In a perfect world, God-honoring and loving Dads and Moms will lead their children into a healthy and balanced Biblical understanding of their sexuality that will yield a lifetime of equally God-honoring sexual values, attitudes, and behaviors.
Sadly, we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a world that’s now saturated with easily accessed pornography. The reality of this hyper-sexualized world is mis-shaping our kids in powerful ways. The reality is that the smartphone is fueling this trend. That said, what are some of the effects this will have on our kids and their culture?
First, we can expect a growing number of kids to be exposed to pornography at younger and younger ages, long before they experience the God-given and very good sexual feelings and urges that come with physical maturation.
Second, the envelope will continue to be stretched. Based on this pattern, tomorrow’s porn will be unimaginably more extreme than today’s.
Third, the more they see, the more desensitized they will become. In fact, it will become an everyday reality that is not at all surprising to them. What will be surprising to our kids is that this stuff is alarming and surprising to us.
Fourth, pornography use will increasingly be seen as a benign matter of personal preference, and decreasingly be viewed as a sin.
And fifth, the sinful values and practices promoted in pornography will become normalized. As time goes on, digital pornography will shape and normalize youthful behavior, impacting how young people view and treat each other.
What can parents do to stem this tide? Here are just a few suggestions.
First, talk openly about the reality, temptations, and dangers of pornography. Chances are, they are going to encounter the brutal distortions of pornography sooner rather than later. If you haven’t done so already, warn them about pornography’s presence and prepare them to face the temptations they will no-doubt encounter.
Second, shoot straight, letting them know that pornography is wrong. They need to know that pornography is a twisted and sinful distortion of God’s wonderful gift of sexuality. We must give them reasons for why they must “flee from sexual immorality” (I Cor 6:18) and constantly remind them of their need to run.
Third, we must tell them how pornography does not depict and promote normal sexuality. As the envelope is stretched, the horrifying nature of online pornography will only get worse. Once kids get hooked, they are prone to spiral down further and further into forms and depictions of sexuality that exchange the truth of God for a lie (Romans 1:25).
Fourth, we must tell them how the Bible does depict and promote normal sexuality. Our sexuality is a wonderful God-given gift to be experienced by one man and one woman within the committed covenant relationship of marriage. There is a divinely ordained purpose and place for God’s good gift of sex. To engage with our sexuality within those boundaries advances our human flourishing. To do otherwise undermines our human flourishing.
And finally, we should monitor our children’s use of digital media. With the temptation so intense, any accountability measures are helpful.
Now is the time to prepare them for a lifetime of healthy sexuality by answering their youthful curiosity and naivete with nothing but the truth.