Over the course of the last couple of weeks I’ve had several people ask me this question: “What do think is the biggest challenge facing children and teens today?” That’s a tough question to answer. Without a doubt, today’s “biggest challenge” is nothing new. It’s a challenge shared by every human being who has drawn breath in our post-Genesis 3:6 world. It’s our brokenness and sin.
Still, the question asks about how our sin is nuanced in our culture, our times, and our lives. My answer, with little hesitation, has to be “pornography.” In an effort to help us help our kids navigate this horribly fallen expression of the good gift of our sexuality, we created a little primer on pornography that offers helpful definitions, insights, and steps to stem the tide. . . something we must do if we want to see humanity flourish in love, sex, marriage, and family. Pornography leaves an absolute mess in its wake.
Yesterday, I ran across this little list of facts from our friends at Fight the New Drug:
- Porn sites receive more regular traffic than Netflix, Amazon, & Twitter combined. (HuffPost)
- 35% of all internet downloads are porn-related. (WebRoot)
- 34% of internet users have been exposed to unwanted porn via ads, pop-ups, etc. (WebRoot)
- Porn increased marital infidelity by 300%. (WebRoot)
- 30% of all data transferred across the internet is porn-related. (HuffPost)
- Most common female role in porn is women in their 20’s portraying teenagers. (Jon Millward. In 2013, Millward conducted the largest personal research study on the Porn Industry in the U.S. He interviewed 10,000 porn stars about various aspects of the business.)
- Child porn is one of the fastest growing online businesses. (IWF)
- 624,000 child porn traders have been discovered online in the U.S. (Innocent Justice)
- Approximately 55% of teen girls living on the streets have engaged in prostitution. (Enough.org)
- Child porn is a $3 billion industry. (TopTenReviews)
And yesterday Scotty Smith’s Everyday Prayers included this powerful prayer for friends struggling with pornography. It’s a prayer that sadly, is timely in today’s world. . .
Jesus, my heart goes out today for friends and their spouses whose lives are being assaulted by the ravaging and enslaving grip of pornography. I know of no other power sufficient for the task but the gospel. This is why I run to you today with grave concern, but also with great hope.
O Lord of resurrection and redemption, bring your mercy and might to bear in stunning fashion. Things impossible for us are more than possible for you. You have come to set captives free and to heal the brokenhearted. Pornography is creating an over abundance of both.
Jesus, for friends somewhere in the pornography continuum of titillation to addiction, we ask you to reveal yourself in the deepest place of their hearts. We ask for the holy gift of godly sorrow, not the short-lived remorse of worldly sorrow. For your non-condemning love has great power to deliver those who cry, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body which is subject to death?”
Lead them to that cry, Jesus. They need a lot more than embarrassment and fear, they need contrition and hope. Where pornography has desensitized our friends, re-sensitize them so they can see and feel the horror of their entrapment, and more so… much more so, the wonder of your deliverance.
For our friends who are married to someone in the talons of pornography, dear Jesus, theirs may be the greater pain and struggle. No one but you can help them with the anger, the disgust, the wound, the shame, and the mistrust that goes with this story. Help us walk with our friends who are right in the middle of this dark vortex. Show us how to validate their feelings without confirming hurt-driven conclusions. Bring patience and perspective, forbearance and faith.
Only you can rebuild the trust. Only you, Jesus, can bring a willingness to hope again. Only you can heal the places in our hearts which have suffered the greatest violation and harm. Absolutely no one understands all this like you, Jesus, and absolutely no one redeem these messes but you. So very Amen, we pray, in your great and glorious name.
For those of you who live in close proximity to our Central Pennsylvania area, I want to invite you to a day-long training seminar on Saturday, March 28 that will address the issue of pornography, along with other difficult issues facing kids. I will be sharing the teaching load with my good friend, Dr. Marv Penner, in our first “Tackling the Tough Stuff” training day. You can learn more and register here.
I cannot attend the workshop related to pornography in teens, but wish I could attend. Would you consider making it available to those who are unable to attend – a webinar perhaps?