The beautiful bride on the back cover of my Victoria magazine appeared carefree and radiant. Dressed in a strapless white gown, she was running down the beach followed by her exquisite wedding party. There was nothing indecent about the scene, but moments earlier when I asked my 6-year-old son why he was carrying around my magazine, he showed me this picture. And he looked ashamed.
That day, as never before, I realized the battle for a child's mind begins very early. Although the picture that captured my son's interest was not pornographic, it was a reminder to me that he will be a curious 9-year-old before I know it. It won't be long before he discovers images far more tantalizing than the woman in the white gown.
Our culture feeds children a visual diet of images that arouse the imagination?images that are not lost on young children. Socially palatable pornography is everywhere. It can be found on the cover of a magazine in the grocery store checkout line or the department store circulars stuffed in with the Sunday paper.
I know there are parents who will think my son's interest in a perfume ad was no big deal. But experts have found that a child's understanding of sex and sexuality is formed early on. Russell Willingham, pastoral counselor and the author of Breaking Free: Understanding Sexual Addiction & the Healing Power of Jesus (InterVarsity) has found that 40 to 65 percent of Christian men struggle with pornography, a struggle that often begins in childhood.1