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Indecent Exposure: 7 Steps to Winning the Sexual Battle of the Next Generation

Last Updated: October 30, 2020

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Tears poured down her face, as we embraced. My wife, Donalyn, whispered to me through her pain, “It is so wrong, and so easy. What if our grandbabies ever saw that?”

Saw what?

Two things led to her reaction. First, we had just watched “Sext Up Kids,” a CBC Documentary on Doc Zone on Feb. 23, 2012 (we highly recommend that all parents and grandparents watch this 45-minute show online, though currently only available in Canada). It graphically and urgently calls parents to be aware of what our sex-saturated culture is doing to the sexual worldview of our children.

Secondly, earlier that same week, I had shared how a father had approached me with the tragic story of how well-meaning grandparents had given an iPad to a much-loved grandchild. This 11-year-old, with her curiosity and a push from her peers, had googled the word “sex.” She was traumatized. Thankfully, she came to her parents about her extreme confusion to talk and pray through the defiling impact these sexual images had had on her.

So, my wife (and yes, better her than me) decided, after watching the documentary, to simply Google the word “sex” and click on the first link that appeared to see what inquisitive and unsupervised kids might find. Thus the shock and the flowing tears. Donalyn found a one-page collage of pornographic photos of every explicit sexual act imaginable with exploitative captions under each. Unconscionable! Appalling! And only three letters and two clicks away…

It’s a new world out there. Parents beware! Your children can be so personally exploited and sexually manipulated with the explicit, harmful, content that is available free and anonymous and can be accessed anywhere, anytime.

Don’t say it can’t happen to your family. It did ours.

When my youngest daughter was at a sleepover for a friend’s 13th birthday party, the girls, in daring and unsupervised group fashion, managed to get on an adults only dating website. They thought they would have fun creating a fictitious profile but used their pictures. It went from innocent, though stupid, to dangerous when one girl went back later and put real contact information for our daughter—our phone number! I am so glad God protected us as I was the one who received the call from an older man wanting to speak to her. He back-peddled hard when he found out she was just 13 and I was her dad! If tragedy came that close to us and we are people who spend our lives helping others with marriage and family issues, why not you? Remember, that was 15 years ago…today is so different.

The pornographic influence on the culture is everywhere. The sexualization of our children is pervasive. The premature draw toward sex and being sexual is so powerful (watch the documentary). And how big a draw? The combined porn industry alone takes in more revenue annually than all the major sports industries—yes, bigger in North America than football, baseball, basketball and hockey combined. Then, this is the retail sales world where marketers, driven by intense greed for profit, use the KAGOY strategy: Kids Are Getting Older Younger. While advertizing restrictions are in place for TV, they do not exist for the Internet. Marketers can bypass parents like never before.

You add to this strong cultural sexual push, the natural and sometimes rebellious drive toward autonomy for all tweeners (10-14 year-olds) and any family could be poised for trouble. Consider this formula for disaster: kids seek to copy Hollywood icons in looks and attitudes, they see explicit content online and are invited to add to it, they thrill at being noticed and are enticed by the dare of sexual exposure, and uploading content is easy. This formula creates sad and devastating possibilities. If 24-7 access to porn—hardcore and highly explicit images—were not enough, kids can be tempted to produce and upload self-created and self-exposing sexually explicit pictures or videos. They can Skype live sexual exposure that feels harmless and safe because they are in their own homes or the homes of friends.

New and careful boundaries need to be in place. So, for the love of your kids, let’s create those boundaries for our kids and encourage others to do the same.

Be Intentional

Here are my tips on how parents can be wise and intentional about protecting their children from unhealthy sexual contamination.

  1. Wake up to the dangers. The potential influence of a sex-saturated culture on your children is scandalous. Seek online knowledge. Avoid regrets later. Choose to do all you can to protect your children from sensuously influential and sexually explicit online content.
  2. Get safeguards in place. Use built-in parental controls and install protective software whenever possible on every electronic device that has online access, including computers, mobile phones, smartphones, electronic notebooks or iPads, and game consoles like Xbox, Play Station and Wii. Just so you know, a Play Station can become a Porn Station. Check out parental controls available within each device, buy appropriate software to protect children, or disable WiFi for devices that do not allow sufficient safeguards. Before buying Internet enabled gadgets, learn about the parental controls or parental control software available. If it can’t be protected, don’t buy it for your family. Have your home wireless access password protected and set online access via your wireless router with both time and content limits. And if you are like me, ask a computer whiz in your world for help in doing this.
  3. Have preteen sex talks earlier. For years, I have been advocating parental value-based sex education by age 11. Push that down to age 9 and reinforce these talks each year with more details. We can’t be ashamed to talk about what God wasn’t ashamed to create. Go to DoingFamilyRight.com for great help on “sex talks.”
  4. Delay giving the latest electronic gadgets. Kids and teens often plead for the latest devices and are thinking about all the fun they can have and all of the friends they can impress. It’s a parent’s job to look for the potential problems. Should a child have their own computer, mobile device, or gaming system? Generally speaking, parents should provide guided interactions with such devices, and wait for a child to reach a trustworthy level of maturity before providing more access. In addition, throughout these tentative years, parents should only provide access to devices that provide parental controls and monitoring. This stance may not make you popular as a parent, because your kids will notice that many of their classmates have unfettered access. For instance, 58% of teens  own a smartphone, according to a 2012 Nielsen study. Another study shows 83% of middle school kids, 39% of fifth-graders, and 20% of third-graders have a mobile device. By middle school, 90% of children say they can use their cell phones to send text messages and access the Internet. It will take courage for parents to limit their children’s access. If you feel your child needs a phone to communicate with you, provide a “dumb phone” and turn off access to download apps and access the Internet.
  5. Implement new online boundaries. Here are a few. Create a curfew for using phones. Use phone and screen time (TV, computers, tablets) as a reward for completing chores, reading, and good behavior, and not as a general right. Reinforce that use of screen time is a gift or privilege and not a right. All gadgets should be turned off at night and stored in a common and secure place. Limit how long your kids are online. Passwords for all devices, e-mail, and online accounts must be shared with parents and are not private. Be friends with your kids on Facebook, if they are old enough to have an account. Don’t allow kids to upload photos, videos, or personal information without your permission, until a time that you fully trust them.
  6. Be vigilant as a parent. Know where your kids are, what they are doing, and whose house they are at? Be confident in the values and the supervision standards of those environments. Also, know and monitor their online community of friends and contacts like you would their school friends.
  7. Get on your knees more. Humbly ask God for wisdom in parenting. Lift up each child daily in prayer for protection, purity, and perspective on all life’s issues. This cultural challenge to win the sexual battle for the minds and hearts of the next generation puts a whole meaning to the verse, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he’ll not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

Tell us your story, share an opinion or ask a question at DoingFamilyRight.com. We’d love to hear from you in your journey of doing family right.

© Dr. Dave Currie – March 2012

  • Comments on: Indecent Exposure: 7 Steps to Winning the Sexual Battle of the Next Generation
    1. chris kilgore on

      I clicked on the 45 minute “Sext Up Kids,” a CBC Documentary, when I clicked on play it says this content is not available. I wonder if i can watch it at another website?

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Not that we know of, no. It is available in Canada only, I believe.

      • chris on

        Ok. thanks for the reply.

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