In the past several years, there has been a lot of talk of the world of sex trafficking, particularly child sex trafficking. This is an abhorrent practice that just continues to worsen, year by year. I read today on The Resurgence that at the 2010 Superbowl, 10,000 prostitutes were flown in for the game. Around the world, adults and children are exploited for sex.
But it is not just prostitution. Many more of our children are growing up in a pornified culture. When I was a child, pornography was rare and difficult to obtain, but many of us wretched sinners sought to obtain it anyway. Now, we live in a culture where pornography is as readily available as bottled water and is much cheaper. In 10 seconds, anyone with a smart phone, iPad, or an internet connection can be looking at explicit, hardcore images and video clips to suit any perversion. Adults can find these easily. Children, who are much more tech savvy, can find them even easier.
I think Internet filters serve a purpose, but they may provide parents with a false confidence. Again, our technified children can find ways around a filter in a heartbeat's time. Parents, when it comes to technology, your children are probably smarter than you are. I know that mine are.
If your children have access to a smart phone, you may as well do away with the Internet filter. Not only can they quickly find pornography, recent trends are that they photograph or video themselves and share it with one another. Boys and girls are being pressured to engage in sex acts at a younger and younger age. They see it on TV. They see it on the Internet. They see it in their toys. They see it everywhere.
I was talking with a friend last week who was telling me that he was visiting with a youth group in a church and they were asking fairly directly about sexuality. None of the kids they visited with considered oral sex to be immoral. It was a non-issue and considered totally appropriate. This is happening everywhere, every day.
My friend Zach pointed to this article in the Telegraph about "Children and the Culture of Pornography." I would recommend the whole article to you, but just consider this brief snippet:
Claire, who must be 12 or 13, is quoted as saying of the boys in her class:
“If they want oral sex, they will ask every single day until you say yes.”
Kamal, a boy in the same year, says: “Say I got a girlfriend, I would ask her
to write my name on her breast and then send it to me and then I would
upload it on to Facebook or Bebo or something like that.” The profile
picture on his phone, seen by everyone to whom he sends messages, is an
image of his girlfriend’s cleavage. Some of the boys at his school have
explicit images of up to 30 different girls on their phone. They swap them
like we used to swap football cards. If they fancy a girl, they send her a
picture of their genitals. As one teenage girl said after the report came
out, sending pictures of your body parts is “the new flirting”.
Boys have always tried their luck, but now they have the technological means
to apply pressure, on phones with cameras and messenger networks that no
adult ever sees.
Chloe Combi, a former teacher who began her career in “a pretty posh school”,
has written in the Times Educational Supplement about when it goes further:
“The hardest conversation I’ve ever had was with a distraught, confused man
of about 45. I had to explain to him that we had to exclude from school his
seemingly non-abused, non-disturbed, well-loved daughter because she had
been caught administering fellatio to a line of young men in the boys’
toilets for cash.”
Our kids are having sex. They are having sex earlier and with more partners. What can you do?
First, talk to your kids early about sex. If you think it is too early, it is not.
Second, monitor what you watch on television and what sort of toys they play with. Keep your computers in public spaces. No computers in bedrooms.
Third, there is no reason for a child to have a smart phone. I know, I know. All the other kids have them. And what if they get stranded somewhere? If you are my age and even a bit younger, you didn't have one and you survived. If they really need a phone, they can probably borrow one from a friend--we had to use a pay phone.
Fourth, don't assume that they will always choose well with regard to sexual relations (and it isn't always opposite sex relations; same sex experimentation is occurring with greater frequency too). Talk specifically about the pressures that they will face. Talk specifically about how they can stand up in the face of those pressures. Have them problem solve with you.
Fifth, talk about the way in which the culture has changed. Show them, by example, that over the last 50 years, culture has changed remarkably. Tell them how secularism and relativism have changed how people think about issues then bring them back to the Bible to identify the ways in which societies have strayed. Remind them of the gospel and God's faithfulness to His people even though we are sinners.
Fifth, try to think of ways you can be involved on a public level. How can you speak out against the increasing immorality in our culture? How can you specifically pray for the hypersexualized culture in which we live?
Pornography is a plague and it is getting worse. Too many people view it as harmless, but the long term repercussions on marriages, on families, and on our children are likely to be legion.