In this generation, porn use isn’t the exception; it’s the norm. A 2016 study found that 67% of young males and 57% of all young adults view pornography. Josh Glaser and Daniel Weiss describe why “the talk” about abstinence isn’t enough to guide your kids in our pornographic world. They offer wise habits and guidelines for technology use. Finally, Josh and Daniel emphasize the importance of reminding your kids of the Gospel. Although everyone falls short of godly sexuality, God offers each of us grace and forgiveness when we fail.
normalizes. You might talk to your kids about finances, you might talk to your kids about good eating habits are going to bed and getting enough sleep or all kinds of things that impact their lives. This is something that should be so normalized that, that the kids don’t blush and you don’t blush when it comes up and it’s looking at a tv commercial and just saying, what’s the message here? Let’s make sure we’re not being deceived by something that’s false. Welcome to the focus on the family broadcast, helping families thrive, john this topic can be really intimidating. And my boys are grown up now and of course we did the talk, but this was, you know, the regular touch base, how you doing in this area conversation and you know, I’m grateful. It was normal. Typical. It wasn’t perfect. I don’t want to project that either, but you have to stay diligent as a parent. And that’s the spirit in which we want to do this broadcast today. Uh, 67% of young males and 57% of young adults view pornography. That’s just a stat right out of the data and in this generation porn use isn’t the exception. It’s now the rule and we as christian parents one, we have to model it well how to not use it and then to how to help our Children manage this. So stick with us. Don’t turn us off. I think it’s gonna be a great discussion, especially for parents and joining us in the studio are josh. Glaser and daniel Weiss. They each have decades of experience working in ministries that promote biblical sexuality, josh is executive director of regeneration ministries and he and his wife, Jamie have five Children. Daniel is founder and president of the brush fires Foundation and serves as executive director of the sexual integrity leadership Summit and jim we should know Daniel used to work here and focus on the family issues on sexuality in the family. And he and his wife, Krista have five Children. We’re gonna be talking about a book that these gentlemen have written together called treading boldly through a pornographic world and this really is a great guide for parents. Yeah, Daniel and josh welcome back to focus. Thanks thank you so much such a formative time, my time here, I’m glad to be back. Yeah, it’s good to see you and I want to say thanks for leading the charge on this really delicate topic. And you know, again with the data that we’re talking about, we’re all familiar with, it’s almost like we can’t talk enough about this and get it out in the open so that people could heal and get on a healthier track when it comes to sexual expression, particularly in the christian church. Right? Yeah, that’s absolutely true. And I think one of the messages we’d like to share with parents is um, you know, if there was ever a time we could avoid this subject that’s certainly not now and we don’t believe there’s ever a time, parents shouldn’t be guiding their kids and disciple ng them in all elements of faith including their sexuality, but pornography is, is an issue in your home, whether you know it or not, it’s an issue because it’s an issue in this culture, it’s in everything and so whether your kids are actively looking at pornography or not yet, you know or not at all, they’re around all the other kids that are and that definitely shapes youth culture in a major way. So this is a topic we, we want you to, to encourage parents to, to understand now is the time to start small to start in healthy ways, age appropriate ways. But definitely if you haven’t started, you got to start because our kids need us and more than that they actually want us in this conversation and and I’ll tell you focus, we’ve got so many great resources, it’s kind of like drip irrigation but let’s go to the social acceptance of pornography and how that has changed over time. And if I could double down on the question, how is violence and violent content become even more a part of that. Yeah, I think uh, when when you mentioned the word pornography in a group or in a one on one setting, I think a lot of people’s minds will go to, I mean as naive as it sounds like like a calendar pinup you’d see in an auto shop or the cheesy seventies, you know, Pizza Guy plot storyline movie where the other showing sex. Um, but it’s kind of story driven almost. Um, that hasn’t been the case since the seventies. And research that we cite in the book from 2007 showed that this research team analyzed 50 of the top selling pornography movies in the country the previous year and 88% of them had sexual violence in them. So pornography is not that, you know, when people say, hey, I’m sex positive, well, pornography is not sex positive, pornography is violence and degradation and shame positive. It’s teaching everything we don’t want, not just christian kids, but any kids, any adults to know. And it’s, it’s shaping people’s, especially our kids sexual templates, They see this as real and normal and they act accordingly because it’s so important. Some people are gonna get a hold of us and they’re gonna be very offended that we had this discussion that we talked about it and I would like to appeal to them in the best way to say things up in the light of day things on the table. Um, it’s important because the Lord, I think in my belief can work with that. It’s when it’s hidden, it’s under the table, it’s in the dark that it does such destruction. Yeah. The other thing jim is is for those parents out there that we shouldn’t talk about this. We have to understand the culture is not shy about talking to our kids about sex. Nearly everything the culture is saying is a distortion, a lie or something more malicious than that. And so that’s what shaping our kids. And as you said, don’t have fewer conversations are one big conversation. We encourage parents normalize this normalizes. You might talk to your kids about finances, you might talk to your kids about good eating habits, are going to bed and getting enough sleep or all kinds of things that impact their lives. This is something that should be so normalized that that the kids don’t blush and you don’t blush when it comes up and it’s looking at a tv commercial and just saying, what’s the message here, let’s make sure we’re not being deceived by something that’s false. I mean it’s not always even about sex, it’s just about how men and women are portrayed, but but laying that foundational groundwork for understanding God’s good design. That’s how we can have open honest conversations. Yeah. And I think that’s so good. You know, some parents have taught their kids that purity is really important, which it is and that being a virgin at the time of marriage is kind of the key goal. But there you can also get some dysfunction in that if you’re not careful and you guys write about that describe that potential dysfunction when we’re locking it down, locking it down and then boom, they come in with some problems. Yeah, I shared the story in the book and thankfully I can be open about this but I I was a virgin, technically you have to almost add that term now, but I was a virgin when I got married and I was really proud of myself and I thought it was like I did it but I realized later when God kind of got ahold of me and some of my sexual Brokenness, I was dealing with lust, I had acted out sexually with other gals in college, I had looked at pornography countless times, so I was kind of as I said, the whole house was burning but I was I was glad and proud that I had saved the front door and that’s an incredible, it’s not about you know this binary view of you are you aren’t and I think that’s where we get into trouble because that eliminates the the quality of grace in this and forgiveness and none of us walk out our sexuality perfectly, not one we all fall short and that’s very scriptural. So let’s approach it from that perspective and say let’s cultivate positive, healthy habits of the heart. This chastity idea where even in a misstep like God is still with us, we’re still moving forward towards his Good Godly design for us which blesses us and allows us to thrive and that’s something that’s ever in front of us. It’s not something behind us now that we’ve lost. Yeah, this is focused on the family with Jim daly and our guest today are josh, Glaser and Daniel Weiss and we’re talking about the content in their book, treading boldly and we certainly would encourage you to get a copy of this from us here at focus on the family. The link is in the show notes or give us a call, 800 the letter A and the word family, Let’s talk about technology. You both kind of come at it a little differently. So josh starting with you, how do you approach technology in your home and how do you batten down the hatches, man? Well we don’t do it perfectly, but um we we took on early on we made the decision that our kids are growing up in a digital age and at some point they’re gonna they’re all gonna have phones, it’s gonna they’re gonna have digital devices in their pockets and they’re gonna need to navigate these things. And so we decided progressively as they as they grew, we entrust them with more and more um responsibility to have their own their own devices. And the idea was if they’re gonna make mistakes, we want them to make mistakes in our home, if they’re gonna learn um we want them to learn in our home and so there have been ups and downs and things we’ve tried and we’ve taken back and so what we’ve from an early age. One of things we did was um if our kids were on one of our computers and they’re doing something online and by the way, are like I grew up, you know, digital immigrant. So I knew when I was online and I, and I knew when I wasn’t, I don’t think our kids always know the difference between being on the device and being online, but when our kids would, would get online, part of what we would do to do is is to say okay if, if you see something inappropriate, what do you do? And we walk them through through a process there, uh, kind of run fire drills. And then as they got older, they would have just more responsibility with that. Um, we did have some filtering software on our, on our devices. Um, and so that we could see what they were looking at. Uh, we have our kids use their devices in public spaces and as they get older, if they’re demonstrating their being responsible, they’re paying attention to things that we’re paying attention to. Uh, then they’re, they’re given more and more freedom. So, you know, our oldest daughter now has, has a phone and she’s like, you know, can I can I use it in my room to wake up to? And, and she talks to us about, you know, I’m not texting people late at night. I don’t, I don’t, that doesn’t happen for me, that kind of stuff like, okay, next, you’re gonna be in college anyway. So yes, you can, you may not do that with a freshman in high school, but maybe a senior, it’s time to give the responsibility over Daniel. What did you do differently or what are you doing differently? Yeah. We, we did approach it differently and I want to say right off the bat that by us choosing a different path. There’s no part of me that says, I think josh and his family are doing it wrong. And I, I really think that’s important for parents to hear. There’s not a one size fits all solution here. This is very much a relational issue within the home. And so in our home, we, we, we, as we said, we try to keep our kids analog as much as possible for as long as possible as they were growing up. So we didn’t want them spending hours in front of the tv hours in front of a video game. So system. Um, we, we do live on a, in a rural part of the country on a family farm. So we go out and climb trees, go out and play with the animals. And that was part of the, what we hoped would be a gift to them now that I’ve got teenagers and some still pre teens, uh, technology, you know, we’re in that, that phasing into a little bit more of what josh is doing, teaching responsible tech, use teaching, um, how we act in the world needs to be the same way we act online. Um so manners don’t just get thrown out the window. Um, but but having those, those normalizing talks about the reasons why we’re concerned about their tech use and what we hope they don’t encounter because of that. And I think, you know, being an analyst here at focus on the family for so many years, I got to see a lot of the research on just how impactful uh large scale media uses on kids. It can be very damaging and that doesn’t mean your kid’s messed up. But statistically speaking, the kids that are on their devices a lot just are doing more poorly in all kinds of measure. So knowing that research we wanted to hold them off as much as possible. But then introduce that, describe your threefold approach to technology. I think it’s guiding guarding and growing. So how does that work? So uh and that was just our attempt to kind of encapsulate some different areas that parents can think about when they’re trying to approach all these topics with the kids. So the guiding part is just giving our kids some council walking alongside them, encouraging them along the way. Um one of the things we’ve told our kids for example is if you’re doing an internet search, the more specific you can be about what you’re looking for, the less chance you’re gonna find something that you’re not looking for. So instead of searching for, hey dad, I want to draw a picture of a bunny, can I, can I take the word bunny in like, you know, a picture of a bunny to draw from? Try that guarding is these are these are these are what we bring in because we’re older, We’re wiser. We’ve been down the road, we know what some of the dangers are. And so whether it’s internet filters or it’s setting specific parameters and boundaries around when we can use our technology, that’s kind of stuff is that’s guarding. Um and and one of the places that parents will run into by the way there is is their kids will say, what? Why don’t you don’t you trust me? And so one of things we like to tell our kids that we absolutely trust you, we do not trust the internet, We don’t we don’t trust the on there. So um we’re not guarding them from you were guarding you from them. So, and then growing the, that’s just recognizing that we’re all in in a process and so we’re not looking for perfection from our kids in this regard. We want them to learn both from us. We also want them to learn from things they’re discovering about themselves and things that even the mistakes that they make. And so some of my proudest moments as a, as a dad have been when my, you know, I walk into the room and my daughter’s on her on her phone and she says dad here and she throws her phone to me and says, I’m just not using it well today and I go, fantastic. You know what, what’s going on and what might be happening that you’re, you know, being sucked in more today than other times. That’s that’s her growing. All right, let’s get to some really nitty gritty questions. If you discover your child is viewing porn, how do you respond as a parent, man? What? Okay. The first thing is so counterintuitive, first thing you need to do is you need to step away and breathe so many parents just want to just run in and and address it right away, shut it down. Like let’s fix this. Um but but we we advise that parents actually need to collect themselves for a bit and if they can, if they’ve got an ally a spouse, somebody, they can just say this is what just happened. You gotta talk me off the ledge because I’m freaking out here because otherwise if they don’t do that, what’ll happen is they’ll go and they’ll put their adult size parents size angst on their kids and basically say I’m not okay until this is fixed and we don’t wanna do that. We really want to go in in that moment and be present to our kids where they are as much as possible. That’s good. I think one of the things too is the shaming factor, you gotta be really careful um in the shame context because I think that could really, especially you know, boys man, if a mom is coming down hard on the boys and I’m sure that’s true for girls as well. But I just think again that connection between mom and and and son can really be ruptured if she’s not careful in that moment. You know, I have a story. And so uh my daughter, we were watching a movie as a family and my daughter turns to me and says, Hey Dad, something’s not right. And she had 20 minutes earlier friended someone on Facebook. She’s one of the few teenagers that actually uses Facebook, but she friended someone, she thought she had gone to school with turned out it wasn’t this person. And within a few literally a few minutes the guy was sending sexually explicit questions and basically um trying to groom her actually, you know that term? And he was clearly older than her in his twenties, it looked like and she showed it to me and I did everything wrong in that moment. I freaked out. I freaked out and my dad’s heart was like, what are you doing to my daughter? And of course it came out and like, and then I’m like why are you texting this guy? And I did like I did everything wrong, I didn’t collect myself and and I had a lot of backtracking to do. Um and and even the next few days I would check in with my daughter and say, look, I am so sorry I reacted the way I did. I want you, I’m so proud that you brought it to me. And I want to explain. My reaction was not that I was angry with you. It’s that I was so furious. Someone would do this to you and inflict this on you. But that’s why we say for parents, look, you’re gonna make mistakes, we make mistakes. This is a journey and a process we’re on. But it is important to think about it in advance and be prepared for some bad news to come at you at any and every situation is a learning opportunity. And if you’re treating it that way actually are making ground even when it feels like as a parent you’re going backward. But you are moving forward. You have a story about Amanda, I think her name was in the book um where um she had some difficulty with her dad. And how would you say that that story plays out with the pornography issue? Yeah. So this, this is later on. So if you if you discovered that a son and daughter is looking at porn and if they are open to walking away from that getting some help in that Amanda fit in that in that camp and she was actually seeing a therapist. So she and her therapist began to recognize there was a correlation between an increase in her temptation to look at porn and her time at her dad’s house. And um, and so she began to explore what’s going on there, Why is that happening? And and she realized that she, that she actually began taking a kind of doing a feelings log writing down what am I feeling around that time? Because we’re like, a lot of people like to say like, pursuit of pursuing pornography is you’re looking for something legitimate, but you’re looking forward in an illegitimate place. And so she began to just treat with kind of curious curiosity and kindness, like, why am I more prone to that there? And she realized that she felt like a visitor in her dad’s home and she felt lonely. And so as she unpacked that with her therapy, she realized, okay, well, I’m, you know, I’m not at home when I go visit my dad, I’m further away from my friends. He’s got a little tighter restrictions on my on my phone use here, so I can’t even touch my friends that way. And so all those things kind of coalesced. And now she’s also writing that that kind of the center of dealing with the reality of her parents are no longer together. And she feels like a visitor at her dad’s house. And so she was looking to porn to to try to bring her comfort to try to help her, you know, deal with some of the sadness. Once she realized that she could go back to her dad and say, I feel like a visitor in your house and this hurts. Well that’s, I mean it’s an interesting journey to piece those things together because they, at the surface they wouldn’t look connected. Wow, that’s really good work on her part. And, and, and again, she’s an older teen I think at this point, but most kids would need help processing and would not be able to probably go that deep depending on their age and their maturity. But um, but, but that’s, this is some of the important and beautiful relational work that parents have in front of them and not, not that parents necessarily know how to do that either, but I think that it’s just a great opportunity to get to know our kids better. Like if we were just thinking about pornography use as you’re doing something bad and you need to stop it. God is not happy with this. I’m not happy with this and I don’t want this in my house. You’re missing an opportunity to to really explore, excavate. Um, so instead of being like, you know, private investigator looking for dirt, you’re helping your, your son or daughter excavate what’s going on inside of me that I’m, that I’m going to these things. Yeah, I mean it’s gonna be there, all the truth is going to be there, which is so good. Yeah, josh used the word curiosity. I mean that’s something we don’t normally associate curiosity and pornography, Right? That’s what we don’t want kids being curious and looking for porn. But I think with these wounds and these relational longings, it’s good for parents to, to guide their kids into a place of curiosity. Um, and we have other stories in the book as well, like, um, feeling rejected by friends might be a trigger that leads you to go find some solace or consolation in this content that gives a temporary release or relief. Um, so the more we can be curious about that, I think we can get to that point of truth at the core of our being and then begin to untwist those things that have been twisted well, and you know, you look at scripture generally and that is that is the destiny idea that like King David, I mean, I always struggle with the fact that he committed the two big ones and the Lord said he had a heart after him. Seriously, Lord, how is that? It’s that same kind of concept though, that nothing goes for loss in God’s economy. Like he’s gonna teach you when you fall and we don’t have good tolerance for that in the Christian community. Were expecting perfection. And you know, one of the things Jean and I often talk about is, you know, older Christians, we kind of project that on our teen boys. You know, we expect them to behave like we would behave today. And it’s always a good reminder to say, Okay, what were we thinking about at 16 and 17? How were we behaving back then? And it’s hard because we expect so much out of our kids and that can be so damaging. Let’s end with this as we close. How would you encourage parents who are discouraged and worried and you know, they’re full of fear and the world is eating my Children spiritually. I mean all the stuff is coming at them and I can’t contain it all and I don’t have enough spyware to protect them and I’m overwhelmed and it’s happening and you can just spiral out of control. How do you get a grip on all of that and say, okay, Lord, what do I do? I think it’s important for parents to understand as much as they love their Children. God loves their Children even more. And so God really is for them. Um, but part of that is God is for the parents as well and and we devote part of the book to this, its parents are on this journey. They need to be present with their own past and present their fears, their concerns and be fully present with God in those places so that they can find some healing, maybe some forgiveness, They haven’t had before, some reconciliation with their own past. Um, but that’s how they become more present with their kids and our kids really need us. It’s not our rules. It’s not our words. They really need us on this journey. And so we see this whole book. The treading boldly concept is we believe this, this really challenging situation. So many families are facing looks like an opportunity for fear and withdrawal, but it’s actually an opportunity for God to reshape your family in some amazing ways to have the conversations you’ve been afraid to have to open up and talk about feelings and relational challenges and we just have nothing but hope hopefulness for families going through this process because they’re doing it with christ who so desperately desires for families to be healed. And I think the enemy takes us to that place of catastrophe ization if I can use that newly coined word. I mean it just really, you know, it’s it’s catastrophe and the Lord will use all these things to mold and shape each of us. Like you’re saying as a parent and then as a teen or a child and I think that’s the big long view we need to have is take that deep breath, get some space, get some oxygen pray and then engage and know that the Lord is with you in these things and do it with a spirit of humility, not anger and this has been good. I mean this is such a great discussion. I hope people have in been inspired and certainly the book treading boldly through a pornographic world outside the bible. I can’t think of a resource. A parent needs more than something like that right now. So thank you for the diligence and putting it together in all the years of experience that you guys have plowed into this. I hope you get in touch with us. I mean we’re here for you. We are a marriage and parenting ministry. So we want to stand in the gap for you. If you can make a gift of any amount a month, One time gift will send the resource as our way of saying thank you. You can’t afford it. That’s not the issue. Will trust others will cover it. Just call us tell us you need it and we’ll get it to you donate as you can when you call 800 the letter a and the word family or check the program notes for all the details and I think we mentioned this earlier but we do have caring Christian counselors here. And if this is something you’re struggling with personally or As a parent, you’re really challenged by what you’ve heard today and needs some further encouragement. Contact us and let us set you up with a free consultation with one of those counselors. Again, our number 800 the letter a and the word family Josh and Daniel. Thanks again for being with us. It’s been really good. Thank you so much for having us. Yeah, it’s our pleasure to be here so glad you joined us today for focus on the family with jim daly. I’m john fuller, inviting you back next time as we once again help you and your family thrive in christ.