The Deeper Heart Consequences of Porn
Pornography is not the first subject that we would want to broach with our pre-teen and teenage children. Talking with our children about their school day and if they completed their chores is hard enough at times. Besides, what parent wants to shame or embarrass their child about something they may never be hindered by? We may wonder (with anxiety) “What have they seen? Has anyone already gotten to them?” or, “My kid has got to be different, right?” All very understandable concerns. But here’s motivation to talk to your kids about porn - porn has benefits. There are the obvious surface and short term benefits of porn, it’s exciting, stimulating, enticing, and appears to be innocuous to a culture that often looks for a cure all (e.g. Viagra). These short term “benefits” may seem non-threatening and left up to individual choice and discretion. However, there are long term consequences of porn that leave indelible marks upon a person’s outlook and identity. It’s these long-term consequences that stunt the growth of intimacy within the heart of your child.
As a child enters adolescence and moves through puberty, there are many fears and insecurities that a child faces with these changes emotionally, physically, and relationally. Porn gives the child a way that they do not have to be intimate with others when these fears and insecurities come about. The way out that porn provides actually helps to develop perspectives about themselves and others that actually stunt their ability to relate outside of themselves or in other words, in intimacy. Instead porn emphasizes perspectives that create a functional benefit to the child as he or she goes into adulthood.
Some of those perspectives may include sex as a means to love, sex as a means to tell oneself, “I’m okay,” and sex as a means of meeting the needs of my heart. As adults we know the limited benefits of sexual intimacy in that it doesn’t completely meet every need in the heart or cure every struggle in a relationship. But this false perspective is a message in porn that sets a child up for long-term consequences. Some of these long-term “benefits” that lead to isolation rather than true intimacy include:
Viewing a person for what they can give you and complete what you feel is best. (i.e. manipulating or controlling the situation)
For many people in our culture the above consequences are really a way of life in many people’s close relationships. This is why porn is isolating and internally destructive. What appears at first to be beneficial, a functional means to an end, is really inhibiting of real life and connection.
Be the first to talk about the realities of porn in your kid’s life. Don’t wait for porn to do what they need. Remember the pathway to dealing with this issue in your kid’s heart is your connection with them and your willingness to talk about the things left unsaid.