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Parents, Get Your Head Out Of Your Rear Ends

Reader PJ writes:

As I’ve said before, wait until the next generation comes up; you ain’t seen nothing yet because the first smart phone generation (igen, not the millenials) is just starting to come up the pipeline.

Our daughter was asked by a boy to provide oral sex for him at recess…in first grade. Boy was from a nice church-going Christian family but he had a smart phone and he and other boys were spending their time on porn sites all during school at recess and at lunch. Parents were nice people but clueless about what their kid could access via the phone and the teachers are too busy with academics to be paying attention.

The 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students at the local elementary school were using their school district-confirmed google accounts (for google drive to send homework back and forth) to sign up for youtube and some of them were posting videos of them dancing naked for all the world to see with their google/district email displayed. Most of the parents and school employees were totally unaware this was going on! The overwhelming majority of parents are clueless to what their little darlings are doing. This isn’t high school or middle school, this is well into the elementary schools now.

Our own son is still the only middle schooler without a phone; we said he could get one once he gets a job and as he turns 14 next year and the local amusement park hires 14 yo (his preferred 1st job) we are trying to prepare him. But yeah, there’s no way to monitor what their friends are doing and what all the other stupid parents aren’t doing.

I am militant about this! Parents — especially Christian parents — who moan about how coarse and degrading the culture is, yet provide their kids with smartphones, are a huge part of the problem. If this is you, stop it. Stop it right now. Stop rationalizing what you’re doing. It’s morally insane.

UPDATE: Reader Seven Sleepers:

If you are a man with internet access, this is something you are dealing with. The question is only about how often you struggle, not if you are going to struggle.

Can I share an anecdote re: the other article where (again) a woman said this was same same as playboy (ha!)?

When I grew up near the city, if a JC Penny advert came blowing down the street with the bra section, we little boys would tear out the page, carefully fold it, and put it in a safe place for communal gawking at a later date. Just rewatch the movie, “Something about Mary”, which was pre-internet porn. You will know the scene when you get to it.

Later, when we migrated to the burbs, a full blown Playboy was somehow acquired (God knows how). It was placed in the woods, under a giant pile of illegally dumped concrete. EVERYONE knew where it lived. By everyone, I mean every boy in a 2 mile radius. Occasionally, someone would say, lets go to the rock. Whence we sallied forth as a group to flip a few (maybe 9-10 total) pages of a dirty (I mean actually dirty) magazine. Then, almost in a daze, the magazine was placed back in the rock, and we left.

Flash forward a few years and a relative of mine asks for my help. Says his son is watching crazy porn and is only 10. We look at the history of his internet browsing and let me tell you this, nothing, NOTHING that was in there ever appeared in a playboy magazine. No matter what we did to block it, he got around it. That kid is now a very confused young man.

It doesn’t even matter where you go on the internet, even reading a conservative article on a family friendly site, at the bottom, often include pictures and clickbait that make the JC Penny bra section look like curdled milk. I think, me as a 10 year old, it would Physically Impossible, to NOT click on the links that appear almost everywhere, and quickly can lead, a few clicks later, to who knows where.

Older I get, the more I can’t stand when people say “It’s always been that way”. SO annoying. It hasn’t. Wake up.

UPDATE: Reader Tim G. writes:

Hey, as long as this is a topic, and it IS a topic, whether on Rod’s blog or not, one constructive thing to do here would be to offer help and resources to those, like the first writer, in the grip of pornography.

There are many, many resources out there to help fight porn addiction and it seems like this would be a good place to offer a list. I’m no expert and don’t really have a list of resources, but a couple thoughts and references:
1) Suffice it to say porn, just like most any addiction, is not something that you can fight alone. It thrives on secrecy. You need a group of reliable partners to walk through this with you. Peers, older men, a pastor/priest, etc. (Needless to say of your same sex)

2) Technology controls. Something to lock down your access points and habits (The “cut your eye out” radical treatment of Matthew 5). Covenant Eyes is one tool. K9 is another. I just purchased the Circle for our home, although I haven’t had a chance to hook it up and offer an opinion.

3) Professional help. There are plenty of ministries out there to help with this. I don’t have any particular recommendation, although this thread would probably be a good place to put something together.

4) Spiritual reality. Ultimately porn is a sin problem and a relationship with the living God in the Gospel has to be the basis for freedom from and victory over porn. Otherwise you’ll have simple Moralistic Deism (minus the Therapeutic) which is no good either.

That’s my two cents’ worth so that in addition to sharing stories, maybe this post could offer practical references of help to those trapped in porn.

Readers? Please share resources. I need to know more about them too.

UPDATE.2: A reader sends in this TED talk by a secular professor who researches porn. She’s talking here about what it’s like to grow up in a pornified culture:

Another reader writes:

This is important to share in the context of your recent posts, as the speaker talks about the ratcheting up of porn content. Owners of paid sites also own free sites and calibrate the length of clips as well as the content to ensnare potential paying clients. Softcore is mainstream, hardcore is quaint, gonzo is the new normal.

In some cases, pornographers have helped to build the Internet, and optimized searches to direct clients to gonzo. Now they are investing in mobile technology the better to reach developing markets. You see, in poor countries too many people live in a household, and a man can’t have privacy with his computer. Better mobile technology delivers porn anywhere. It’s diabolical.

But fundamentally I want to repeat what I have shared with you before. It is not sufficient to cultivate our children spiritually. We must cultivate our relationship with our children if anything we transmit is to have purchase. Surely the Lord doesn’t need us to accomplish his kingdom. We have, however, been entrusted by Him with these children–he did not have them hatch out of an egg, fully formed. So if we are going to do our job, we need the thing that gives us power: our relationship with them.

I hate to repeat myself, but this is what Hold on to Your Kids is about. (I recommend the import hardcover copy available cheaply on Amazon.) Our children spend an unprecedented amount of time in each other’s company and exposed to commercial culture. No longer do shared culture, institutions, extended family or community members supplant us. In our absence, children face a void, which as we know nature abhors.

By design, the immature attach first through being in each other’s presence (physically or virtually), then sameness, then belonging and loyalty. If children are left to fend for themselves, they will want–instinctively–to spend more time in the presence of people like them and become loyal to those people. Because the immature are by nature fickle and taciturn, you can see how this devolves into a Lord of the Flies situation, quickly. They were never meant to care for one another. We were meant to do that.

To hand a child a smartphone and assume self control on his part (or HER part–girls watch the same content) is an abdication of our duty. To allow a child to spend too much time apart from us or a trusted member of our circle is an abdication of duty. It doesn’t matter that you’re grooming them for an elite college and all the activities you chose are good. It matters that they are not with us or close members of our circle. Paid substitutes–with rare exceptions–do not count. Content controls are a joke.

Nothing is a substitute for right relationship and best practices. There are relational principles to respect, and if we do respect them, we have a decent chance at cultivating our children’s loyalty and shielding their hearts from the disdain of others.

76 Comments (Open | Close)

76 Comments To "Parents, Get Your Head Out Of Your Rear Ends"

#1 Comment By hobbitmom On July 14, 2017 @ 8:55 am

Here’s a start: [1]

#2 Comment By Wes On July 14, 2017 @ 9:18 am

“Well, Wes, I must note that some people have an entire Bible on their cell phones, and use it in church in lieu of lugging a heavy print volume with them.”

O believe me I understand this..it is just distracting is all – and I don’t think just to crotchedy conservatives like myself.

In my own mind, where I am very important indeed, Church is my sanctuary from the modern world.

#3 Comment By Forester On July 14, 2017 @ 9:27 am

“It doesn’t even matter where you go on the internet, even reading a conservative article on a family friendly site, at the bottom, often include pictures and clickbait that make the JC Penny bra section look like curdled milk.”

I occasionally go to the Fox News website and am always surprised at the number of photos of scantily clad women in the list of “news” stories at the bottom of the page. It’s a more sexualized site than CNN.com or MSNBC.com, despite being conservative.

#4 Comment By Kitchen timer On July 14, 2017 @ 10:00 am

Stopping sexting has become a time-consuming task for administrators in schools around here, from what I hear. A student can get a criminal record that follows for a long time.

#5 Comment By Pastor Brian On July 14, 2017 @ 10:08 am

The pics in the ads that often appear at the bottom of your articles have often caused me problems keeping my head out of the wrong track Rod. It’s not cookies on my phone. How many lacy bras and tight dresses and bikinis do I shop for or buy? None. How many mostly naked 18 year olds with come-hither looks on their faces have I seen on this page? Plenty.

Part of the key to living in an age of lust when the gratification of lust is only a click away is not putting yourself in places of temptation.

#6 Comment By Tara On July 14, 2017 @ 10:21 am

SAHW: Exactly. My wish has been to get some sort of BenOp database/network started. What if you’ve moved around and you come to a place where you don’t know any like-minded people (and your new fellow parishioners lean towards MTDism)? Finding a way for businesses, informal social groups, Bible studies, classical schools, homeschooling co-ops to sign-up as committed to BenOp practices would be so helpful, especially to people with children who are wandering with very little resources.

I’m no website designer, but I would volunteer however I could to make something like that happen.

#7 Comment By First Deacon On July 14, 2017 @ 10:26 am

“Well, I’m a man with Internet access–and looking at porn is simply not an issue. It’s been a long time since I last went looking for such things–and even then, my viewing of such was limited to events like bachelor parties”

Very commendable, and a wonderful example to your family.

I too have not gone looking for such things for a very long time… However, your lack of interest in such things, and mine, does not negate the fact that there is a big, growing problem with porn and addiction, tied to both technology and the mainstreaming of what was once considered really kinky, weird, and icky/slimy. Just as your (presumed) lack of a problem with opioids, and mine, does not negate the fact that there is a growing problem with opioid addiction too.

#8 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 14, 2017 @ 10:34 am

What Erin Manning said.

As Ursula Le Guin’s better novels emphasized, its all about finding and maintaining the best possible balance.

#9 Comment By Scot Martin On July 14, 2017 @ 11:16 am

I haven’t searched through all the comments, so forgive me if I’ve repeated somebody. As someone who is in his third year of overcoming a sexual addiction (mostly with pornography) I can second the NEED to get help. Look up SA (Sexaholics Anonymous (I know, stupid name) groups in your area. If you are looking for something more specifically Christian search for My House, L.I.F.E. groups, Celebrate Recovery, and others. While I’m not fully out of the throes of this compulsion, I never would have made the progress I have without a sponsor and an accountability group. It is both a psychological, physiological, and spiritual struggle. Get help!

#10 Comment By Kevin 2 On July 14, 2017 @ 11:19 am

“But not in France, Italy, Germany or anywhere outside the anglosphere, really.”

Unless you count Eastern Europe, large parts of Latin America and East Asia, and Israel, in all of which women in large cities tend to dress as skimpily as Americans…

[NFR: Please start identifying yourself as “Kevin 2” to distinguish yourself from the other Kevin. — RD]

#11 Comment By Liam On July 14, 2017 @ 11:47 am

“I occasionally go to the Fox News website and am always surprised at the number of photos of scantily clad women in the list of “news” stories at the bottom of the page.”

With Fox, the form is the substance: it’s infotainment that rides up tight thighs revealed by too-short-and-tight skirts.

#12 Comment By ginger On July 14, 2017 @ 11:47 am

“Any women readers care to comment on how they overcome pressure to dress immodestly?”

Vanity.

I dress to look my best. At 47 (and even as a really fit 47 year old–I am literally in the best physical shape of my life), yoga pants are not my best look.

And as I look around, yoga pants are not the best look on most 22 year olds, either. Or tube tops. Or cutoffs. Or micro-minis (I’m dating myself there).

Most women just don’t have the bodies and beauty to pull off dressing immodestly and still looking anything close to their best.

And because I like looking both classy and attractive, I don’t go out in public in tube tops or yoga pants.

Vanity can be a very strong motivator.

We have one daughter with no sense of natural modesty or classiness in dress. I’ve been known to tell her she’s not going out in a particular outfit because it makes her look like a skank. “MOM!! I can’t believe you said that!” “Well, don’t go out looking like a skank, and I won’t have to.” Over time, she has improved (she’s 20 now, and not living at home, so she dresses as she pleases these days), and I keep hoping she will slowly come around to being as vain as I am. (only half-joking there).

#13 Comment By EngineerScotty On July 14, 2017 @ 11:55 am

I occasionally go to the Fox News website and am always surprised at the number of photos of scantily clad women in the list of “news” stories at the bottom of the page. It’s a more sexualized site than CNN.com or MSNBC.com, despite being conservative.

The one that annoys me is the frequent ad for dating services that pop up on numerous websites I frequent–even though teh google knows well that I’m married, and have never visited such businesses.

I suspect that even in the days of targeted advertising, some advertisers prefer to do it the old-fashioned way, in bulk.

#14 Comment By EngineerScotty On July 14, 2017 @ 12:02 pm

Alright, don’t shoot the messenger here. I love my yoga pants just as much as the next girl. Really, if I could live in them, I would. Europe has a new set of rules. Surprisingly, people actually take the time to get ready here. Talk about a wake up call. No one runs around town in their yoga pants or sweat pants. I have yet to even see anyone wear such things to class!

A common trait of the French in general, is that they are often far more formal, both in manners and dress, then are Americans. If you enter a shop without saying “Bonjour!” to the proprietor, offense may be taken–such courtesies are expected rather than considered an optional nicety. It’s a higher-context culture than the US is.

Any women readers care to comment on how they overcome pressure to dress immodestly?

(enter the liberal crackpot talking about burkini’s and the taliban)

I have no objection to anyone dressing modestly, and deplore the attempts of the French government to compel Muslim women to adhere to Western standards of dress. And likewise, I’m no fan of religious conservatives (whether Muslim, Jewish, or Christian) mandating excessive public modesty.

As long as what you wear (or don’t wear) doesn’t frighten the horses…

#15 Comment By friend of your youth On July 14, 2017 @ 12:28 pm

An easy thing people can do is setup their home router to use OpenDNS. Go here:

[2]

And follow the instructions for “OpenDNS Family Shield”.

This prevents the worst of the domains (the names like apple.com that people use) from resolving into IP addresses (the underlying numbers that computers use), thereby providing a first-pass defense. It’s not going to stop someone determined, but it should get rid of children accidentally stumbling onto these sites, and might remove the surge of temptation that often results from a single flashed view of something.

#16 Comment By Grumpy Realist On July 14, 2017 @ 12:50 pm

Seven Sleepers–while visiting a friend over the Fourth of July vacation and swimming in a chilly lake in NH, we talked about swimsuits. (I was wearing a bikini and she was wearing something that covered her arms and legs) Our consensus was that the whole burkini kerfluffle had been presented to the public in the wrong way. Rather than presenting it as a way to be modest as a Muslim (which immediately triggers all the nymphophiles and Islamaphobes), they should have pushed it as a skin protection and anti-skin cancer method.

Dress in long flowing gowns and when people harangue you for your modesty mention how you want to protect yourself and have beautiful skin even in your 70s. If you have some gory stories about sun-bathing acquaintances who developed skin cancer that’s also good.

#17 Comment By JonF On July 14, 2017 @ 12:51 pm

Re: No one runs around town in their yoga pants or sweat pants.

Ugh. Put me down as someone who cannot stand seeing people dressed in sweats in public. There’s an excuse for it if someone is engaged in exercise (running, etc.) or is just returning from the gym. But as daily wear in lieu or pants? Nope–nopedy nope.

And kudos to Erin’s post at 1:48am, an exemplary instance of common sense and uncommon understanding.

#18 Comment By Jones On July 14, 2017 @ 4:55 pm

“About the pornified culture, I think the average person in the Anglosphere would be shocked to know just how far the pornifcation of women’s fashion is, just in the Anglosphere. I imagine the average american woman thinks they dress exactly like other “western” women. But, thing is, they do not.

Sure, in UK/Australia/Canada yes. . . .”

. . . Yeah. There’s something weird going on here.

I have a German friend who once confessed a moral dilemma he was having. He started off talking about abstract things, whether or not it really mattered to stick to a moral code. When he finally got down to it, it turned out his American girlfriend was offering to engage in various forms of polyamory with him.

His moral dilemma was that he remained committed to monogamy, more by instinct and sentiment than by any explicit religious code. He was hesitating and he didn’t know why, and he knew it was his residual adherence to a certain monogamous idea and related ideas about good vs. bad sexuality. But he knew he had no codified commitments that made these anything more than a prejudice, and he was struggling with the idea that “true” morality would be to overcome these moral instincts and “do the right thing” by having a threesome.

This is a pretty good, detailed example of how the ethics of “liberation” works.

In any case he told me that in Germany this kind of stuff was very different — he contrasted a kind of anything-goes, anarchic American ethos, where you engage in all kinds of decadence and justify it as “finding yourself,” with the staid community life in Germany where people had well-defined norms and pretty rigid life paths.

In the end he felt that because he was in America he had to do the American thing, and choose “liberation.”

I thought you folks might find that interesting.

#19 Comment By Seven Sleepers On July 14, 2017 @ 6:17 pm

@Jones
“Dress in long flowing gowns and when people harangue you for your modesty mention how you want to protect yourself and have beautiful skin even in your 70s. If you have some gory stories about sun-bathing acquaintances who developed skin cancer that’s also good.”

lol! This is what my wife does!

@Ginger
Honesty – I love it.

Re: Fox. Agreed. Forget it. The live tv is even worse. There is a reason why Howard Stern is always talking about it, them, and those.

@Kevin 2
Hmm…no comment. All of East Asia and East Europe you say?? Yes, no.

#20 Comment By Goodwins On July 14, 2017 @ 7:03 pm

One additional resource I would addis the book Power Over Pornography. It presents a new method for dealing with the temptation to look at porn that really works. It’s good for the person with a big porn problem as well as for parents to teach their kids. I recommend it.

#21 Comment By Joan On July 14, 2017 @ 7:24 pm

@Jones: he told me that in Germany this kind of stuff was very different — he contrasted a kind of anything-goes, anarchic American ethos, where you engage in all kinds of decadence and justify it as “finding yourself,” with the staid community life in Germany where people had well-defined norms and pretty rigid life paths.

And yet German birth rates and rates of church attendance are even lower than ours. Apparently a staid community life with pretty rigid life paths, while it will produce conservative instincts and sentiments, won’t give people faith, either literal religious faith or the faith in the future that makes people feel that it’s safe to have kids.

#22 Comment By Joan On July 14, 2017 @ 8:00 pm

I am (or was in my younger days) one of those libertines you worry about your kids turning into, and I can assure you, based on my own experience, that you’re right about one thing: if you don’t explain to your kids why you put a low value on libertinism and a high one on sexual self-restraint, they’ll never get it, except in an abstract, detached, this-isn’t-about-me sort of way. My mom had conservative sexual values herself, but she never made any effort to instill them in me because it never occurred to her that any such effort was necessary. When she was growing up, those values were like the air she breathed; everyone she knew shared them, so she picked them up the same way she picked up her first language, by cultural osmosis. (Which is not to say she was surrounded by saints, but people who deviated were shamed to their faces and denigrated behind their backs. There was no doubt about what the rules were, whether people adhered to them or not.) She was not an ignorant woman, she knew there was a Sexual Revolution going on, but she really thought that the simple fact that she was raising us in an upper middle class neighborhood (she had grown up poor) would keep us from being recruited into it.

I have to admit that, to this day, I don’t understand why masturbation is a bad thing. I know the theory is that, if you get used to solitary sexual satisfaction, you’ll never fully adapt to actual partnered sex, but it seems to me that it’s the other way around: young people start by giving up on the possibility of partnership, or any sort of emotional closeness, really, and then take up masturbation, media addiction, and their combination in pornography as consolation prizes.

#23 Comment By Jones On July 14, 2017 @ 10:52 pm

@Joan

“And yet German birth rates and rates of church attendance are even lower than ours. Apparently a staid community life with pretty rigid life paths, while it will produce conservative instincts and sentiments, won’t give people faith, either literal religious faith or the faith in the future that makes people feel that it’s safe to have kids.”

Fair enough. Although Germany has been through some . . . stuff. It’s not exactly a fair comparison. In any case there are people there called “Christian Democrats.” I have no idea how Christian they are or whether this means anything. I’m curious though. I have read articles by annoyed American feminists who claim gender relations are more traditional in Germany than in the U.S. In any case I try not to opine on things I don’t know anything about, so I’ll stop there.

#24 Comment By M Piper On July 15, 2017 @ 11:43 am

Please share this story from International Justice Mission. I cannot comprehend how anyone could look at these children this way and live with themselves. Pornography feeds slavery!

Also, great organization for teens and young adults getting info and getting strength from community is [3]

#25 Comment By Potato On July 16, 2017 @ 8:33 am

I watched the two films by Professor Dines linked above, and if she is accurate about the content of internet porn, I am even more puzzled by the assertion of so many men here that they are addicted to watching this stuff. Let us call it by its right name. This is not sex, it is perversion.

That a lot of men would be attracted to internet sex makes sense. That more than a very very few would be attracted to, let alone addicted to, the kind of sexual sadism Professor Dines discusses is very surprising to me.

[NFR: I have read that as the brain becomes accustomed to a form of pornography, it becomes ever more difficult to get the same dopamine high from watching it. So the user has to go to a kinkier form to get the same high. This process keeps repeating itself. — RD]

#26 Comment By mrscracker On July 17, 2017 @ 11:19 am

You know, I really try to avoid comments on this subject matter because it’s disturbing but as a mother & grandma of both boys & girls it occurs to me that while they differ in their reproductive features,their digestive tracts are identical-at least as far as I know.
So, those dreadful news items about young girls needing surgical repairs for internal injuries would also apply to young boys.