I am very aware of how prevalent pornography is – I know it comes into our homes through our computers and gets caught in spam. I know with smart phones, kids are looking at it while sitting in class and on the couch. I know that both boys and girls in our middle schools and high schools send text messages with both inappropriate words and pictures.
I know our culture
seems to be moving has moved us in the direction of accepting more and more sexual material in more and more arenas, and consequently we are becoming more and more desensitized to inappropriate material.
But I am not so desensitized that I didn’t notice the cover of this month’s ESPN magazine. ESPN magazine comes to our home because we ordered it for Zach (our sixteen year old) as a gift last year. But he won’t be receiving this month’s magazine – The Body Issue.
Some will say I’m a prude, some will say I can’t appreciate the strength and beauty of the human body. But the truth is, I am a mom trying to help my son keep boundaries.
I would never put a magazine in my son’s hands with naked women and men in it; I throw away Victoria’s Secret catalogs as soon as they arrive in the mail. We are known to talk about pornography at dinner and during family devotions (I’m still not comfortable with these conversations, but culture is very comfortable pushing every envelope, so the way I see it, I don’t really have a choice except to talk to them). We are teaching our kids how, and even more importantly why, to protect themselves from images such as these.
I know the magazine is out there and Zach may have friends who have it. He certainly could purchase it himself. We may even raise his curiosity by keeping it from him. The same is true for the computer – although we have ours in the kitchen, there are others who have them in the bedrooms, though he doesn’t have a smart phone, he knows many others who do. We know we can’t keep our kids from all material that is inappropriate, that actually isn’t our goal, what we are shooting for is to help them understand what happens when you become desensitized and what happens when you allow culture, or even your friends set your standard.
I asked Erin (our fourteen year old) why she thinks we do all that we do in this area. She said it’s so they are very clear about what is right and what is wrong, that they have an understanding that is black and white about what is expected, and that by living by example, we help them keep purity.
That tells me we are making an impact and having an influence. It doesn’t mean they will always choose wisely. It doesn’t mean our job is done. There are marketing firms and a pornography industry spending millions trying to influence my kids – but I am a parent, who according to research, still has the greatest influence in my kid’s life, and I simply leveraged that influence today.