Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Fight the New Drug

Last Saturday we went to a conference put on by the Utah Coalition Against Pornography called "Protecting Children and Families from Pornography and other Harmful Material".
It was really good information that I think everyone should know so I am going to share what I got from the conference with you!

First, let me start by saying that pornography is becoming a real problem and, whether you like it or not, your family will be affected by it at one time or another. It is important to get educated about the effects it can have and also the profound effects that it is having on people young and old every day and take action to do something about it. Talking about pornography is awkward and hard but it is better than letting it silently and secretly destroy families and people that you love. This post is rather long but it is a very important subject so please read it.

Keynote Speaker: Mark Shurtleff - former Utah Attorney General
Here is a little bit about the work that he did while attorney general that I took from his Bio on
In his first 8 years in office, the number of meth labs in Utah was reduced by 98% and he has talked to thousands of students and parents about the dangers of drugs and led the effort to obtain millions of dollars in funding for education and rehabilitation.  His Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force has received national recognition and since Shurtleff has been in office, over 500 internet predators and child pornographers have been arrested and convicted (with a 99% conviction rate.) The number of sex offenders in Utah prisons has increased by more than 50%. In addition, Attorney General Shurtleff has toured the state and helped develop technology to teach parents and children how to be safe online.  "

Of all those internet predators and child molesters that he arrested said that they started by looking at soft porn (which I think is like Playboy magazine). And these predators that he arrested were everyday people: teachers, fathers with young children, the mailman, the checker at the grocery store, your neighbor, people who you knew and trusted and loved. He talked to cops who have made many hard calls in their lives, including informing parents that their child had died, but nothing was harder than the calls that they made to inform a mother with young children that they had just arrested her husband for child molestation. 

In his address he informed of the dangers of pornography and the outcomes that it can lead to but he also gave a way for us to combat it. 

Be prepared.
Ephesians 6:11 - Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Loins girt about with truth - tell the truth about sex, don't tell the lies that the world tells
Breastplate of righteousness - protect the heart, sex is about love, porn is not love, keep people involved and active in service doing things for other people and helping others
Helmet of salvation - protect the mind
your mind can only occupy one thing at a time, have something that can push bad thoughts out (a song or hymn), have a belief in something higher than ourselves, have faith that we can overcome evil
The sword - the word and spirit

After the keynote address there were several different breakout sessions to choose from and we only got to see two of the sessions. Here are my notes from the two sessions we went to.

Breakout session #1: Turning the Table on Pornographers 
Patrick Trueman and Dawn Hawkins from Morality in Media 

Harms of Pornography
  • Men, women, and children are becoming addicted
  • destroys families - one law firm reports that 58% of the divorces that it represented cited online pornography as a cause
  • early exposure among children affects psychological, physical, and social development
  • exploits women and children
  • performers are often coerced and forced
  • increases demand for children pornography
  • increases demand for trafficking women and children 
The Brain Science
  • harder to overcome than drug addictions
  • disrupts normal release of chemicals in the brain -- dopamine, norepinephrine, oxytocin, and seratonin. These are the chemicals that are released when you are feeling love for a spouse or an intimate partner but they excite you and images don't satisfy the way that the love of the partner does. 
  • there is something called a reward pathway - the chemicals are released when you do something you enjoy
  • when viewing porn, your brain is flooded and you brain actually changes so things that you used to enjoy, you don't enjoy anymore
  • our brains are plastic - they change! The brain is rewired which makes it hard for addicts (of all kinds) to change behavior
Online pornographers are targeting kids by making domain names for hardcore porn sites innocent keywords and misspelled versions of the domains for popular kids sites. They also use expired domain names or replace a .org for a .com so that young kids can accidentally stumble upon it. 

First protect yourself and family and then speak up about porn. You can visit and participate in whatever projects and action alerts they have going on on their site. 

Safe schools, safe libraries - Many schools and public libraries have either no or inadequate filtering software in place on their computers, allowing children and adults access to hardcore pornography and leading to many other dangers at these supposedly safe places.

I wish that everyone could have attended this conference because I feel that I am not conveying the information as adequately as they did.

Breakout session #2: What teens wish their parents knew when addressing the issue of pornography 

Clay Olsen from Fight the New Drug

1. They wish you knew that porn can lead to an actual addiction  
"just stop" isn't an option
teens subscribe to the mentality "if it wasn't said, then it isn't wrong"
see Brain science above
When it comes to the brain, addiction is addiction
2. They wish you knew that porn is different today than it was when you were growing up
today it is more available - they call it porn in the pocket, everybody has a device that they can view porn on and there is more free porn available. Before today, in order to view porn you had to go down the street and buy it from the adult store and everyone saw you doing it. 

Four As of Porn
Affordable - for teens its free because there are free samples and those are enough
Anonymous - if teens smoke or drink there are physical signs (smell like smoke)

All the people that have talked to this particular program said that they all started viewing porn regularly as kids (as young as 6 years old) 
The average age of exposure is 9 years old
with 79% of exposure happening in the home

Also, this might surprise you but 30% of the addicts are females.

3. They wish you knew that they are being targeted
Teens are targeted because they will be addicted longer than adults
5 marketing strategies for teens
1. free teaser images
2. innocent word searches
3. cartoon characters and child icons illustrated in inappropriate ways
4. pop-ups and banner ads
5. free flash games

4. They wish you knew to talk to them about it
tell them why and how it affects them
some people have the mindset that if they talk to them about porn it will lead their child to the problem - just don't show them porn! haha

When should you talk to them?
earlier than you think

Be a good example of true love and intimacy with your spouse.

How to bring it up
1. Get educated
2. take time to talk
3. find the right place
4. make it one-on-one
5. stay calm
6. don't judge

What should I say?
1. ask questions - listen!
2. teach them the facts
3. share your family values
4. repeat

*Layer the conversation*

5. They wish you knew that you are part of the recovery
They need your help!

- Be prepared
- pay attention
- set a standard with your family
- help protect
- be an example of healthy sexuality, of what intimacy looks like

and fight the new drug