The New York Times headline offers up what appears, at first, to be good news. In reality, the headline reveals just how sexually indulgent and broken we’ve become. “Playboy to Drop Nudity as Internet Fills Demand” we’re told. In other words, the hard-to-find gateway and only-available avenue into pornography that so many men my age sought out in an effort to indulge our childhood curiosity in depraved ways has more-or-less given up. The New York Times article tells us that the magazine’s executives “admit that Playboy has been overtaken by the changes it pioneered.” Playboy chief executive Scott Flanders says, “That battle has been fought and won. You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it’s just passe at this juncture.”
Sounds like the sexual revolution ushered in by Hugh Hefner and his magazine is over. At least that’s what those who were at the forefront of the revolution are now telling us. Mission accomplished. And that is tragic.
Accurate statistics on pornography’s place in our culture and the lives of our kids are difficult to come by. Because of the continuing rapid proliferation of pornography through the internet, it’s all so fluid and fast-moving. Rewind to the best statistics from 2006, and we knew then that the average age of first exposure to pornography was 11-years-old. Now, nine years later, elementary-school-aged kids are walking around with smartphones that offer them 24/7 internet access. . . sometimes with little or no adult supervision. I can’t imagine what my inquisitive fourth grade self would have done with that kind of freedom. . . which leads me to wonder what fourth graders growing up in a culture of ambient hypersexuality are accessing on their smartphones.
At CPYU we’ve been working hard to understand and respond to the issue of sexual brokenness and pornography with helpful, hope-filled, biblically-based resources. This morning, I went back and looked over our “Parents’ Primer on Internet Pornography,” a free pdf download that you can access on our Digital Kids Initiative homepage. I was reminded that experts tell us that pornography addiction is fueled by three factors that are unique to our current online/digital (and now post-Playboy) age. . .
• Pornography is accessible. There are thousands of sites that can be easily accessed when one is alone in their own home. In addition, mobile devices with Internet access offer 24/7 connection to pornography.
• Pornography is anonymous. A person can access pornography privately. Nobody has to know them, and they don’t have to know the people behind the images.
• Pornography is affordable. The fact is that a large portion of Internet pornography can be accessed free of charge. Pornography that requires payment can be instantly accessed through the use of a credit card. What are the effects of pornography on children and teen
In an effort to help youth workers, parents, and others understand and respond to these realities, CPYU is offering a live online webinar, “Children, Teens, and Pornography: What You Need To Know and Do,” on Thursday, October 22 from 8pm to 9pm (Eastern time). You can learn more and register for the webinar here. We are offering the webinar in the evening so that couples and groups can sit and learn together. Youth workers, why not gather a group of parents together to view the webinar, and then spend some time discussing how to follow-up in your own homes, church, and community?
We live in a fast-changing world. It’s our hope that together we can offer Godly, Gospel-centered responses that lead our kids into a full and wonderful experience of the God-given gift of their sexuality!