt huge and like I could learn from other mamas so it might have been part of a conversation started on questions I ask once a month. My oldest is 11 and, much like you, we are restrictive on internet and my kids do not have a phone. The biggest things I learned (and I will add this to my post…thank you) are 1) they will see it at some point 2)to have the conversation BEFORE (and we had) and 3) to have the conversation AFTER. This particular incident was handled beautifully by my cool-headed and spirit-guided husband who was able to facilitate conversations that generated amazing questions where the relevance is not just pinned on this subject. Consequences, choices, and God’s design for marriage and purity, importance of being a leader and how to handle it in the future…such.good.stuff. I was able to thank God almost immediately (almost :)) because I can see turning a corner here and early. Thank you for comment and advice. I really appreciate it.

  5. marianne pitchford | 28th Mar 14

    Yep!! This is one of my biggest soapboxes!! This is one of the MAIN reasons I do not feel kids need iphones, etc…with unfettered access to the internet!! So many people are naive in thinking that they have good kids….it is just not about that…good kid/bad kid….it can happen accidentally in the blink of an eye. I am on the same page with Sarah Mae. This is a great “heads up” article for we parents!! Thanks so much friend!

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 28th Mar 14

      Marianne,
      Amen and amen. And also…amen. And you are right…it isn’t good kid/bad kid. It’s every kid. So we better handle it. Mine don’t even have a phone and my bigs just got kindles last year WITHOUT internet (big time technology :)). Thank you for saying hello. Have I told you how much we miss you lately? Our retreats are not the same without you. But I love your pictures of Alaska!

  6. marianne pitchford | 28th Mar 14

    I think one of the cool things that I believe I got from Vicki, is that when there comes a time for phones/internet/etc…..that once it becomes family time in the evening, all that is shut down, phones collected and put away for the night, and there is a security there that is created for the family so the outside influences are at bay and there is none of the texting mania at all hours and screen time is avoided before bedtime, which actually inhibits sleep!! I loved that and shared it with a friend with 3 teenage boys. She said that after the initial balking and grumbling, it settled down and at one point her oldest (17) told her it felt good to be free from those things, that they actually were stressful at times and this was a safe way to tell friends/girls that no phoning or texting after a certain hour, putting it off on his parents gave him a liberating feeling. She says obviously it is not all roses, but really for the majority of the time it has been a positive change in their house! They have had issues with porn at some point too….I really try not to FREAK OUT about it….so hard, but ultimately it is better to be calm about it and address it much like you guys did!! Proud of you all! Oh, and we miss it too….so much…but so blessed to be here! We do go through our homesick spells!!

  7. Jill Tucker | 28th Mar 14

    Oh girlfriend, the ugly (disguised as beautiful women) spam that shows up on my phone. Good points!!!

  8. Anonymous | 29th Mar 14

    Pornography addiction killed my marriage of 15 years. He had also watched his dad (a minister) struggle with porn addiction all his growing up years.
    Proud of ya’ll for taking a stand against this heinous and destructive thing.

  9. ali | 31st Mar 14

    I’m just gonna meet you at starbucks when this happens…..oh my stars…..

  10. Stephanie | 31st Mar 14

    Can’t tell you how refreshing it us to see you turn this into an opportunity to help open the eyes of parents. It is an ugly topic and not a lot of people will embrace this as an opportunity to take steps for their own family protection. However, for those of us that have been affected by the disgusting nature of porn available today, this will continue to fuel our fight.
    It isn’t fun or easy to say out loud that your child has been tempted in this way. I can tell as a parent of a 16 and 11 year old, the battle doesn’t stop, ever. Sexting happens to good kids, boys and girls. Porn pops up in front of good kids. It is even hidden inside popular video games – be sure to read the online reviews before you buy.
    We have tried to evolve as parents and keep up with the technology and latest trends in apps. A few things we have learned are necessary in this battle:
    – laptops, iPods, iPads, etc. in their bedrooms or bathrooms ever.
    – phones are left in the kitchen before showers or bathroom breaks
    – phones are turned off and left charging each night in the kitchen.
    – ALWAYS monitor their phones, apps, and internet usage
    – read their text messages. Not every day but check periodically.
    – remove their ability to access the internet on their phone, don’t allow them to add or delete apps, and add restrictions on their phone to limit the explicit content that comes through. You can’t stop it all but this helps.
    – Check to see what time they are using their phones and for what purpose. You can see this online, at least with AT&T it’s very detailed
    – pay attention to that still small voice in your head. Every time this issue has surfaced in our home, and it has more than once, I knew something was wrong. Sad disposition in my son, not spending time with us in the evening, panic if his phone wasn’t in his hand, etc. As parents, especially moms, we know the hearts of our children. If you think something is off, don’t stop investigating until you figure it out.

    Satan is an evil attacker that won’t stop but he will never win. God is too mighty and He doesn’t give up either. His grace is enough!

    A lot of bad decisions happen behind closed doors, in the middle of the night, with good Christian friends, etc. As parents, we have to continue to pray and arm ourselves with knowledge.

  11. marianne pitchford | 31st Mar 14

    Stephanie, those ideas are awesome!! I copied and pasted them into a document and I am going to share them with anyone and everyone that will listen!! We need to be ever vigilant!!

  12. Nina | 11th Jan 15

    You got it girl! Some of my passionate friends who are fighting sex trafficking, modern day slavery and porn (and children involved in all 3) believe one missing tool is equipping us mamas and wives with the stats. It is happening, it will hurt or kill your marriage, it does contribute to this horrible industry that has women and children inslaved. Maybe we can put a dent in the education process through blogs.

    In the conversation with you! Today is trafficking awareness day! 1-11-15 🙂

  13. Mr. Cool | 11th Jan 15

    So how are you going to stop it?

  14. How to talk to Your Kids About Pornography | Melissa Blair | 13th Jan 15

    […] I didn’t even pay much attention to pornography until last March when it quietly, but firmly, knocked on the front door of my perfectly manicured suburban home (you can read about this mad mama’s experience here) […]

  15. A Letter: To the Next Generation...on pornography | Melissa Blair | 7th Nov 16

    […] because of it. Need more information? Just let me know. Click links below for more information: This Means War: A Mad Mama’s Thoughts on Pornography How to Talk to Your Kids About […]

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *