10 Things to Do When You Discover A Boy Is Looking At Porn

Parents and youth workers should assume and hope for the best regarding the middle school boys they serve. However, I have seen enough young men stumble into a pornography addiction to know that even the best-behaved boys from the best homes can get caught up in it.

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There is much to be said about teenage boys and pornography. However, in this post I would like to focus on the following 10 ways to help when you find out a middle school boy under your care is struggling with pornography:

A Plea to Parents of Middle School Boys

Why Digital Accountability Is Imperative

“They might as well have set a stack of porn magazines in my room.” That’s what my young adult friend said as he reflected on his parents allowing him to have a computer in his bedroom when he was a teenager. Looking back, he knows it was a bad idea.

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During middle and high school he got mired in pornography for a few years because of that computer.  His porn addiction made him feel gross and ashamed and he had little self-confidence. His parents’ greatest fault was providing little to no accountability with his computer use.

I know you believe and hope for the best in your middle school son, as you should. However on behalf of all teenage boys I would plead that you don’t give him total freedom with a computer, iPad, iPod, or cell phone. Don’t make an exception for your son and turn a blind eye just because “he’s a good kid” or “he’d never look at porn” or “he’s not like other boys.”

Middle School Students and Dating

Is It Okay?

Every year in our middle school ministry we do a “Love Spectrum” series where we talk about love, sex, dating, and relationships for an entire month. At the end we always have a Q&A session where students can write questions and hear answers from volunteer leaders. Every year, multiple students ask “When should I start dating?”

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For clarity, when I use the word “dating” I’m referring to the middle school conception of dating, which is usually synonymous with the phrase “going out.” Middle school dating involves one boy and one girl going public with the fact that they like each other and their relationship is more than “just friends.” They may or may not communicate with each other more than normal friends and may or may not spend time together outside of school or church activities.

5 Excuses Parents Give For Not Talking With Their Kids About Sex

Guess what? Statistically speaking, your middle schooler is going to have sex someday. Hopefully he’ll wait until he’s in a loving marriage relationship. You as his parents play a significant role in helping him understand the value of waiting. That means helping him understand his sexuality and everything that comes along with that, starting at a young age.

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Whether you believe it or not, your son is curious about sex. Why do you think so many teenage boys stumble into viewing pornography? Between what’s happening in their bodies, what they learn from classes at school, what they hear their friends say, and what see they in TV and movies, they are exposed to plenty of sexual ideas.

Sex Is Good

Keep This Theme In Mind

There’s a lot to cover when you talk to kids about sex. Anatomy and physiology. Sexual intercourse. Sexual acts between two people that aren’t intercourse. The emotional and spiritual side. STDs. Birth control. Sexual ethics. Pornography. What is and is not appropriate in a dating relationship.

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Don’t get overwhelmed—you don’t have to cover everything in one conversation! As you have multiple conversations with kids over the years about sex, it would be helpful to keep an overarching theme in mind. A theme that ties everything together and serves as an undercurrent to everything you say.

Freedom In The Foxhole

My Battle for Freedom from Pornography

This is a guest post written by Matt Abeler. I’ve known Matt for many years through a church camp connection. Matt is a college student in the Twin Cities. He is a filmmaker who posted a fun YouTube video that currently has more than 14 million views! This is Matt’s story of sin and redemption and his ongoing battle for purity. It shows how through Christ there is hope for teenage boys who struggle with pornography.

I should have ordered a small. The baggy t-shirt, with the brazen acronym PMS: PORN MUST STOP printed in boldfaced font, drowned me. Nevertheless, I was proud of it. I designed it online and ordered one for myself and the rest of the “men” in our high school youth group. Later that week, we brazen boys from Nowhere, Minnesota flaunted the shirts at a national Christian conference. We were famous. People pointed, asked for pictures, and wondered where they could get one. At their applauding, the t-shirts became WAR PROPAGANDA. 

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There was one aspect about the design that went unseen. Printed beneath the unabashed slogan was 2 Timothy 2:22. The reference was the same baby blue as the shirt. It should have been the crowning jewel, but remained invisible. We altogether forgot it was there:

“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”

10 Things To Say During The Porn Talk

Talking with kids about sex isn’t easy and talking with them about pornography may be even more difficult. The fact it’s a difficult topic is a signal that it’s an important one. That’s definitely the case with porn.

BlueSkyImages

Photo courtesy of Dollar Photo Club/Blue Sky Images

Avoiding the conversation does not mean it won’t be a temptation for your middle school boy. Talk to them about porn and what they can do to avoid it! If you don’t inform them they’ll learn about porn other, less reliable sources.

Why You Need To Talk To Your Middle Schooler About Porn

This is part three of a series about how to talk to your kids about sex. I’d recommend reading part one and part two before reading this post.

I’ll never forget teaching leadership to guys in their late teens and early 20s while I was in college. Part of the leadership curriculum involved talking about the value of sexual purity in a leader’s life. Many of those young men shared how they were currently dealing with the fallout of a pornography struggle. They were godly young men, leaders in their own right, most of whom grew up in wonderful households—these were “good Christian kids.”

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Almost all of them said they were first exposed to porn sometime immediately before or during middle school. I was heartbroken as I imagined them stumbling upon porn as young, curious, relatively idealistic middle schoolers who had no idea what they were doing or what they were dealing with. And here they were, five or ten years later, dealing with shame, frustration, and disappointment as they entered adulthood.

4 Common Mistakes Parents Make When Talking To Their Kids About Sex

This is part two of a series about how to talk to your kids about sex. I’d recommend reading part one before reading this post.

Talking with teenagers about sex is difficult for lots of reasons. They’re uncomfortable with it, you’re uncomfortable with it, and the confused messages receive from culture about sex don’t help, either. Plus, sexuality is an incredibly personal and intimate topic. On top of all that your own parents may have struggled to talk to you about sex, so you didn’t have a helpful model for how to approach this topic.

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I am not a parent myself so I’ve never had “the talk” with my own kids. However, I spend lots of time around teenagers, I understand teenage development, I’ve talked with teenagers about sex. Over the years I’ve heard plenty of stories from parents and students about how parents handle “the talk.” Some methods of talking about sex are more effective than others.

The 5 Biggest Pitfalls For Middle School Boys Who Have Smart Phones

This is not a blog post about how evil smart phones can be. Like any piece of technology, they are both beneficial and dangerous depending on how they are used. And regardless of how people choose to leverage the almost limitless capabilities of a smart phone, we can at least admit they are here to stay and their use among middle schoolers will only increase with time.

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What does concern me is how powerful a cell phone can be and how foolish, shortsighted, naive, and immature middle school students can be. Those factors create a potentially dangerous combination. I firmly believe middle school boys should not be given unrestricted permission to use their cell phones. Parental and digital oversight of cell phone use is important to protect boys and their peers.