During the tween and teen years, kids go through a vulnerable time socially, emotionally, and physiologically. Due to MRI technology, we now know that during puberty, the brain goes through massive changes that make inappropriate exposure during these years incredibly impactful. A process of “neuron proliferation” creates billions of new neurological connections, as the brain tries to determine what neurological pathways are used most frequently. As patterns are established, the brain winnows down neurons in a “use it or lose it” strategy of creating a more efficient organ for adulthood. Repeated and long-term exposures to pornography during these developmental years essentially hard-wire the brain for addiction, creating chemically-charged neurological hardwiring (Click the link for one of the best books out there about the brain and addiction from our friends at Covenant Eyes). Can it be “reversed”? Yes, but these issues never go away without a lot of hard work.
Spirit Power Hijacked: Digital activity, including pornography, gaming (in excess), and chat rooms provide methods of satisfying God-given desires in soul damaging ways.
All the way back in 2005, Dr. Jill C. Manning, sociologist, testified before the U.S. Senate on pornography’s impact on marriage on families with this quote: “Research reveals many systemic effects of Internet pornography that are undermining an already vulnerable culture of marriage and family. Even more disturbing is the fact that the first Internet generations have not reached full-maturity, so the upper-limits of this impact have yet to be realized.”
At the time, we had no idea how prophetic her words would be. We are now receiving into society our first generation of young adults who have been continuously exposed to inappropriate online material during their formative years, and they are unable to maintain a meaningful human to human relationship. They just don’t know how to interact with another person. Consider the differences between digital intimacy and God-designed human intimacy: alone vs. together, constant novelty vs. singular monogamy, single-level (visual) connection vs. multi-level (visual, emotional, physical, spiritual) connection. And the list goes on. Porn destroys human love.
NEXT STEPS: No child is immune from the risk of encountering pornography on the Internet. We’ve developed eight strategies for parents that can help create a safer Internet experience for your children. Sign up for our newsletter below. We believe parents who are observant, engaged and informed often have children who learn how to handle technology responsibly.