Poison Control

How to protect your child's heart and mind from the power of pornography

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.

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May 25

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