This is Your Brain on Porn: What Parents Need to Know and Do


Your Brain on Drugs

For anyone around during the late 80s you will remember the big anti-narcotics campaign launched by the Partnership for a Drug Free America in 1987, in no small part due to their very visual illustration. For those of you too young to remember those public service announcements let me just say that I don’t think I’d be going out on a limb if I were to say that they were a very effective piece of advertising. Partnership for a Drug Free America had as two of their central goals to educate people to the harmful consequences of drug use and to get parents talking to their kids about the dangers of drugs.

I think it’s safe to say that there won’t be a Partnership for a Porn Free America anytime soon. The pornography industry is too big, and too many other industries have their hands in the pocket of what has grown into a multi-million dollar industry annually. However, the message needs to start getting out. Porn is bad for your brain. This message needs to start getting out because the folks behind the wheel are busy trying to build their customer base by making pornography seem “fun” and “normal”, and unfortunately they’re really good at what they do.

Over the summer at Challenge, the Christian youth conference we attend, one of the speakers on the main stage was Craig Gross of XXX-Church, a ministry that specializes in porn awareness, prevention, and addiction recovery. If I were to summarize what he said, I would show you the clip of the “This is Your Brain on Drugs” PSA. Later on in the week, during our large group meetings, many of our students mustered up the courage to confess to the group that they had become addicted to pornography. Read MANY, as in lots of them confessed which mean many more who were struggling with porn said nothing, at least not in the large group setting of one hundred of us. Read STUDENTS, as in it wasn’t just the boys who confessed to being addicted to pornography it was some of our girls as well. These students weren’t just confessing so they could get it off their chest they were asking for help, and as many of them felt powerless to break from it. Yet it was clearly wearing on them. For the most part it was just our younger Junior High age students who spoke up, even though we know many of our High School teens struggle with it they were largely silent in the large group setting.

Convicted or not of their usage, pornography is a morally bankrupt and perverted fantasy world educating and shaping what sexual intimacy and sexual relations is and looks like for billions of people, and this is of no concern for the people making money from it. Admittedly we probably haven’t done enough as a youth ministry to truly help our students who are struggling, and thus why I am posting this article. I believe that one step in the right direction is to more intentionally bring parents into the loop, to educate and equip parents to engage this issue. I don’t like being an alarmist and hate to use fear as a way to motivate people to do something. One of the things that I appreciated about Craig Gross in his talk is that he didn’t use either one of those tactics (as I’ve seen others do) and yet was very straightforward and real about how troubling pornography addiction is. So here we go. What as parents of teenagers do you need to know and do to come alongside your children in the area of pornography?

1. Awareness: The reason why I used the illustration of the 80s anti-drug PSA is because studies have shown that pornography has the exact same affect on the brain as does narcotic drugs, and thus why porn is so addictive. It would not be a stretch to classify pornography as a drug as it induces the exact same chemical activity in the brain. When watching pornography the human brain is flooded with dopamine, which causes the brain cells to produce a feeling of excitement or well-being, often referred to as the reward signal. Because of the sensation in the brain it creates, it helps guide human behavior. Quite literally it creates and strengthens connections in the brain associated with behaviors and activities that make a person feel good.

Many of you have probably taken the preliminary step of setting up firewalls and parental settings on any computers in the house, which is a good thing, but it is not enough. I guarantee you your kids know how to get around it. Some restrictions and firewalls are better than none at all, but none of them are perfect, and you’re kidding yourself if you think that your kid won’t figure out a way around it, and cover their tracks (delete the history or browse privately), if they have their mind set on it. However, the home computer is not the only place where porn is accessible, and no I’m not referring to their friend’s house where the parents aren’t keeping an eye on things.

2. Accessibility: I’m guessing most parents probably don’t realize what the main devices are that people accessing porn on that have the weakest prevention settings. Xbox 360, Playstation 3, iPods, iPhones, iPads, and any smart phone. Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 are not simply a video game system, they are entertainment systems with which you can stream Netflix, Hulu, and browse the Internet. iPods, iPhones, and iPads, use Safari as their web browser which has a “private browsing” setting where you can surf the web without any of your activity being tracked in the history.

3. Prevention: There is no perfect way to prevent pornography from coming into your home. However, the online software provided by www.xxxchurch.com is the best that I know about. The software they’ve created is more of a watchdog that tracks the online activity on a computer or wi-fi enabled devices like smartphones. Designed to be a accountability software it sends a weekly email to a selected recipient of a list of all the porn sites visited on that device. This list even includes any sites that are considered questionable and includes the day and the time of when it was visited.

Conclusion

Pornography isn’t going away. Many signs are showing that it is becoming more and more socially acceptable. While I don’t think it is fruitless to try to do whatever you can to keep pornography out of reach of your children, I believe there is something else parents must do which is far more important. Talk to your children about the dangers and trappings of pornography the same way you would talk to them about drugs. You can’t simply ignore it and assume it won’t be an issue like in previous generations because it is far more accessible than when the only place you could get it was over a counter and pay-per-view television. Today you can watch hundreds of movies without dropping a dime on any device that can access the Internet. Ultimately here are the two questions you should ask yourself….

  1. Should my child begin to dabble in or become addicted to pornography do they have a safe place to come clean and get help?
  2. Have I established the kind of relationship with my child that they know that home is a safe place to confess and seek help?

Author: Cedric Lundy

Perpetual Seeker of Solidarity with God through sharing in the life death and resurrection of Jesus The Christ Pastor Communicator Shepherd Coffee Lover Snob and Roaster Sports an but to rational to be a fanatic Native Michigander living in the Carolinas Son Brother Friend Husband Father

8 thoughts on “This is Your Brain on Porn: What Parents Need to Know and Do”

  1. Cedric, thank you for faithfully providing us with thought provoking and helpful posts. I learn something new, or you cause me to pause and ponder each time I read one. We need to have issues such as these constantly before us and discussed if we are to help our children. Blessings, Mary Ruth

    1. Hi Colleen!Thanks for taking my call with Michael Coren last week, it was great to speak to you both.Yesterday, I heard the most amzniag man speak, you know, the other Michael. He was at his most superb and it was a treat to speak to him directly. I introduced myself and told him I’m starting Truly Catholics Toronto and he was very pleased with that. He gave us a great introduction at the end of his seminar and many people came up to me to get more information. I hope to continue what Carol has spent so long building up and may this Chapter be one of many in Canada.I sent Carol a video which she posted on Truly Catholics Toronto Facebook page after she watched it. It impressed both of us greatly and I believe that this would be a great show topic for you as well.The Youtube video was with Sharon Lee Giganti (who’s also done several shows with Catholic Answers about Oprah, Deepak Chopra and the garbage they’re pushing right now with The Third Jesus, Course in Miracles and The Secret, not to mention Oprah’s great endorsement of Eckhart Tolle YUCK!!)If you’re interested in seeing this really important talk by Sharon, you can see the link on either my facebook page or TCT’s and Catholic ipod has the interviews with Catholic Answers.Please, please watch and let me know what you think. What she has to teach is so important (about the dangers of New Age spirituality)Thanks!Hope all is well with the move and painting!Judy Clemens

  2. Hi Cedric, Thanks for keeping us parents so aware of the surroundings. It is frightening to think that all cell phones can access this info without the parents knowing. I do read all your posts and updates to keep me in the loop. We love you and all your hard work!!
    Orrin, Sheri and Melina HIlton

  3. Thank you! Your last question was a wake up call for us. We think we still need to do better with making our home safe for confession and openess. I wish that porn wasn’t so prevalent, but maybe it’s the thing that will force us to learn how to talk with our kids……I just got a very helpful article from a friend on how to connect with your teens with some very good thoughts for conversation starters and how to really listen:

    http://www.heartlightministries.org/blogs/markgregston/

    There is also Covenant Eyes software available for monitoring websites visited. The advantage of it is that you don’t need to disable Safari and use a different search engine on your Apple devices.

    Thank you so much Cedric for opening up this topic.

    Rebecca Haydon

    1. Thanks Rebecca. Definitely some good insights in that article on communicating that really apply to any relationship. Isn’t it interesting how often the communication with those closest to us can become a nothing more than checking to see what they’ve done and not truly relating to them and continuing to get to know them. There is one thing I would add to the suggestions he makes with improving the relationship with teenagers. A huge part of how males relate is by doing things together. Teenage boys are going to be more receptive to you talking to them if they see that you are interested in doing things with them that they enjoy.

  4. In addition, Also the type of evil sptiris contracted through fornication and adultry are typically Jezebelian in nature and are the species that usually only come out through prayer and fasting. This proves to be a very difficult deliverance as exorcism is a censored church ministry, and the church through ignorance has greatly through deception of hyper-dispensational ministers denied the existence of demons. They say that a Christian can’t have a demon. This is contrary even to the Bible. Also the Rush Rock Anthem song Tom Sawyer in which the words describe possession of Christians primarily is about an ecto-plasmic demon.

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