You and I live in an age where the internet, mobile devices, and other digital technologies create a world where children and teens no longer have to look for pornography. It usually finds them. Pornography has become main-stream in our culture and can have serious effects. The U.S. Department of Justice issued this warning back in 1996: "Never before in the history of telecommunications media in the United States has so much indecent (and obscene) material been so easily accessible by so many minors and in so many American homes with so few restrictions." That was twenty years ago and today the accessibility has only become easier, everywhere.
As a parent I am called by God to nurture my children into spiritually healthy adults. I have the responsibility to be aware of and be a "gatekeeper" for what they see and experience. I have to continue to work hard to prepare my children to understand, process, and respond to how this broken world we live in expresses itself in ways that bring honor and glory to God. As a parent and a Youth Director I understand that it is not a matter of if our children will see something sexually immoral but a matter of when.
Forest Benedict wrote in the Christian Leader, "Pornography has a stranglehold on the church, with an estimated two-thirds of Christian men and one-third of Christian women viewing it. Adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 are the largest consumers of pornography, and the estimated average age of first exposure has dropped down to nine. In shame-driven isolation, too many stay silent."
It is time we begin to address this issue here at First Pres. If you are a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, teacher, caregiver, mentor or just care about kids (pretty much everyone!) please join us this Wednesday, April 13 from 6:30-8:30pm in the Corner Room for a free seminar led by Forest Benedict entitled "Dangerous Access: Protecting Children from the Path of Pornography."
Forest Benedict is the clinical director of LifeStar of the Central Valley and has taught at Fresno Biblical Seminary. I look forward to how this education and equipping will help us as a church family raise spiritually and emotionally healthy kids.