I (Tasha) am a counselor, and I have been working with men battling internet pornography addiction for over a decade. The pornography problem is an epidemic in the Christian community.
• Promise Keepers did a study and found that 53% of their participants had viewed pornography in the last week.
• Christianity Today suggested that 40% of pastors struggle with an internet pornography.
Pornography is not a problem just for men. We are finding that women are struggling as well. Dirty Girls Ministries released a study in February and stated that 40% of Christian women were addicted (not just struggling) to internet pornography. Over 700 Christian women were surveyed in the study, and 68% of them admitted to using pornography for masturbation. And like men, many of these women started viewing pornography in their pre-teen and teenage years.
So what do we do?
- Talk about it. Talk about the dangers of internet pornography with your family, youth group, and church. In 2000 I began my research and no one in the Christian community was talking about pornography addiction, and yet 95% of the Christian couples I was treating at the time reported porn as one of the major problems in their relationship. Today, talking about pornography from a man’s perspective is common in most churches, but now it’s time to bring women and kids into the conversation.
- Talk about internet safety with your kids. It’s not uncommon for me to hear addicted clients say, “I was a kid when I accidentally found pornography. I didn’t even know what porn was, but I knew that I wanted to see more.” Children need to know there are inappropriate things on the internet. As parents we can’t protect our kids from everything, but we can make choices about their technology habits, knowledge, and safety.
- Join the iParent movement. 74% of parents say they do not have the time or energy to keep up with their children online. 46% of teens said they would change their online behavior if they knew their parents were paying attention. The makers or xxxchurch.com are in the process of creating iParent.TV.: a yearly, subscription-based website for teaching and informing parents on all things tech, mobile, devices, websites, and apps for kids so that parents can know what’s going on with their kids. Check out this link for more information: http://iparent.tv
- Talk about it with your teenagers. Talk about pornography with your guys and girls. If talking about porn makes you nervous, there are tons of videos from Christian artists are on Youtube and Vimeo talking about pornography: Jefferson Bethke, Jimmy Needham, Crystal Renaud, Andy Mineo, Audrey Assad (just be careful with your search). Group Youth Ministry has great resources for talking about porn with your students.
- Get help. If porn is a struggle for you, get help. Pornography addiction is a chemical addiction in your brain much like heroin. Porn is relentless, and without the help of a Holy God and possibly a trained professional, your struggle with pornography will not end on it’s own.
- Get accountable. Find a buddy who will hold you accountable. X3watch.com and CovenantEyes.com are my favorite online accountability resources, but there are a lot of great ones out there. And if this is a problem for you, being held accountable once a week is not enough. Talk about porn, but when you do avoid using shaming words. Shame NEVER inspires change. EVER. Shame only perpetuates hopelessness, which leads to more sin. Conviction, hope, and grace is what leads us to repentance and life change.
“In kindness [God] takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.” Romans 2:4 (The Message)