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Saturday, April 9, 2016

Childhood: Where Dreams Are Created and So Are Addictions

I was 11 years old. School had just let out, and I took a pit stop walking home to enjoy the warm, sunny day. I sat on a swing in the park and out of nowhere, there was a man standing by me. He lit a cigarette and shoved it in my mouth. I coughed a little, but soon I got the hang of it, and I held it in my mouth myself. I wanted more, and lucky for me he had a free never-ending supply.

This story might seem a little far-fetched, but replace cigarette with pornography and it's exactly what happened to me and what's happening to children everywhere. With today's technology and easy access, it's not a question of if your child will see pornography — It's a question of when.

Here's the real version of my story: I was sitting in the comfort and protection of my home. I was on the computer doing my homework. A porn add popped up, and shoved its way into my vision and long-term memory without me ever consenting to see it. I clicked out of it, shocked. But it was enough to hook me. Out of curiosity and then compulsion, I went back and found more and was instantly connected to a free never-ending supply of pornography.

Any consenting adult has the right to view whatever they want, which is why we could never actually ban pornography. Senator Todd Weiler recently spoke at Provo City's Anti-Pornography Seminar and explained his efforts to educate adults and protect children, rather than to simply ban pornography, which many see as unconstitutional. Senator Weiler is responsible for helping Utah to become the first state to declare Pornography as a public health crisis, which does not ban pornography, but is an effort to help people become aware of the dangers of it. "Before you pick up a cigarette today, you know that you may be acquiring an addiction," he said. "I would like people to know that with porn before they approach it" (Full article).

Once upon a time, children could easily buy their own cigarettes right out of a vending machine. To people of my generation, that seems insanely absurd. Someday, I hope my children will hear my story and be astonished that a child could unwillingly be exposed to something that would alter the course of his or her life forever. 

If you see nothing wrong with pornography and you are a consenting adult, that is your choice and your life, just like no one can stop you from smoking a cigarette, as damaging as it is to your health. But we protect our children from alcohol, tobacco, harmful drugs, gambling, and strip clubs. Why wouldn't we protect them from sexually violent and sexually explicit images/content that alter the chemicals in your brain and have adverse affects on your mental, emotional, and sexual health? (get the facts here).

I have seen life-long dreams forsaken, families torn apart, and loved ones' mental health and self-worth shattered because of a pornography addiction that started during their childhood. Pornography touches the lives of every single person on this earth. There is no one who is immune to its effects. If you haven't personally dealt with it, then either your partner, sibling, or best friend has, and it's very likely that it all started during their precious few years of childhood and adolescence. 

The more we talk about pornography, the less power it will have over those we love. Be an advocate for good. Be a protector. Be the change that this world needs. Your voice counts and you can do more good than you know, and it starts with talking about it. If no one cares and no one is willing to talk, then nothing will change and children all over the world will keep getting hooked on pornography at younger and younger ages (not even mentioning the thousands of children  and teens trapped in human trafficking). Frequently talk to your children and to those around you. You can change the world one conversation at a time. 

Start by sharing this article! Spread the conversation! If you have any questions or would like to share your own story, email me at battletogether16@gmail.com.

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