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Explaining porn to pre-teens in the internet age

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Non-profit organization Fight the New Drug, a group devoted to educating people about the dangers of pornography, relayed a story about how Mythbusters host Adam Savage caught his twin sons searching for porn.

They were in fourth grade — that’s 9 years old — and already searching the internet for porn. Welcome to the 21st century.

The incident put the father in the unenviable position, likely years before he imagined needing to have that discussion, of trying to explain why wondering what females look like without clothes is normal, but viewing porn is dangerous.

Porn is often the most searched term month after month, and porn sites often outperform most other websites for total web traffic. Savage opted to try reasoning that the internet hates women — and it does.

You can listen to him describe “the talk” on his podcast at www.themoth.org.

In the article appearing this week, Fight the New Drug reveals some shocking new statistics pertaining to the violence portrayed in pornography:

“It might seem a little crazy at first to think about, but read this: a few years ago, a team of researchers looked at 50 of the most popular porn films—the ones bought and rented most often.

“Of the 304 scenes the movies contained, 88% contained physical violence and 49% contained verbal aggression. On average, only one scene in 10 didn’t contain any aggression, and the typical scene averaged 12 physical or verbal attacks.

“The amount of violence shown in porn is astonishing, but equally disturbing is the reaction of the victims. In the study, 95% of the victims (almost all of them women) either were neutral to the abuse or appeared to respond with pleasure.

There is no redeeming qualities about pornography. None. Zip. Zero. Nada. Porn will take people places they don’t want to go from which it is nearly impossible to return.

What the podcast doesn’t touch on is how quickly porn can become an addiction.

I saw my first Playboy two weeks after my 12th birthday. Savage’s kids are three years younger than I was.

When I was a teen, I heard the same language about how normal viewing porn was. When my mother caught me with a Playboy magazine under my coat, I remember she was delighted and relieved that I was not trying to sneak drugs or alcohol out of the house; you know, something really addictive.

Two years later, when my father had “the talk” with me, he also said porn was acceptable. He even explained in great detail how boys masturbate, as though they’d never figure that out by themselves. My father viewed porn himself. I knew that he knew I was looking at it when I would visit his house, but he never said a word against it.

In 1976, when I was 16, a relative gave me a Playboy calendar for Christmas, in a living room 80 percent full of women and girls as young as 9, and every laughed. They thought it was cute. But, it was like pouring gas on a wildfire.

Fortunately, Savage’s sons have a father who really cares. A father who knows what porn can do to a young mind, already pummeled by feelings of inadequacy. A father who knows where porn will drag them, if he didn’t stand in the gap.

Dads, it is never too early to have a talk with your kids about the adverse affects of porn. They are viewing it years before you even think they are interested in girls.

Be real. Admit your struggles and failings. But, whatever you do, don’t give them the impression that porn is in any way normal, acceptable and something to be tolerated.

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Greg Gerber

A native of Wisconsin who moved to Arizona in 2009, Greg Gerber is a DODO -- Dad of Daughters Only -- to three grown daughters. He worked as a journalist for many years before pursuing a career as a faith-based writer, author, coach and speaker. Greg is the author of Pornocide: How Lust is Killing Your Faith, Stealing Your Joy and Destroying Your Life.

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