CYBERSEX: IS IT IN YOUR HOME?
The recent White House Internet Summit reported that 42% of parents supervise their children’s Internet usage A LITTLE, and 52% provided NO SUPERVISION at all and ONLY 6% have given guidelines for prevention.
HOW MANY PEOPLE DOES THIS PROBLEM REACH?
Estimates vary, but the National Psychologist reported that one in five adults is online, and more important, two out of three teens are online. The Internet was opened to public use when many saw the opportunity to create an incredible tool. But no one took the time to think of the right and safe way to open the web to the public. We still have yet to discover the damage that has been done. It is estimated that pornography has been an $8 billion dollar a year business, with the introduction to cybersex it has now increased by $4 billion dollars making it a total of $12 billion. And this figure is growing at an alarming 20% a year. Approximately one third of Web sites are sexually related, and sex is the number one topic searched for on the Internet. Males are more susceptible to Internet problems with pornography and women are more likely to be hurt by Email romances. And both sexes are open to chat rooms that can destroy values and godly morals. Do you know that if you are caught viewing cybersex at work certain kinds are a Federal offense and you can be prosecuted?
Definition: of ”Cybersex”- in a general term is all pornographic issues relating to the Internet, visual or verbal in type. It is where participants send messages back and forth describing pretend sexual activity with one another. Some are one night encounters or flings but others develop into exchanges of phone numbers and eventual real-life date.
WHY IS CYBERSEX SO POWERFUL?
God made us sexual beings, and He blesses sexuality ONLY in the intimacy of marriage. Our modern society has twisted that to the point where sex is the remedy for every ill mood, bad day, or feeling of boredom or loneliness. And we are constantly bombarded with messages on TV and radio that we are entitled to have “great sex,” and if we don’t, we should be able to get it somewhere. This is simply not true. As Christians we know that Jesus is the answer to our every need. Alvin Cooper Ph.D. noted researcher on cybersex, has described “the three A’s” of cybersex addiction: Anonymity, Accessibility, and Affordability.
ANONYMITY – there is a myth that when people go online they are anonymous and nobody can find out who they are, the sites they access, or what they view or download.
This is not true!!! The Bible says, “Your sins will find you out.” Leave a liverwurst and headcheese sandwich under the bed and sooner or later the stench will rise. Each time you access a site you leave techno-crumbs that can be traced back to you. Many pictures or texts that have been downloaded and erased are still in the depths of your hard drive, waiting for someone to discover them accidentally. Cybersex feels safer than buying pornographic material locally or through the mail. It feels like you are alone and nobody sees what you are doing. Yet we know that our Heavenly Father sees everything and is grieved when He sees us secretly committing these sins.
ACCESSIBILITY – whether you are at home, at work in your cubicle, at school or at the public library doing research, you are just a click away from a sexual fix.
My wife Diana, as a teacher, constantly has to redirect teenagers at school who are pulling up inappropriate materials. Once on line one can get in and out quickly when your parents or your spouse leaves the room for a minute. Search Engine Accessibility: Connotation or denotation of Words. A child could be doing a report on “missionary, Beavers or Tacos, so they do a search. The normal use of the words is obvious. However the denotation or “Negative” use of those words are used to pull up countless pornographic sits. Your kids find it without even looking for it. Its images may stay in your consciousness for hours, days, weeks or longer. If a young person is involved in pornography, its imprints channel and direct their sex drive in the future. This is a set up to never have healthy sexual relationships with your future spouse because you set your sexual expectations beyond what is called intimate normalcy.
AFFORDABILITY – at first cybersex is cheap for a “free peek” with a credit card number but then each minute more adds the dollars up quickly. Also theses images can be downloaded to emails and viewed several times later on.
WHY IS PORNOGRAPHIC MATERIAL SO HABIT FORMING?
Pornographic images create sexual arousal and alter the brain’s chemistry; this deeply etches the images into a person’s memory. And like most addictions, what works for you today becomes boring tomorrow, so you begin to look for something stronger to maintain the same level of arousal, and on and on it goes. The chemicals in the brain: dopamine, serotonin, and adrenalin are powerful neurotransmitters that make us feel good.
Let me illustrate this. Picture a muddy road. Drive down it a few times and you begin to create tire groves in it. Now do that 10-20 even 100 times. If I go back to that same dirt road and get in the grooves my tires made I won’t even have to steer the vehicle. It will turn itself. Point…. The Brain has what are known as “engroves” little groves you can see under a microscope from your brain repeating a thought over and over. When you travel down the dirt path of Cyber-pornography the deeper the path is carved and the easier it is accessible to your imagination. These days we live in an age of entitlement where we are taught by society that we should have these good feelings. Some are more vulnerable to addictions than others.
At the root of many sexual compulsions or addictions is an Intimacy Disorder where the individual does not have the skills, time, energy, or spouse that allows him or her to develop true intimacy – emotionally, spiritually, or sexually. Just like with any addiction once the good feeling comes and goes the person looks for it again and again.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM IN THIS AREA?
If you have tried unsuccessfully to control cybersex or any sexual activity here are some questions to help a person know if they have a sexual compulsion or addiction.
1. Do you find yourself doing the sexual activity more often?
2. Do you find that you are looking for sexier images than before?
3. Do you feel down, depressed or agitated when you’re not engaging in the sexual activity?
4. Do you find that your sexual activity interferes with other areas of your life like schoolwork, other siblings, etc.?
5. Do you continue the activity even though you know it’s wrong and is hurting you?
6. Do you find yourself repenting but going right back again and repeating the behavior?
HOW CAN WE HELP PREVENT THIS FROM COMING INTO OUR HOMES?
1. One of the best ways to control cybersex is to have your personal computer in a room where people frequently walk through.
2. Don’t let your children have their own passwords; and if they do, tell them you expect to know their passwords.
3. Limit internet use: Allow Internet use only when you are home, used only to checking email and school projects and brief fun sites.
4. Send a letter or personal phone call to each teacher your teenager has with computer access. Express your desire to keep them on a teen account. Let them know your families’ religious convictions and your concerns for privacy in this matter.
5. Take the privilege away when there has been Internet abuse. I highly recommend this!
6. Know how to check the history of sites visited: Call your Internet service provider to learn how to view the past 100 sites visited on a particular account. Let your kids know you know…
7. Be proactive by telling your children they may accidentally find pornography on the Internet and they will be tempted to look at it.
8. Remind them that while Jesus encouraged us to stand up and resist temptation, His Word tells us to “FLEE or RUN FROM” sexual temptation, knowing how strong it can be on us.
9. Use a software program that helps block out pornography or other adult material.
Some Internet service providers sell a filtering service along with their regular online services. An excellent and updated list is available through Focus on the Family. However, none of these are foolproof because there are hundreds of sites being established daily. It is important YOU do your best to keep all sex sites out of your home and for parents to stay abreast to what’s going on in their children’s lives.
IF YOU KNOW YOU HAVE A PROBLEM:
Stay offline or unplug your computer from the Internet.
Define your ritual–know what thoughts, feelings, and/or behaviors you have just before you are tempted to access. This way you can stop yourself at the first signal.
There’s a 3-part step to pulling out the root of pornography. With dandelions if you pull the flower it grows back. To rid yourself of dandelions you must uproot them.
There has to be honesty about the problem. Without true accountability there can never be true honesty. That means confession to someone, this is the painful part, but you must do it or you never will break free.
Difference between getting caught and confessing. Your parents, wife or boss may have caught you but the friend, pastor or leader you tell is part of the confession process even if it was exposed because you were caught.
Confess its sin to God and those close to you. It must be revealed to get help and get out!
You must go past the guilt and be honest about it. Pray for help – God wants you to be pure. There is no temptation we cannot overcome if we seek God’s help.
CONCLUSION: Technology is morally neutral and Christians need to learn to use the cyber world to bring glory to God rather than be tempted by sex.
This information by Alan W. Aram, Psy.D. is from the Assemblies of God Enrichment Journal article by Alan W. Aram, Psy.D., is a clinical psychologist in Springfield, Missouri. For the actual article click here.