Know the Signs
My husband and I stared at our teenage son, our jaws dropping. Surely we had misunderstood him.
Then he said it again. "I'm addicted to pornography." Addicted!
Brandon went on to explain how he sat down one day to watch TV and stumbled upon a pornographic channel—a channel
that the cable company had only partially scrambled. He saw enough to become hooked and had been watching the
programs for eighteen months.
"I tried over and over to stop, but I can't." Tears came to his eyes. "I think I need help."
How had we missed the signs for so long? Could we have helped our son avoid an addiction if we had
discovered his activities earlier?
Parents find it hard to believe their children would become involved with pornography. Unfortunately, today's
technology explosion brings kids face to face with sexually explicit material whether they look for it or not.
In 1 Corinthians 10:13, God promises that whenever our children find themselves confronted with temptation He'll
provide an escape route. But He doesn't guarantee they'll take it. That's why we as parents must stay alert to
any signs that our children may be making wrong choices before pornography hooks them.
Watch for the following behaviors:
- Staying up late at night
- Spending excessive amounts of time on the computer
- Withdrawing from family activities
- Abandoning activities they used to enjoy
- Exhibiting emotional changes, especially becoming distant, distracted or moody
- Switching channels or turning off the TV when you enter the room
- Clicking off a web site whenever you come near
- Shifting their dress habits to either extreme—from modest to sexy or from provocative to
- Using sexual humor or references
- Making off-color or degrading comments, especially about women
- Expressing unaccounted-for knowledge or unusual preoccupation with sexual matters (in younger children)
- Displaying sexual aggression—older children "can't keep their hands off" others; younger children
attempt to play sexual "games" with other children
- Developing a taste for sexually explicit media such as rap music, R-rated movies, or TV shows with mature
- Making sexual references or including inordinate numbers of sex quizzes on their Facebook or MySpace account;
joining social networking groups preoccupied with sex
While some of these behaviors may arise from other problems or even normal adolescent development, many times they
surface because children have been exposed to pornography. Only through careful investigation can you determine the
difference. In addition, parents may observe hard evidence that is not so easy to pass off, such as:
Even when caught with pornography, children often deny a problem. While it's tempting to accept their explanations
at face value, recognize that even the most honest children may lie. If you have any doubt, probe further.
Protecting your children entails not only keeping porn out of your home but also intervening quickly if a problem
begins to develop. Know the signs.
Focus on the Family Counselor Referral Service
1-800-A FAMILY or
Focus on the Family