"Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them." John 7:38

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I read recently that the average age for a boy’s first exposure to pornography is seven. Seven! My heart fell. My beautiful grandson just turned seven. I had to do some research; is this seven-year-old threshold for real?

With a little digging, I started to breathe a tiny sigh of relief because most studies show that eleven is the average age for first exposure. We have time! However, as I dug deeper, I learned that eleven was before the internet, when children might find a magazine lying around the house. Now, things have changed.

With the prevalence of cell phones, tablets and computers, the new age of first exposure is eight. Eight!! Eight-year-olds are viewing pornography. Not only that, but I came across an article stating that boys as young as eight struggle with pornography addictions! Addiction! Dear God, help us.

At an age when a little boy’s biggest issues should be refraining from picking his nose and staying away from the cookie jar, he may have to decide if he wants to look at porn a second time. I say second, because the typical first experience with porn is quite by accident – a pop up on the computer, a wrong click, or discovering something at home. Now, there’s a poison cookie jar at his electronic disposal.

What have we done?

And boys aren’t the only ones who struggle with porn! I read an article about middle school girls who are bullied into sending inappropriate photos of themselves to boys. Who are afraid if they don’t participate in dangerous sexual activity they will be ostracized. And who typically have sex before they have their first kiss. Dear God, help us!

When little girls should be mastering math, nail polish and menstrual pads, they are faced with hard issues like “how far to go” and birth control. These little girls will never experience the innocence of holding hands or the sweet awkwardness of a heart-throbbing first kiss. They won’t know how to date because they are learning know how to hook-up.

What have we done?

These are the averages, not the exceptions! For every boy whose first exposure to pornography is fifteen, does that mean there are little boys who are seeing things they shouldn’t see from birth. Yes, yes it does.

For every little girl who feels forced into sexual compliance by her frenemies at age fifteen, is there a little girl who is doing the same thing at age ten? Yes, yes there are.

What can we do? First of all, we have to stop looking at pornography ourselves. We must stop excusing borderline gray areas as innocent fun. We must throw away the secret stash (ha! Secret? Wrong!). And we must admit that pornography is an addictive evil.

Evil? Yes. And yet, the world tells us there is nothing wrong with pornography; that what happens between consenting adults is their own business. Now, however, there is scientific, fact-based evidence regarding the harm that pornography does. It alters the brain in the same way that addictive drugs do.

This is not a game. This is a powerful and destructive tool of the Devil to destroy people, families, homes, and marriages. And the induction age is now eight-years-old!

Should we talk with our children about sexuality and its biblical role in our lives before they encounter the lie of pornography. Should we share with them what marriage and true love are supposed to be! I think so. Before our eight-year-olds begin to process the lie, we must help them understand the truth, and we must figure out how to do this with age-appropriate language and illustrations. The best language is our own lives.

Is there pornography in your home? On your TV? In your computer? In your heart? In your words? Is it time to take out the trash?

Let me just say that no family is immune. None. Not mine and not yours. Every boy and girl, every man and woman is a target of pornography peddlers and predators, especially our children and grandchildren. If we peruse pornography, we are the conduit through which that evil will flow to our children. Beware; the pleasures of the parents easily become the excesses of the children.

We hear all the time that porn is harmless, that there is nothing wrong with adults who view these things in private. If that is how you think, may I ask some simple questions:

  • How do you feel after you view it?
  • Would you have it on in the background if your parents were visiting?
  • Would you tell your neighbor what you are watching?
  • How often do you clean your computer history because of it?
  • Why do you keep it hidden?
  • What will you say to your children when they discover it?

If pornography is not a problem in your family, what steps are you taking to insure that it never becomes one? Have you prepared your children for the day it is available on the school bus? At their friend’s house? At the playground?

Are you strengthening them with the truth of God’s Word regarding sexuality? Do they know the purpose for sexual intimacy? Do they know that their bodies are precious to God?

We probably can’t eradicate pornography from the world, but we can do our best to inoculate our children. We must tell them the truth, and we must live it. We must help them understand the destruction that pornography brings. We must be as vigilant regarding pornography as we are with any other drug.

Their lives, their emotional health, and their future relationships are at stake.

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own…” – 1 Corinthians 6:19 NIV

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” – Matthew 26:41NIV

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV

“Finally, brothers Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things” – Philippians 4:8 NIV

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