This book is a valuable, practical resource for every Christian teen about relationships and sex—and why it is such a big deal to God. Not one to shy away from edgy topics, my book candidly shares:
- the ground-breaking science that explains the addictive power of cyber sex
- straight talk about masturbation and pornography
- a battle plan for living porn free with sexual integrity
- a positive perspective about sacred sex
- the keys to a lifetime of fulfilling intimacy
- how to live boldly while honoring God
Each chapter in Pure Teens will help teens figure out God’s road map in making decisions about how to honor Him, relationships, and sex. Parents and counselors will also find tested and tried steps to guide young people to a life of godly freedom and integrity.
Pure Teens: Honoring God, Relationships, and Sex is scheduled to arrive in bookstores in September 2015. Until then, here’s an excerpt from the book.
A Deadly War
The swiftly changing technology and new media offer great benefits and unanticipated challenges. Teens now average 7.38 hours a day of screen time. The Internet is used to search for a wide range of quality information and connections (Rideout, 2010)1. But, it is also used to acquire harmful and pornographic material.
Pornography and Mainstream Culture
Pornography has already moved into the mainstream of our culture due in large part to the Internet. The Internet and the ability to use it with our cell phones havechanged how pornography is accessed and how many people are impacted by it.
Pornography has also accelerated because of the “Triple-A Effect” of accessibility affordability, and anonymity.2 Most teens have access to an enormous amount of pornography by using their cell phone or home computer. Most of the websites offer some free pornography. Then, the porn producers try to bait viewers into their paid sites with the prospect of greater sexual stimulation.
In today’s world, it is almost impossible to avoid pornography, and it has never been more important to protect ourselves.
The Internet also offers the illusion of secrecy or anonymity. However, our personal identity is not private or a secret. Simply erasing the browsing history doesn’t get rid of the viewing record. There is documentation of where we have been on the hard drive as well as by the internet service provider.
The presence and threat of pornography has increased rapidly in our culture. Grabstats.com presents a statistical picture of just how much pornography is part of mainstream. Here are some of the facts:
- Every 39 minutes a new porn video is produced in the United States
- Every second 28,258 people are logging on to view pornography
- There are 4.2 million porn websites
- 12% of all websites are pornographic
- There are 420 million pages of pornography on the Internet
- 42% of adult Internet users view pornography
Never before has there been so much pornography accessible. It is nearly impossible to keep track of all the new pornographic webpages added every day to the World Wide Web. In today’s world, it is almost impossible to avoid pornography, and it has never been more important to protect ourselves.
There can be no denying the fact that pornography is a big part of American society. It is mainstream culture. The pornography available today goes beyond the power of print or film in previous generations to create addiction. Teens are in a culture that puts them at significant risk.
Teens Are Especially Vulnerable
Teens are at great risk for addiction, because their brains are still developing. The adolescent brain is not simply a smaller, newer version of the adult brain. It’s more a “work in progress,” more pliable, more impressionable.
The adolescent brain is not developed enough to utilize the cognitive control needed to overcome the sexual cravings elicited by pornographic material. The inability to say “no” can have life-long consequences. Certainly, the impact of pornography on the teen brain is more detrimental to the teen than the adult.
Internet pornography is quite powerful in capturing the attention of the teen brain. This power can be understood in considering how people can:
- choose what they want to watch any time with little or no charge
- find images that involve sound and motion, which have a more intense effect on the brain
- click through many images in a short amount of time and thereby be exposed to more in quantity and variety in one sitting than through a magazine or DVD
- take advantage of the “Triple-A Engine” effect of accessibility, affordability, and anonymity
- become addicted to pornography in shorter spans of time due to the easy access and speed
McAfee, the world’s largest dedicated security technology company, released findings from the company’s 2012 Teen Internet Behavior study (June 25, 2012). Many teens are accessing inappropriate online content—specifically 43% of teens have accessed simulated violence online, 36% have accessed sexual topics online, and 32% have accessed nude content or pornography online. This means teens are accessing images and information about men and women, relationships, and sex at an age when they are most impressionable.
Tangled in the Web
Not all teens understand the deceitful and seductive power of cybersex. For example, Lucy is fifteen years-old and a sophomore in high school. She is interested in boys, and she is quite shy. A friend at school told her about Bill, and the mutual friend helped them connect through skype. He was a senior on the football team and very popular. The attention he provided made her feel important and attractive like never before.
Bill knew how to charm and flirt with girls. He quickly recognized Lucy’s need for attention and he gave it to her. It didn’t take long before he was telling her stories about his sexual experiences. While she was hesitant at first to talk about sexual matters, she eventually joined the conversation. Their talks became more and more sexual until one day Bill dared her to take off her blouse. Things progressed quickly and Bill talked her into taking off all her clothes. She shared, “I never thought I would do such a thing. It was so exciting, and no one ever made me feel that way before.”
This online behavior took place on three different occasions. Then, one Saturday her parents left to do some shopping. While she was on the computer with Bill, she didn’t hear them come back in the house. Her parents walked into the bedroom and were shocked and alarmed at the scene. They discovered what she had been doing. She was horrified and humiliated. Her mom and dad wondered how this could happen.
Tumbling into Trouble
But as Lucy’s story illustrates, the fantasy and excitement of cybersex may come at a big price. Lucy had no idea the damage her actions might cause her and her loved ones. She later learned that Bill had recorded her and let some of the guys on the football team watch her undress. Then, the word started to get around school. The whole experience was painfully embarrassing and shameful for Lucy. She didn’t go back to school for three weeks and even then very reluctantly.
Bill, too, was in trouble, and he learned that there can be negative consequences for online behaviors. When the school administration evaluated the situation, he was no longer able to play on the football team. While possible legal action was considered by Lucy’s parents, they decided not to press charges. The District Attorney decided not to press charges, if he underwent counseling for 6 months. Bill could have been charged for the production of child pornography, because he made the recording of Lucy undressing and distributed it.
The Lure of Pornography
Pornography baits and traps us because we have a natural curiosity about sex. This may be the simple allure of the forbidden or for the pleasures of sexual excitement and release (orgasm).For many, pornography offers a way of coping with anxiety, stress or loneliness.We all have different vulnerabilities, but there are some common ones most of us struggle with especially as teens. These include body image and peer pressure.