Modern Day Families Need Traditional Values To Fight New Threats Attacking The
Family Such As Addiction To Internet Pornography.
greatest threat to the family from addiction to Internet pornography is not only
the disintegration of the family, but of society itself. Many cases have been
documented of the break -up of a marriage as a result of the addiction to
pornography of one of the spouses. Several other threats to the family such as
the increase in domestic violence and crime have been attributed to addiction to
pornography – and addiction to pornography today is to pornography on the
Internet. However, the increasingly real threat of this “tsunami” of personal,
family and social breakdown may not be just the result of adult addiction to
internet pornography, but to our children's and teenagers´ addiction to internet
pornography as well.
to understand why children from normal, healthy homes can become addicted to
this “new drug of the millennium”, and how traditional values can help correct
Dehumanisation Within The Family Or “Cyber” Gezelligheid.
experience is that minors’ exposure to inadequate material or behaviour can
affect both the family and the school community. To quote parts of an article
printed in “The Guardian” in England on June 24th:
inspectors investigating an increase in exclusions from primary schools have
discovered "worrying" levels of sexual behaviour among very young children. An inquiry into schools that have repeatedly suspended pupils as young as four
has unearthed high incidences of children touching other children
inappropriately and using sexually graphic language as well as swearing,
attacking staff and throwing furniture…
inquiry, published today, followed figures released in parliament at
the end of last year which revealed that more than 4,000
children under the age of five were excluded from school
or nursery in 2007, the majority for violence against
other children or a member of staff…Ofsted reported headteachers struggling to get psychological help for vulnerable
children. When headteachers contacted social services because they were worried
about children's sexualised behaviour, they were often turned away. One
headteacher was told a child would "grow out of it". The inspectors reported high levels of "trauma", such as
family breakdown, and domestic violence”.
conclusive to the symptoms shown by minors addicted to online porn, or as
victims of peer addicts. A study in Mexico concluded that the longer time
children spent on the Internet, the greater the aggressiveness shown towards
others. It also concluded that the children at greater risk of addiction to
online porn were the ones who spent more hours on the Internet.
Unfortunately the sexual exploitation of minors, which may be the reason for the
rise in sexualized behaviour of children, has existed for a long time. I
believe nevertheless that the increase in sexualized behaviour in children is
closely related to the misuse of new communications technology. It is important
however to emphasize the term “misuse.
Internet itself is not bad and can be satisfactorily used to benefit the family.
I would like to promote the concept of “ cyber gezelligheid “, which is using
new technologies to improve communication and well being within the family –
texting and emailing family members allows for little humourous quips between
family members, improved communications and better relationships. Someone in the
family always misses the proverbial note on the fridge door, now there is no
communication technologies in themselves are surely a reflection of the grandeur
of Creation, a response to the biblical “go forth and have dominion over the
earth “, a mirror image of God's greatness expressed in human intelligence. At
the celebration of 10th Anniversary of the United Nation's Year of
the Family, I attended a panel on special education at the Doha Conference and
marveled at the case of a young Qatari girl who had lost her eyesight at the age
of 12. At that point, thanks to the advances in communication technologies, she
was studying for her Master's degree in the United States. When I went up to
meet her father, a Qatari farmer, I was awe inspired by the wonders of
technology, especially the advances in software for the visually handicapped. At
the same time I was filled with sadness at the thought of so many of our kids
and teens who were being “handicapped” by the very same technology that had
given a little blind girl her “electronic eyes”. They were losing the” light of
their inner being. If the eyes are the window to the heart, then what enters
through the eyes can also destroy what's in the heart.
Symptoms And Stages Of Addiction
threat to the family from their children's exposure to inappropriate material
online is a serious matter of concern. In Mexico we have seen cases of 10 year
old children suffering from addiction to pornography on the internet, note
children who are even too young to have sexually developed physically. Although
it used to be true that addiction to porn mostly affected males, with internet
porn, there are now cases of girls becoming addicted.
this addiction overpowered kids and teens, who are emotionally normal and stable
for their age, without serious problems at school or without problems of family
breakdown or social instability, children who don't pose the risk factors that
would make them vulnerable to other addictions or abuse?
first reaction from children coming across porn on the Internet is one of
disgust and rejection, which is closely taken over by curiosity and viewing. They
are victims of exposure to porn at an age when sexual curiosity is natural.
Pornography is the commercial exploitation of a natural curiosity. What they see is a far cry
from the goodness and beauty of sex. The most sublime and the lowest aspects of
human nature may be found in the expression of our sexuality. Pornography
creates addiction like any other drug. The sexual images create a chemical
reaction in the brain by releasing the hormone epinephrine into the bloodstream.
This effect also occurs when the same images are stored in the brain to be
The earlier the
exposure, the greater the risk of addiction. Unlike porn films or magazines, the
Internet has no limits. It is accessible at any time of day or night, 24/7. It
is also free for kids. They can surf the Internet
for hours looking at porn without paying a penny. It's a bit like having drugs
in the kitchen cupboard for school lunch boxes. Children become easy prey, and
once the addiction takes hold, it quickly converts to a loss of freedom. Sooner
or later, addiction makes them dependent on the sensation, and enslaves them,
becoming the centre of their thoughts and acts.
symptoms of addiction may manifest themselves as depression, isolation, problems
of concentration, mood changes, loss of hope and/or feelings or threats of
suicide. A child or teen addicted to online porn is sad and lonely. They fear
the loss of love from loved ones if discovered; therefore, it is difficult for
them to ask for help. The child addict tends to act out what he has seen since
it overwhelms his whole being. When the child feels the need to act out what he
has seen, there is a greater danger of abuse with peers or children younger.
Suicidal tendencies are more prevalent in the younger child.
Addiction in teens manifests itself with fantasies, masturbation or
prostitution. Addictive sexual behavior lacks intimacy. The sex addict is
totally egocentric and cannot achieve intimacy because obsession with his own
needs overrides the needs of others. Therefore, addiction leads to the search
for intensity rather than intimacy:
bit, addicts intensify their behaviour going through moderate stages to others
that go beyond what they themselves could have imagined, including doing things
that weeks or months before would have disgusted them.”
stages of addiction are:
level: fantasy, pornography and masturbation. Fantasies and pornography are the
fuel for masturbation and thus provide the small doses with which the addict
level: real life pornography, fetishes, love affairs.
level: minor sex crimes, prostitution, voyeurism and exhibitionism.
level: serious sex crimes, sexual abuse of minors, incest, rape.
addictions are a public health and safety issue. Addiction among kids and teens
to online porn is silent, invasive and destructive. The threat to the family
from this addiction to online pornography, due to its frequency and intensity,
is comparable to a kind of “cyber swine flu pandemic”, but worse of all, due to
its silent nature, that could go, and is going, undetected and unattended. The
slogan being used currently in public health and safety campaigns in Mexico
“your health is in your hands” could be no more adequately applied to this swine
flu of the Internet.
are often unaware of the problem experienced by children and teenagers around
them with the consequent lack of professionals adequately trained to help young
addicts. Although addiction of a behavioural nature has not yet been included in
the manual published by the American Psychiatric Association that covers all
mental health disorders , it
is expected that these new behavioural types of addiction related to new
communication technologies be published in the new DSM-V as the emergence of a
new clinical disorder. This type of addiction can only be cured by adequate
therapy to help the addict regain his or her sexual health and well being. More
research is definitely needed into the type of professional therapy – we have
seen kids in therapy improving their self esteem, but not overcoming the
addiction due to incorrect therapy. It must be approached as an addiction,
similar to therapy for other addictions.
Parents And Values In The Home.
Reviewing the theme of the World Congresses of Families, it is interesting to
see the correlation between the different congresses that I have attended to
date. WCF II in Geneva established the definition of the natural family according
to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. WCF III in Mexico declared
that the family is an important factor for social progress and economic
development. WCF IV in Warsaw warned of the threat of demographic winter, and the
need for us to have children to have families. Today, WCF V in Amsterdam by
centering its theme on values is defending the quality of family life, the
concept of a happy and stable family life, not just through economic prosperity
and political stability, but with “gezelligheid”. Dutch children are reported to
be the happiest children in Europe. The quality of family life depends on the
values we practice ourselves and instill in our children by our example. This is
also true in relation to the threat to the family with the new communication
technologies. We need to teach our children
from the first time they connect to live their lives “online” with the same
values we teach them to live their lives “offline”.
How can a
harmonious balance between the harm and the benefit of the Internet as a major
source of information, communication and socialization for children and
teenagers be achieved?
It is similar
to the way we teach the value of our sexuality in the home, by firstly telling
our children of the goodness, beauty and truth of our sexuality, but then making
sure they understand the risks and dangers. Sex education in families must teach
young people to know and understand moral values as a necessary and precious
guarantee for personal and responsible growth in human sexuality, with positive
results for the family and society and in particular, the self fulfillment of
the individual person.
people today, there is a real danger online that they do not understand how to
protect their sexuality because they are unaware of the value of purity. This is
due to the bombardment of a mass attitude towards the intimacy of sexuality, a
society that has taken away the intimacy of sexuality to proportions of enormous
intensity and mass diffusion, which confuses young people in the care of the
goodness, intimacy and beauty of their sexuality. At no time can the goodness
and beauty of sexuality be separated from its truth. The truth of the sexuality
of all beings, both rational and animal, lies in the respect for the laws of
nature. Purity acts as the bodyguard for our sexuality since it protects us
against harm from others. Parents need to talk to their children without fear
about the guidelines of purity, as lack of understanding of this virtue will
also make it difficult for kids and teens to understand and live religious
Basil said in his work “On the Holy Spirit” as far back as 375 that in the same
way as a healthy eye allows us to see, a pure heart allows the action of the
Spirit to work within us. The Bible reinforces this with the Beatitude: “Blessed
are the pure in spirit for they shall see God”.
same way that we can fight physical illness through prevention by taking
precautions, or with appropriate medical therapy to restore our health, this is
also applicable to sexual health damaged by over exposure among minors to age
inappropriate material online, or to addiction to porn on line. On an
optimistic note, we know that the sexual health of a child or teenager addicted
to this new drug of the millennium can be successfully restored by adequate
therapy, love and understanding on the part of the parents, or self help steps.
In the cases we have seen in Mexico, those who have received help, have fully
recovered from their addiction, and have learnt to benefit from all the
advantages of new communication technologies while avoiding the risks.
like to stress again the similarity to the public health awareness and safety
campaign in Mexico for swine flu, “your health is in your hands”. Our cyber
health and that of our children and our families is in our hands.
Teresa of Calcutta enjoyed saying “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” - this
applies to our hearts as well as to our hands.
we going to “scrub up” online?