“We have in America today a crisis of pornography,” said Patrick Trueman, former chief of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Criminal Division.
Mr. Trueman was the keynote speaker at the ninth annual conference of the Utah Coalition Against Pornography. He discussed how the $97 billion pornography industry has addicted men, women, and even children across the United States and is destroying marriages, families, and lives.
Pornography hijacks the brain by fueling dopamine production, which provides excitement, but no endorphins are emitted to help the brain feel satisfied, he explained. This cycle leads users to fall deeper and deeper into their addiction as they seek a satisfaction that will never come.
The worldwide Web can be a great tool and resource for information, but it is also a tool widely and intricately packed with pornography and other obscene materials.
Parents can do many things to safeguard their homes from harmful materials found on the Internet. At the conference, Ken Knapton, Internet safety expert and author, offered tips for protecting families against Internet pornography.
Youth in this generation are “digital natives,” he said. They have been inundated by technology since birth. However, their parents have not, and as a result, need to educate themselves about technology in order to recognize the dangers.
Installing filters on computers can be helpful in sifting out harmful material, he said, but filters will not block everything, and there are other ways to access the same material besides through the computer. Many video game systems have the ability to connect to the Internet, he explained. Cell phones are also becoming a common venue for accessing Web content.
By placing computers and televisions in an open, public area of the home, parents can monitor the content on the screen. It is also important to supervise the amount of time family members spend surfing the Web and to teach children to use chat groups, instant messages, and social networking sites with caution, Brother Knapton said.
He urged parents to talk to their children and continue to build open, honest relationships with them. Ensure that they understand that they should never give out their private information over the Internet. Teach them to shut down the computer and tell an adult if they accidentally encounter a pornographic Web site, and assure them that they will not be punished for these accidents.
Children will likely encounter obscenity throughout their lives, he said. Parents, friends, and leaders need to teach them to run from it, not indulge in it.
New Church Web Site Combats Pornography
LDS Family Services has launched a new Web site to help people learn about and overcome pornography addictions. The Web site, combatingpornography.org, targets five different audiences: individuals with a problem, spouses, parents, youth, and leaders.
The Combating Pornography site was not designed as a treatment site, but rather a site to provide people with accurate information from a gospel prospective and to educate them about the problem of pornography, said Michael Gardner, product manager for developing the site.
Within each of the target audiences, the Web site is divided into four main categories: prevention, recognition, overcoming the problem, and support. Each category contains resources and information specific to each audience.
For example, individuals struggling with pornography addiction will find information, various articles, videos, and other resources available on the Web site, including advice from the First Presidency and leaders of the Church on overcoming pornography addictions. Spouses will find information on how to cope and deal with a partner’s addiction and be supportive during the recovery process. Parents can find information about preventing pornography addictions in their home, identifying the signs of pornography use, and helping family members to overcome pornography.
The site also has information about the Church’s 12-step Addiction Recovery Program, and a copy of the addiction recovery manual may be downloaded.