From Pop-Ups to Sexting
By Dr. Dennis G. Frederick
I came out of my counseling office to greet my fifth-grade patient who was seeing me for anger issues and found him playing a game on his mother’s cell phone called “Bubbles.” Trying to be friendly, I played it with him. Immediately a pop-up at the bottom of the screen said, “Hot Babes.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“Don’t touch it or Mom will take away the phone.”
“But, what is it?” I asked again.
“Kids at school say it is pictures of naked people.”
“Have you ever touched it?”
“How do you turn it off?”
“You just restart the game.”
We stopped and continued his session, but I had just become aware of yet another danger facing our kids. The industry gives kids free games for their cell phones and then uses pop-ups to lure them into seeing hardcore pornography.
Our kids are bombarded with these constant temptations and toxic poisons that attack their innocence, development, and healthy orientation to relationships and sexuality. Those of us in contact with children need to be aware of the danger pornography causes, especially in our children.
The Pornography Trap
The pornography industry traps young minds to create customers later in life for hardcore porn. It gives an extremely false image of healthy sex, it objectifies and degrades women and it’s addicting. Once addicted, a child or adult will pay to feed that addiction. Sexual addiction is different from other addictions, in that it is an addiction of the soul. You can take away alcohol, but you can’t take away sexuality.
The Dangers of Sexting
Sexting is a new word and a practice that can have grave consequences. Sexting is using cell phones to take inappropriate sexual pictures and send them to others. This is very serious when done by minors as it causes three felonies: creating child pornography; distributing it; and accepting it. In my experience, students think it’s “no big deal.” They may think it’s just funny, but not immoral or illegal. Once shared, images on the Internet are in cyberspace forever. Sharing personal information and inappropriate pictures with friends and/or posting on social network sites has destroyed many lives and embarrassed families.
It’s our responsibility as adults to set an example. Open conversations with our kids can help them understand the danger of such activities. I recommend installing filters on computers and cell phones that minors use.
Getting Rid of Pop-ups
Pop-ups are most frequent on free applications. Often the user is given the option to purchase the game to stop the ads. Purchasing the full version of the app is the easiest way to get rid of unwanted ads. However, some apps need more to rid users of the pop-ups. Changing the settings on your iPhone can do this. For other operating systems, anti-virus software can be found on many Internet resource sites.
Look for child-friendly games and don’t forget to read the ratings before downloading to avoid unwanted and explicit ads.
This epidemic is worldwide and spreading rapidly. The average age of a child’s first Internet exposure to pornography is eleven! The industry has made pornography something easily available and it’s trapping kids at an early age.
Address the Issues
We must do all that we can to help block pornography in the lives of our children. Counseling can be very helpful in working through the issues of sexual addiction and immorality. Many times these addictions remain hidden.
Be open with your children, be truthful, and be an example. By addressing these issues head on we can keep kids, like the fifth-grade student in my office, from ever pushing the buttons that will harm his future.