2 minute read

Teens and Internet Pornography (Part 1)

Last Updated: April 17, 2015

Luke Gilkerson

Luke Gilkerson has a BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies and an MA in Religion. He is the author of Coming Clean: Overcoming Lust Through Biblical Accountability and The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality. Luke and his wife Trisha blog at IntoxicatedOnLife.com

The world has gone through rapid change in the last 20 years. One of the greatest technological advancements of last two decades has been the widespread usability of the Internet. The World Wide Web has radically changed the way we communicate, do business, organize finances, purchase merchandise and services, and find information. This change has been so radical that some sociologists call younger men and women the “Internet generation.”

The Internet is a wonderful tool, a worldwide canvas for anyone to display their ideas. Never before has the world been so connected to information and news. Anyone can share anything. Anything . . .

Today, our teens face a new breed of temptation: Internet pornography. Sure, pornography has been around “since men drew on cave walls” but never before has the wall been so big and so accessible. A study in 2002 demonstrated that 70% of youth ages 15 to 17 reported accidentally coming across pornography online, and nearly a quarter of these said this happened “very” or “somewhat” often. In 1996 officials of the U.S. Department of Justice stated, “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 in so many American homes with so few restrictions.” Imagine what they might say today, over ten years later.

There are a number of factors to consider when looking at the gravity of this problem. Porn is highly addictive, and the Internet now delivers it at high speed into most households . . . just when you thought our teens had enough hormonal changes to deal with. Let’s look at some of the issues one at a time.

– – – –

The Gateway Drug

Why is pornography a problem? From a Christian perspective the answer seems obvious: it provokes lust. But above and beyond this, lust and sexual immorality are singled out in Scripture as having particularly devastating consequences. “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18). Modern science is beginning to unearth more of what God may have meant when these words were penned by the apostle Paul. Dr. Jeffrey Satinover summarized the power of pornography when he testified before a Senate subcommittee: “The underlying nature of an addiction to pornography is chemically nearly identical to a heroin addiction.”

When someone views pornography neuroscientists can observe how the brain releases dopamine. This is the primary hormone released during cocaine use. This is also the hormone that is naturally released in otherwise normal sexual or romantic encounters. When viewing porn the brain also releases oxytocin. This is a strong hormone that is also released the first time mothers or fathers hold their newborn baby or when lovers hold hands. Oxytocin creates a bonding effect. The brain simply can’t distinguish between viewing pornography and a sexual encounter, so these hormones are released. But instead of bonding to another person, the brain is bonding to pornographic images and opening the viewer up to a dopamine addiction. Pornography is essentially overexposure to erotic stimuli that exhausts our normal sexual responses.

Read Part 2
  • Comments on: Teens and Internet Pornography (Part 1)
    1. Ben Brown on

      So really… we have everything against us… our naturally sinful nature that desires impurity… as well as the chemical dependency… how unfortunate… to put it mildly.

      But doesn’t that make victory in Christ even more spectacular and glorious! I think so… I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me… [The Bible]

      Reply
    2. Kevin on

      Idiots. You’re all idiots. All activities that are found to be enjoyable or pleasurable can be addictive. People who aren’t weak – for instance, people who don’t need the crutch of religion to give their life some importance, and instead find that it’s the living of life and the relationships formed that matter – can watch porn casually without repercussions, just like you can read the Bible without becoming obsessed…. actually, bad example, because you are obsessed… just like you can eat chicken without becoming obsessed. Chicken is delicious. Does that mean that anyone who finds chicken delicious, and gets that sweet release of chemicals that tell the brain that the experience is pleasurable, will succomb to the addictive nature of tasty chicken and will let it take over their life? No. It’s just that you like chicken, but not porn, so you have to outlaw it among your children, and their children, and everyone else, to maintain your power over your flock and keep everyone subordinate. That’s how the church derives its power, by claiming that only God and Jesus can save the flock from sin and want and evil.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        @Kevin – Of course we bring our Christian worldview into this discussion because we are Christians, but your statements here about hormones and chemicals wouldn’t hold up even among non-Christian and non-religious psychologists and neuro-biologists.

        As for our moral views about pornography: these are based on our beliefs about who Jesus is, which a historical question, not a question about power or social control. I would wholeheartedly agree religion (of all forms) has been used to unjustly control others, but to claim that Jesus was somehow wrong because some of his supposed followers misuse his teaching is a blatantly false. I wouldn’t claim that because some atheists have been inconsistent in their atheism that atheism is therefore false.

    3. Khanair on

      Kevin wrote: “… just like you can eat chicken without becoming obsessed. Chicken is delicious. Does that mean that anyone who finds chicken delicious, and gets that sweet release of chemicals that tell the brain that the experience is pleasurable, will succomb to the addictive nature of tasty chicken and will let it take over their life? ”

      It’s been 6 years since this, but I don’t appreciate being called an idiot, your analogies are faulty, in logic we call this a faulty analogy, you’re opening statement and complete argument is, “I’m smart you’re dumb, if you only thought like I did you’d be smart but since you don’t think like I do you’re an idiot and I’m smart”

      I’m assuming Kevin is an atheist, guys when atheists say, “You’re weak religion is a psychological crutch” realize that atheism is a religion, their psychological crutch is to fall on the belief that there is no God, because no God = no rules, God = rules, Kevin doesn’t like it when God said, “Thou shalt not commit adultery” he’ll have to take that up with God, that’ll be fearful.

      I don’t get why he’s complaining, how can he say we are weak, wrong, idots, etc. When there is no standard in his philosophy, in fact, he couldn’t say that child porn is wrong, he’s got no standard.

      Pornography, is wrong, marriage is honourable, but adulterers God will judge.

      Reply

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