Porn Proof Your Child

Child Produced Porn
Protecting our Kids from Themselves

© 2008 Teresa Cook

Child Produced Porn
Your eighth-grade daughter likes the new boy in school—and so does every other girl in her class. So how does she get his attention? In a bold move, she snaps a picture of herself nude and sends it to his cell phone. Within hours, her photo appears on a file-sharing network viewable by anyone.
Sound far-fetched? Think again. In a disturbing new trend, teens are producing and distributing pornographic pictures and videos—of themselves.

No statistics are yet available on the prevalence of such occurrences, but the media has reported several such incidents over the past few months. Since the subjects are underage, they can face prosecution for distributing child pornography. Just the possession of such pictures on a cell phone or computer constitutes a federal offense. Most of those involved don’t realize the possible penalties for what they believe is a harmless pastime.
They also don’t consider the far-reaching and long-term consequences their actions will have when the pictures appear on cell-phones and computers across the country—or around the world—sometimes for years to come.
In one case, male students at a Georgia school shared pornographic images of themselves online and pressured female students to email similar photos. According to a NetFamilyNews e-newsletter, many of the girls suffered from low self-esteem and complied because they had crushes on the boys. 1 The pictures not only circulated throughout the school but traveled as far as the United Kingdom.

While my heart breaks for these teens who act so foolishly, I believe there is much more at stake here than a youth’s gullibility or ignorance of the law. Young people who display nude pictures of themselves because they feel pressured or because they want to capture someone’s attention express a deeper problem than low self-esteem.
One factor in teens’ inclination for such surprising conduct is the use of sex in movies, television, and advertising that has slowly but steadily shaped their attitudes on what is permissible for public display. Every day, they see sex exploited as entertainment or means of selling products. The sexual messages that constantly bombard our teens often break down their natural inhibitions and can lead them to believe it is alright to use their bodies to get what they want.
Peer pressure can also fuel uncharacteristic behavior. In talking with young people, I am amazed at the demands placed upon them by other teens to be sexual. Whether or not this leads to their having sex, teens often feel bullied into expressing themselves in provocative ways in order to prove they are not “weird.”
I believe the root of the problem, however, is that kids who distribute pornographic images of themselves are demonstrating unmet needs they try to fill through personal relationships. When those relationships become more important than their own self respect, they will stoop to anything to prompt others to notice them. Even Christian children can fall prey to this trap.

So how do we protect our kids from themselves? As parents, we bear the responsibility to counteract the world’s message by grounding our children in the knowledge of what God says about such actions. We can teach them:
  • Their bodies are the temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16) and members of Christ (1 Cor. 6:15).
  • Paul cautioned women to be modest (Titus 2:9).
  • Nudity often leads to lust and may have tragic consequences (the story of David and Bathsheba 2 Samuel 11-12).
We can also inoculate our children against the pressure to impress others by infusing them with the knowledge that we cherish them and more importantly that God cherishes them (1 John 4:16-19). When we spend time with our children, listen to their problems and fears, and demonstrate God’s unconditional love toward them on a daily basis, we will entice them to place their faith in a loving savior rather than in peers whose attention they may seek through means they will later regret.

While the temptation to sexual sin has always been with us, advancing technology is adding more avenues to such temptations. We must pray that our children will stand strong against the pressures they face. My heart often echoes Paul’s prayer for his beloved parishioners in Philippians 2:15-16: “That you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.”


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