Children Producing Porn - What Should Parents Do?

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Predators
A 16-year-old Virginia (Free State) schoolgirl and a 42-year-old Welkom man are being charged with sexual offences relating to the manufacturing, distribution and possession of child pornography, after they sent naked pictures as well as videos of sex acts to each other by cellphone (“Girl, 16, sends naked pics to man, 42”, www.news24.com, 3 April 2013).

Promises
They had met at a pizza restaurant in Welkom and the man apparently promised to buy her a car and an expensive cellphone. He also bought her airtime for her phone.

Airtime
According to news reports and many concerned Christian youth ministries, the above incident is becoming common in South Africa, especially by teenage girls desperate to make a quick R30 for cellphone airtime.

Texting
Much concern (and rightly so) has been raised about pornography being made of children (child pornography or child abuse images) and being exposed to pornography themselves, but more recently there is the emerging trend of children producing pornography of themselves or “sexting”.You have probably heard of texting (or MMSing/SMSing) — sending short messages to someone via some sort of mobile device. “Sexting” is a slang term for sending erotic or sexually suggestive messages, photos, or videos.

Disturbing
The US National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and CosmoGirl.com commissioned a survey of teens (ages 13-19) and young adults (ages 20-26) to explore the prevalence of sexting. The survey found that 20% of teens surveyed had sent, or posted, nude or semi-nude pictures or video of themselves, and 39% had sent or posted sexually suggestive messages. The study found that 51% of teen girls surveyed said “pressure from a guy” is one reason girls send a sexy image, and 52% of girls who had sent images did so as a ‘sexy present’ for their boyfriend.

Pressure
In Big Porn Inc: Exposing the Harms of the Global Pornography Industry, researcher Nina Furnell notes, “When considering the enormous pressure placed on young women to appear attractive and to participate in a hypersexualised culture which rewards exhibitionism, it is not surprising to learn that so many girls and young women are producing nude or semi-nude images of themselves.”

Courting Abuse
The social pressure to send these sorts of messages comes mostly from a desire to be flirtatious, but the long-term ramifications are very serious.

Unexpected Consequences
First, digital messages and images can be easily distributed to those not intended to see them. Some may find that their sensual digital escapades can come back to bite them later. According to a poll conducted by MTV and Associated Press, nearly 1 in 5 people who receive a sext share it with someone else, and more than 1 in 7 are shown a ‘sexy’ photo not originally meant for their eyes. What happens when these photos are distributed around the school or to potential employers?

Criminal
Second, sexting can have legal ramifications. Technically speaking, a nude or semi-nude image of a minor is considered child pornography. In some cases, teens have received a criminal charge for producing and distributing child pornography.

Lust
Last, the trend reveals a deeper problem among youth. Sexting is just one part of the overall sex-on-tap culture in which we live. In their desire to be accepted by someone they like, teens and young adults give in to the pressure to become someone else’s pornography.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  1. Understand the younger generation’s concept of “privacy” might be different than your own, and help your teen see the risks involved in online communication. Dr. Judith Paphazy points out that teens and twenty-somethings who grow up on a steady diet of reality television and social networks easily conclude that a loss of privacy is not only normal, but that it offers rewards. Teens who share racy photos don’t often see this activity in terms of “giving up their privacy.” Adolescents feel that their online networks are their “private” space for their friends to congregate. With this in mind, educate your teen about why the digital world makes things impossible to erase.
  1. Talk to your teen about Biblical sexual purity. Modern culture makes sex into a commodity. People are no longer whole persons but avatars and pixels on a screen, something to be distributed en masse, bought and sold. Teach your teen to value their future marriage partner more than this. Take note of their “media diet” and help them to identify the subtle (or not so subtle) messages about sexuality. (Acknowledgements to Parenting the Internet Generation e-book from www.Covenenateyes.com for the above 2 points and some of the studies cited).
  1. We need to get back to the Bible, to work for Reformation and pray for Revival in our own lives, families, communities and countries. Ensure you protect your family by blocking p*rn on cell phones and computers. Visit www.cellphonesafety.co.za for info on how to do this and download a free internet web filter from www.k9webprotection.com. Visit www.purehope.net for tips on parenting the Internet generation and for advice on age-appropriate conversations you can have with you children about issues of sexual morality.
  1. Contact your elected representative to encourage effective eradication of all pornography.

“If anyone causes one of these little ones to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!”Matthew 18:6-7

“Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness but rather expose them.” Ephesians 5:11

Resources

Here are some helpful free e-books, downloadable from Covenant Eyes:
Parenting the Internet Generation
Parenting in a Sexualised Culture

A Parent’s Guide to Cyberbullying
The Porn Circuit: Understand Your Brain and Break Porn Habits in 90 Days
Porn-Free Church: Raising Up Gospel Communities to Destroy Secret Sins

Porn and Your Husband: A Recovery Guide for Wives

Resources Available from Africa Christian Action:
The Bible and Pornography
Finding Freedom from Pornography
The Secret in the Pew – Hope for the Porn Addict
How to Block Porn On Your Phone
Fight the New Drug

Book
Porndemic: How the Pornography Plague Affects You and What You Can Do About It by Taryn Hodgson.

DVDs Available
Somebody’s Daughter DVD (62 minutes, R135)

Available from Christian Liberty Books: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 021 - 6897478, or www.christianlibertybooks.co.za.

Compiled by Taryn Hodgson
Africa Christian Action
PO Box 23632
Claremont
7735
Cape Town

South Africa
Tel: 021-689 4481 
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