A new survey by NSPCC Childline has suggested that at least a tenth of 12 - 13 year olds in the UK are addicted to pornography (reported today by the BBC).
And while this is generally regarded as a bad thing, there are some people who think it is okay for children to be increasingly sexualised at a young age. But let's be clear, it is one thing for a child of reason to know the beauty of the human body; it is another thing entirely for them to see that body being abused.
Pornography is an increasing problem in our society. It is abuse of the human form and a danger to our children and we are exposed to it on so many fronts; on television, in the movies, in magazines, on the internet, and on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. They are all forums on which pornography is given a platform for the benefit of those willing to entertain it.
Pornography is also destroying families with a reported 56% of divorce cases in the United States involving one party having "an obsessive interest in pornographic websites".
It is a real problem and we need to do more to help people who find themselves caught in the downward spiral of pornographic addiction, and this includes children. As parents it is hard to monitor your kids' every move but what we can do is get back to basics. We should never shy away from the beauty of the human form. It is God's creation and it is truly stunning! We should love our bodies. But we must also respect our body and I think that this is the key message that is being lost. Too many people no longer respect their physical self anymore and are prepared to go to any lengths to abuse their body for a momentary high. They are even prepared to abuse the bodies of others.
Many people criticise the Catholic Church for outdated views. But there can be no doubt that the disintegration of the human person and the family, as predicted around 50 years ago by Pope Paul VI, is unfolding before our very eyes. People are now seen as commodities; objects of pleasure for the gratification of self and of others. There is no respect for one another any more. But then is this a surprise in a world of widespread contraception, abortion, and euthanasia?
The sexual act is cherished by the Catholic Church for being an act of unconditional love from one to another. It is the complete giving and sacrificing of one's self for the other coupled with an openness to new life. It is simple and it is beautiful. There is no selfishness. There is no hidden agenda. There is no desire to abuse the other. It is pure love. It is pure sacrifice.
As we consider how to tackle the increased incidence of pornography among the young of our society, we would do well to look at ourselves and see what kind of example we are setting. Are we letting ourselves be fooled by secular liberal and relativist values where anything goes and its up to the individual to decide what they want to do with their own body? Do we continue subscribing to this view and watch the family decline even further into the gutter? Or do we get back to basics and see the human body for what it really is, a thing of real and true beauty and deserving of protection?
For those wanting to read more on issues relating to pornography, Matt Frad's excellent website The Porn Effect is a good starting point.
It is also worth mentioning Covenant Eyes, another great website resource which has its own software to protect your family from pornography online.