A few experiences of late have caused me to want to put down in words the reason why I do what I do. Why did I create Parents Aware?
Read to the end to discover my top five reasons for blogging about pornography awareness.
At the doctor’s office
I am meeting a new doctor today. Which means filling out standard medical forms again. I come to the question that has the least to do with my health but has probably caused me the most grief for the past 22 years.
What is your occupation?
This is not a blog about how to define the role of a stay-at-home-mother, nor is it about the validity of blogging as a career. Yet for a split second both those issues cause me a brief internal struggle. In the end I go for it.
After the mandatory 15 min wait, I am ushered into the examining room where my new doctor looks over the forms, dives in with small talk and attempts to create an instant camaraderie between the two of us. Then, his failing eyesight misinterprets my deteriorating penmanship. “What’s this? … Occupation: BUGGER?”
I laugh, “That’s BLOGGER! —I write online articles.”
Still making idle chit chat the doctor asks, “Oh, what do you blog about?”
I’ve caught his attention now. He looks up. His next question shouldn’t catch me off guard but it does, “Do you mind me asking why?”
His tone is sincere. He deserves a fair answer. But where do I start? It gets me every time. How much do I want to tell? How much does he want to hear? Why does this cause a spike in my adrenaline levels?
A little on the defensive, I quip back, “Because I have five children, and every day they are exposed to pornography!”
Was my answer valid? —Yes.
Informative? —I could have done so much better.
I congratulate myself for holding back the ‘DUH!’ perched precariously on the tip of my tongue. Then I chastise myself when I recall that this IS in fact my job. I am supposed to create awareness of an issue that typically sits just off the radar for most individuals.
As much as I would love for everyone to respond with, “Oh, that’s amazing! I’ve noticed how pornography has become so easily accessible online. Tell me more about what I can do to protect my children” I know this isn’t the reality. I must learn to embrace all questions as a golden opportunity to get the information out to the world.
Top 5 reasons I blog about pornography awareness
1. Pornography is a health issue
At the VERY top of my list of reasons why I blog is that every day science is unveiling more and more evidence that early exposure to pornography has serious mental, physical and emotional health consequences.
But as a health concern pornography receives little to no attention from policy makers and public health educators. Currently, there are no government initiatives in Canada to inform consumers (underage or otherwise) about the numerous health risks that result from the regular use of pornography.
… So, this is a health campaign. #pornhurts
2. Pornography is a worldwide sexual abuser of children
It is illegal to distribute pornography to children. Yet the average age of first exposure to pornography occurs between the ages of 8 to 11. The NSPCC says that, “children are as likely to see online porn by accident, as they are to deliberately search for it”.
The protection of free speech and the nature of advertising on the internet make children easy targets of the porn industry. Innocent google searches, hyper-sexualized imagery and embedded links within games can all lure kids directly to hard-core pornography.
When asked, one in five children said they had seen pornographic images that had either shocked or upset them.
… So, this is a children’s rights issue. #stopchildsexabuse
3. Stopping pornography addiction before it happens
The day I realized that pornography addiction is most likely to begin in childhood was the day I resolved to create Parents Aware.
I was watching a YouTube video where Clay Olsen, of Fight The New Drug was speaking to a room of parents and he told them: of the thousands of letters they receive from individuals struggling with porn addiction no one has ever said they started using porn as an adult. He added that children as young as eight years old have written in asking for help.
A ChildLine survey concluded one-tenth of 12 to 13-year-olds fear they are “addicted” to pornography.
Whether children are feeling the weight of a habit, a compulsion or a full blown addiction, we know that the brain will respond to hyper-sexualized images similar to the way it responds to hard drugs. When pornography is viewed, unnatural amounts of dopamine and oxytocin flood the brain creating a powerful high for the user. The brain then starts to see pornography as a coping mechanism to deal with any number of uncomfortable feelings.
Children need and want parents and educators to talk to them honestly about the dangers of pornography. Children deserve to know why pornography is harmful and how to reject pornography when exposed to it.
Knowing how to have the right conversations with our children early can save them from years of heartache later in life. Knowing how to respond to and accept a child who has developed a habit of viewing pornography provides the best hope for recovery.
… So, this is an educational resource for parents. #starttheconversation
4. Promoting healthy future sexual relationships
Pornography fosters attitudes that promote human objectification and sexual coercion. As parents, we have the ability to teach our children to embrace human dignity and real affection. To do this we have to talk with our kids early and often about sex. Otherwise, they will turn to online sources to find answers to their questions.
Pornography takes sex —something that is meant to be good and shared through an emotional bond— and twists it into an aggressive, demeaning, gender dividing, self-serving act of baseness and lust. Here’s what real kids have to say:
“I’ve started to view girls a bit differently recently and it’s making me worried”.
“Pornography isn’t just a 10-minute video – it has consequences.”
“I would like to get married in the future but I’m scared it might never happen if I carry on thinking about girls the way I do.”
Pornography threatens to steal an entire generation’s capacity to fall in love, trust unconditionally, create emotional connections and develop a satisfying sex life with one special person.
… So, this is a wake up call. #pornkillslove
5. Looking after my own
In the end, it comes back to the quip I gave my doctor, “Because I have five children, and every day they are exposed to pornography!”
There are a lot of good causes in the world I could fight for. But this one hits the closest to home. I’m selfish —I adore my kids. I want them to have every chance I had in life to fall in love, get married and raise a few munchkins of their own.
I know pornography threatens that dream. I am willing to fight to keep it.
I’ve said it many times before: talking with my own kids about pornography doesn’t come easy. But what I have found is that every time I do, I am rewarded. They know that I care enough to talk about tough things. They know I don’t expect them to go through it alone.
… So, this is where I fight for my kids. #fightforlove
What can you do?
Like and Share this article.
Tell people that pornography awareness is an important issue to you. When they ask why, respond with your top reasons. I have FIVE. Their names are: Wyatt, Spencer, Ezra, Oscar and Royal. How many reasons do you have?
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