just say no

I can’t tell you how many notes, calls and conversations I’ve recently had on a difficult topic that faces every family with young boys (and from what I hear – even girls… which is hard for me to believe). It’s the sneaky and relentless attack from increasingly prevalent porn.

A few weeks ago, I had a call from one MOAT whose young teenager had been busted (at school no less) with comic porn. Personally, I haven’t seen the stuff, but I’m thinking its a far cry from our old friends Archie or Richie Rich. I remember sometimes feeling like even those guys stretched the boundaries with the voluptuous Veronica … but not compared to what’s hitting these kids.

And, when I say busted at school. I don’t mean someone found it in his backpack. No. He downloaded it from the school computer. “How?!” one might logically ask under the assumption that schools have a fairly impenetrable barrier to this kind of negative garbage. He could do it  because its “comic” basis cloaked the beyond inappropriate content.

Comic porn! Who would come up with that?! As a parents we try our hardest to preempt attacks. But who would have thought to guard against the comic people?

Truth is … you might be the Ft. Knox of parental control. Every television, every computer, every phone, every handheld device covered with filters that weed out the bad stuff. That’s great. It’s important. But don’t put all your eggs in that basket. Little Freddy next door just might have an iPhone. So what if the kid is only eight … he has a 15 year old brother, 13-year-old neighbors, etc. who just want to “see” it or “borrow” it. Throw in the iPads and you have a plethora of walking computers that may or may not sport parental controls or be in the hands of those who know how to get around them.

With my head swimming, wondering how in the world to get in front of this, to guard against it, I think there is only one conclusion. We can’t.

We can’t be there every time. We can’t know the next trick. We can’t guard it all. The only option is education. We need a Nancy Reagan “Just Say No” campaign to porn.

It worked for drugs. Kids and adults alike found power in the word no. It has worked in the abstinence battle. More and more kids are talking about their commitment to purity. Famous teens proudly wear wear purity rings. Just today, I heard Bethany Hamilton (the girl behind the new movie Soul Surfer) say in an interview today she was saving herself for marriage.

Will some super-cool famous person (like David Cassidy, Rick Springfield, Farah Fawcett, … oh, yeah – those were when I was a teen!) please step up to the plate and take on the education campaign for porn?! It is relentlessly pounding our kids. They’re so young. And it’s everywhere. Even places we wouldn’t expect.

Case in point, another MOAT shared with me that her boy had swiped her home decor magazines, dog-earing certain pages. She thought it was bizarre until she looked at the tags.

This is from my own Martha Stewart

I would never have paused long enough to realize the girl in this ad is buck naked … but of course a 14-year-old would. Around our house we steer clear of Sports Illustrated, fashion magazines, People Magazine, etc. (Not only for my boys but also for my girls who are tempted at every turn to compare their bodies to those of the super thin perfection adorning most covers… but that ‘s another post.) I just hadn’t thought about my infrequent purchases of what I consider benign magazine material to be fodder for curious young minds. Hey… I’m keeping my Martha – I just might need to peel out ads my boys might find enticing.

These are the uncharted territories of inexpensive data-plan cell phones, walking computers, sneaky ads, and progressively dwindling innocent eyes with younger and younger naive minds at stake.

I’m just sayin’. …

Thanks for walking the road with me … and letting me vent. Please feel free to share your experiences. Guest blogs are coming on this topic.


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