I’ve always been worried about the whole pornography business. I mean, you hear the statistics. You hear about the addictions. But lately a few things have made me just plain mad.
I promised I would write about the pornography conference my parents spoke about back here. Well, it was really an amazing day. So many proactive people out there and I appreciate their efforts so much. My main take-aways were these:
1) TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT SEX! Have the pre-emptive conversations. Talk things through. If you don’t have that open relationship, how can you explain why pornography is destructive? If you’ve had the “Big Talk” with your children, you can explain why sex is supposed to be beautiful and committed. (I wrote all about how we have that talk back HERE and HERE.)
(That part of what I learned was from my parent’s portion of the conference, in case you didn’t guess…:)
2) Know that in our day, in our world filled to the brim with technology, you would have to live under a rock to not be exposed to pornography in some form. Have an action plan for everyone in the family when it pops up (because it will). The best plan I’ve heard of is just like the fire emergency plan of “stop, drop and roll,” except in the case of pornography it’s “turn off the computer, RUN to a parent, talk it through.” I know that’s easier said than done. But if kids know they can trust their parents to talk to them about things, it will come up. I have a friend who’s son’s friends showed him some stuff on the computer. For a whole year that poor 11-year-old kids carried those images and that guilt around. Some lesson at church prompted him to talk to his parents about what had happened. When he did it was like this huge weight had been lifted (they had been kind of worried about him because he had been kind of withdrawn and sullen). Kids need to know they can trust their parents to tell them things. Again, easier said than done in a lot of cases, but a good thing to be aware of.
3) There are some awesome campaigns being represented at the conference to stop the ravaging effects of pornography. The one I learned about that weekend was called “Fight the New Drug” and their website is HERE. It is an amazing organization I tell you. Check it out.
We learned about how to set up filters and how to keep your home safe. We talked about the reality of pornography addiction and how horrible it can be.
But you know what?
I’m mad that these big-profit businesses can get into our homes. I’m mad that without permission they can just put things out there that are dangerous and that can hurt people. I read a book this summer called “The Curtain
” that was SOOO interesting. I keep trying to find a moment to do a book review about it, which I will at some point, but it made it more clear than ever to me what lengths those pornography (and gaming too) companies will go to in order to create addicts. Read it if you want an interesting way to open your eyes to how companies work to gather information and use it to catch people in their snare and make money. It’s scary business.
My wise friend Sarah wrote an interesting comment on my blog when I mentioned this conference:
“I viewed the most disgusting pop-up last week and I was so mad I couldn’t sleep that night thinking of the chance that one of my kids could have seen it. It was on a college basketball site! Shawni, what makes me so mad is that we parents are trying so hard today to raise good kids…and it’s NOT easy. We have our hands more full than any other generation I think with school expectations, extra-curriculars and just the way society is today with materialism and kids going in all directions. And now WE have to “protect” our kids from this junk! But why??? Why do WE have to do more? Why not attack these pornography sites at every level? What if we consider them trespassers in our private homes? What if we considered them like some pervert out on our front sidewalk flashing our kids? What if our children could be protected by LAW from these sites and those laws were enforced just as much as any crime against children) or drunk driving, or serving alcohol etc. could be? Why do THEY get to hand us one more thing to do? To me, it’s like telling my kids they can’t go outside because drunk drivers have more rights than they do, and we have to “avoid” them…or flashers, or kidnappers or any other criminals.”
I so agree with all those thoughts! (I love Sarah’s wisdom.)
I am happy to say that many people have made me aware that we CAN go after these people. We CAN try to do something. There is a petition going around we can sign to show that we care. To show that we don’t want that junk in our homes. To show that we want to have people “opt in” if they want those kinds of things filtering through their homes.
There’s more information about the background to the petition here: http://www.ksl.com/?sid=27631200
The only problem is that they need people to sign TODAY! I think tomorrow is the deadline. They have to have 41,000 more people sign the petition. It takes a minute because you have to sign in, but I think it is so very important. They make it easy to share with Facebook or Twitter or whatever you use. I am just here to beg people to show the government we are serious. We need angry parents to help. Sarah is right, fighting this should not be solely on parent’s shoulders. We need restrictions for these companies. We need the right to keep it out of our homes. We need to keep our families safe and we should have support in that any way we can.
So go sign that thing and share it with everyone you know! Let’s get 41,000 more people to be angry about the dumb pornography businesses.
Thank you for joining in this important cause!
I signed and shared it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!
Signed it yesterday! Please, please sign it parents!!
Thank you for sharing this!
Thanks for spreading the word about this! ! You're amazing!
Thanks for sharing, I signed it yesterday
I signed it and shared it. Thank you for the information. I often feel as Sarah shares when I find stuff in my spam box. It makes me angry to see it there. Of course, I do not open it but if it comes to my e-mail it is going to other e-mails who may be innocent children who just may open it!
I just signed the petition. I think it's a great start. It can and should go farther though. It should become a punishable offense to try to expose people to pornography who haven't sought it.
Your intentions, as well as many others, are good. I completely agree 100% with the majority of your post. I only have one very important issue with it, and that's the petition that has been going around for people to sign.
There's an article that several of my good friends have posted on facebook that explains very clearly why this petition is a bad, bad idea.
I understand if you and your other readers think I'm a nut, but before freaking out and signing that petition, think about the cost of asking the federal government for help in this matter…
Thank you thank you for putting this up! The UK has implemented this measure and I think it would be such a great help to parents who are trying to do our best. Thanks!
Hmm, Lynnette really has a point, but I also whole-heartedly agree with your friend Sara. There are lots of fronts on which to fight this! Legislation isn't the only weapon, but it should definitely be leveraged. An important question is in which ways.
We can do this!!! I'm enthusiastic and eager to see the changes that'll be brought about by our consistent, increasingly well-informed and well thought-out, tireless and thorough efforts! Hurrah for the moral force of women!!!
I cannot thank you enough for sharing this!
I agree with Lynette's article, the last thing this country needs is more government. I am a little confused by why this is such an issue for so many, I am on the internet plenty and have never seen any pornography… can't you just install parental controls and security blockers on your computer? I think its terrible for children to be subjected to such things but I feel there are many actions you can take on your own to prevent them seeing things on the internet. The government doesn't need to control everything.
While I am disgusted with pornography and know of it's harmful and damaging affects. I also cannot think that having the government decide what is porn and what isn't porn is a good idea. Who in the government get's to decide? When you opt out or opt in, what are you really opting in and out from? Is it to your own standard or someone who may or may not hold the same standards that you do? I think in theory it's a good idea, but it won't work on a national level. Most things don't. You have to be your own police in your own home with your own "armor" of filters, blocks and self monitoring. Just some thoughts.
I agree with some of the comments posted here, in that I don't want government getting anymore involved in my life than they already are. I'm not happy about the way they have handled healthcare, taxes, or much else. I certainly don't have the faith that they would handle pornography any better.
I don't want the government deciding for me and my family what constitutes pornography and what does not. And I certainly don't want to give government even a crack in the door where they might open it wide and start controlling all the content on the internet.
I feel like pornography has so many forms, that even if it is filtered on the internet, our children will still be exposed to it. The way we teach our children at home is the only way we can rise above the evil of pornography because it's not going away. Even if pornography is not available on our home computer, what if my kid goes to a friend's house and sees it there? He/she is still going to have to make a choice and it's still part of the world we live in.
I would love to have the option to make pornography unavailable on my home computer, but I think we should be petitioning our internet service providers about the filth of pornography and not the government.
Many people have been trying for years to get internet providers to put porn on different internet ports that have to be accessed specifically by those seeking it. They aren't listening!!!!!!! Many people are fed up with this!! We DO have filters and it still gets through! Getting the Gov. involved is the last resort and it's about time in my opinion. Thanks so much Shawnie for sharing this!!
I'm lucky to be British and in the UK our Prime Minister has already implemented this … however, I share your worry. I have been on sites and seen pop ups and thought 'what if my son was older and saw this?'. It makes me so angry.
Fight the new drug is AMAZING! The high school where my husband worked was the first school to have FTND do an assembly about pornography. He said it was a life changer.
I switched over to Bloglovin' a few months ago (since Reader died) and just in the last couple of weeks when I have clicked the link to your blog from the email notification on my phone, instead of taking me to your blog it has redirected to me a HORRIBLE teen pornography site. Luckily, I was able to see the site name before I saw any crazy images but I was FURIOUS! I ranted and raved to my husband about how I'm just trying to go to a clean site (yours) and up pops this filth on my personal phone!! It got me all sorts of angry and thinking about how my children could have seen something … on my phone! I'm not even searching it out! UGH. Thanks for posting this — I'm hoping we can get something done about it!
This is one of the many reasons I follow you AND Sarah–you are my so full of motherly wisdom and thankfully have older children than me and can guide the way in this new world of mothering!!
I check your blog every now and then. I've read nearly all of your parents books on how to raise your children. We just had the "big talk" with our newly minted 9 year old tonight. We used the book your parents used to recommend called "Where did I come from" just as we did with our son 2 years ago.
I think it is so important to address the sex and where do I come from issues with children at an appropriate age (8 or 9) when they are too young to be embarrassed about that kind of stuff. We always tell our children after reading that book and answering their questions that we will never make them feel silly for asking a question about these big issues and that we will always tell them the truth. We make it a point to let them know we know everything about that subject and that if they have a question or hear something from at school – they can come home and learn the actual truth. My oldest is a boy and he is nearly 11 so we haven't dealt w pornography yet – but just knowing that we've made one of the most awkward conversations you can have between a child and parent in a loving, open way leaves us with an open door for conversation in the future.
Many adults who have dealt with an addiction have started at young ages. Eleven is not too young. Waiting to have married sex isn't going to fireproof our kids from this. I do agree delayed gratification is a useful skill to have in life. I do agree waiting has benefits. The reasons addictions take hold are due to boredom, loneliness, anxiety, stress. I'm not sure being open about how babies are made and special sex is really touches on those things?
I would almost rather a kid come across something "not for us" early when it really means nothing. It's interesting the UK has such a rule. If a family has to decide one way or the other there are going to be a lot of spouses learning their spouse needs this. This is also the place Madonna thought had inappropriate commercials in regular tv for her young children. If you lived in a risky neighborhood you would raise your kids with street smarts. You would have a prevention plan, avoid it in your home and then have a plan if the outside world penetrated those defenses. College students are of age and interest for this stuff. It doesn't surprise me that ads happen.