I came out of my counseling office to the waiting room to greet my fifth grade patient who was seeing me for anger issues and found him playing a game on his mother’s cell phone. The three of us walked back to my office together, and as a simple icebreaker before the counseling session, I talked to him about the game. He said the game was “Bubbles” where you simply try to eliminate all of the little bubbles. Trying to be friendly, I played it with him. Immediately a pop-up at the bottom of the screen said, “Hot Babes.”

“What’s that?” I asked.

“Don’t touch it or Mom will take away the phone.”

Obviously, we didn’t touch it.

“But, what is it?” I asked again.

“Kids at school say it is pictures of naked people.”

“Have you ever touched it?”

“No, because Mom won’t let me play with her phone.”

“How do you turn it off?”

“You just restart the game.”

We stopped and continued his session but I had just become aware of yet another danger facing our children and youth. The industry gives kids free games for their cell phones and then uses pop-ups such as “Hot Babes” to lure them into seeing hardcore pornography.

Our kids are bombarded with the constant temptation and toxic poison that attacks their innocence, development, and healthy orientation to relationships and sexuality. As parents, teachers, coaches, or anyone in contact with children, we need to be aware of the danger that pornography causes in all people, especially our children.

The Pornography Trap

What’s wrong with pornography? Plenty! The industry traps young minds to create customers later in life for hardcore porn, explicit movies, pictures, and erotica. Pornography gives an extremely false image and value on healthy sex and objectifies and degrades women. It lowers self-esteem and interferes with healthy relationships. It becomes convenient, unrealistic, and it is addicting. Once addicted, a boy or man will pay to feed that addiction.

All addictions lie and steal. They steal responsibility, time, money, relationships, and even careers and lifestyles. Addictions cause individuals to lie to themselves, their spouses/girlfriends and parents. Sexual addiction is different than other addiction, in that it is an addiction of the soul. You can take away alcohol but you can’t take away sexuality.

The Dangers of Sexting

Sexting is a new word in this culture’s vocabulary, and a practice that can result in great difficulty for those engaging in it. Sexting defined is when people use their cell phones to take inappropriate sexual pictures of themselves and send them to their boy/girlfriend. This is very serious when done by minors as it causes three felonies. One: creating child pornography; two: distributing it; three: accepting it. In my experience students who do this think it is “no big deal.” They may think it is just funny and not immoral.

There have been instances of colleges, scholarship committees and employers who have come across this information. As a result, students have been denied entrance, employment, and scholarships. A young athlete, Yuri Wright, attending Don Bosco Preparatory High School in Ramsey, NJ, was expelled from school because of inappropriate content found on his Twitter account. The posts, which were sent to some 1,600 followers, displayed very graphic sexual content and a few inappropriate racial comments as well. As the 40th-ranked player on the ESPNU 150, his expulsion from school for sexually-graphic Twitter content jeopardized his scholarship opportunities1.  Schools and programs are beginning to evaluate the social media accounts of candidates to find red flags. No school wants to be misrepresented2.

Images on the Internet are very difficult to retrieve. Once shared, they are in cyberspace forever. Sharing personal information and inappropriate pictures with friends and or posting on social network sites has destroyed many lives and embarrassed families.

It is our responsibility as adults to set an example. Frank and open conversations with our young people can help them understand the danger of such activities, even though they may think they are harmless and acceptable. I recommend installing filters on computers and cell phones that minors use.

Getting Rid of Pop-Ups

Pop-ups are most frequent on free applications. Often the user is given the option to purchase the game to stop the ads. Purchasing the full version of the app is the easiest way to get rid of unwanted ads. However, some apps will need more to rid users of the pop-ups. Changing the settings on your iPhone can do this.3. For other operating systems, anti-virus software can be found on many Internet resource sites4.

In some cases, pop-ups still find their way. Parents will need to continue to make the smartest and safest choices when it comes to evaluating downloaded games. Ask yourself,  “Is this game worth it?” Look for child-friendly games and don’t forget to read the ratings before downloading to avoid unwanted and explicit ads.

This epidemic is worldwide and spreading rapidly. The pornography industry makes $10 billion to $14 billion in annual sales.5 Large corporations are dedicated to making money at the expense of young lives as well as ensnaring adults. The average age of a child’s first Internet exposure to pornography is age eleven.6 The industry has made pornography something easily available and it is trapping young people at an early age.

Address the Issues

Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. We must do all that we can to help block pornography in young lives—the lives of our children. Don’t be afraid to address these issues straight on. Counseling can be very helpful in working through the issues of sexual addiction and immorality. Many times these addictions are isolating and remain hidden, where other addictions seem more acceptable in public, such as alcohol, gambling, and drugs.

Be open with your children, be truthful, be an example. By addressing these issues with our children we can keep young people, like the fifth grade student in my office, from ever pushing the buttons that will harm his future.

 

Dr. Dennis G. Frederick
The director of Tern Christian Counseling, Federal Way, WA. The author of Conquering Pornography, he is an international speaker.

www.TernChristianCounseling.com

 

 

  1. http://espn.go.com/college-sports/recruiting/football/story/_/id/7484495/yuri-wright-twitter-posts-cost-college-scholarship
  2. http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/03/02/3779754/social-media-accounts-becoming.html
  3. http://techtips.salon.com/stop-pop-ups-apps-iphone-2923.html
  4. http://www.android.net/forum/samsung-galaxy-s2/62429-how-block-ad-pop-ups-downloaded-games.html
  5. http://www.forbes.com/2001/05/25/0524porn.html/
  6. http://www.familysafemedia.com/pornography_statistics.html

 

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