Finding a hobby, playing sports, studying, hiking, time with friends and family — all these insulate our children from pornography more than any filter. Happiness in life is more about the DOs than the DON'Ts. Addiction to pornography stems from emptiness, a hole in the heart, which a person tries to fill with an artificial thrill. Alcohol and drug abuse and overeating stem from the same emptiness.
Sadly, many in our country still believe pornography is a harmless pastime and fighting against it is a job for the religious right. But pornography hurts everyone. Our entire society pays a price for increased sexual assaults, broken marriages, destructive attitudes toward women, job loss and depression.
By the end of this year, everyone in the U.K. will have to opt in to receive any kind of explicit material, hard-core everything will be banned, and those typing in certain search terms will be black-listed. And hooray for Google, which is working to eliminate child porn from the Internet.
How can we best protect our kids? Love them. Fill that hole in their heart. And if/when they do mess up, love them. Tell them they are still good people; teach them to resist temptation. Teach them why pornography is wrong and how it will hurt them: impairing relationships, putting grades at risk, taking time from positive activities, increasing feelings of worthlessness and shame.
Every one of our children will be exposed to pornography to some degree. As my son Ben so wisely informed me when he was in high school, "It's not a matter of seeking it out; it's a matter of turning away."
Writer and photographer Michelle Lehnardt is raising five future fathers and one little mother. She writes at segullah.org and scenesfromthewild.blogspot.com on building chicken coops, hosting tea parties and missing her missionary son in Russia.
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