Battling Pornography The Power of Media Literacy and

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norms We are now in a cultural revolution that overthrows sexual morality The severe. consequences are obvious As sex goes so goes the family As the family goes so goes. One of the biggest effects of the sexual revolution is that it normalized pornography. Initially pornography magazines like Playboy popularized the idea that recreational sex and. masturbating3 with pornography were healthy activities for men. With the arrival of the Internet pornography exploded. In 2005 the secular journalist Pamela Paul published Pornified How Pornography is. Transforming Our Lives Our Relationships and Our Families4 Almost overnight pornography. had taken the destabilizing consequences of the sexual revolution to a new and even more. destructive level, According to recent estimates the average age at which boys now begin use of Internet. pornography is 11 Many are addicted by the time they are teens Many carry that addiction. into their marriages and families, But there is good news in the battle against pornography Many smart and dedicated. people are addressing the problem As families and schools we can draw hope from that and. make use of their good work, Let me read to you the titles of just some of the books published in the past decade. that help us understand the problem of pornography and give us ways to fight it5. Integrity Restored Helping Catholic Families Win the Battle Against Pornography by the. Catholic psychotherapist Dr Peter Kleponis whose approach integrates Catholic. spirituality, Pornland How Porn Has Hijacked our Sexuality by Gail Dines. The Drug of the New Millennium The Science of How Internet Pornography Radically. Alters the Human Brain and Body by Mark Castleman, Good Pictures Bad Pictures Porn Proofing Today s Young Kids by Kristen A Jensen and.
Gail Poyner, Wired for Intimacy How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain by William Struthers. Every Man s Battle Every Young Man s Battle and Preparing Your Son for Every Man s. Battle by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker, It s also good news that more people who have bravely battled and overcome a. pornography addiction are going public with their stories Here is one example Nick Willis is. 32 years old a champion long distance runner and a national hero in New Zealand He won a. silver medal in the 1500 meters at the Beijing Olympics and raced in the Rio Olympics this past. summer Recently he surprised his fans with a Facebook post about his past addiction to. pornography, Since I was a teenager it had been a rollercoaster ride of shame and justification. because I was on and off with this addiction I am now 2 years porn free and it feels. AMAZING Not until I realized the true implications this had on my marriage and my. ability to father could I finally break free, It s good news that we have educational tools that schools and families can use in. fighting this battle Character education especially character education that includes media. literacy is one such tool Media literacy whether it s done at home or in classrooms has two. 1 to teach students how to think critically about all forms of media Who created this. What are the messages, 2 to teach students to think critically about their own media habits about the different.
kinds of media they personally interact with whether it s television video games their. smart phones or pornography How does any particular form of media influence their. values beliefs attitudes goals how they spend their time and the kind of person they. are becoming Is it making them a better person and helping them build a positive. future or not, This kind of self examination turns media literacy into authentic character education It. challenges students to take a hard look in the mirror and then change what they. discover needs changing, It s not hard to get students to think critically about media They enjoy that It s. considerably harder to get them to think critically about themselves But that s essential for. building character and for confronting the problem of pornography. It s also very good news that there is now a science of pornography that helps us. understand how pornography does its damage It s good news that there is a growing body of. solid scientific research showing the many harmful effects of pornography. It s good news that more therapists and others in the mental health profession. recognize pornography addiction as a problem For many years they did not You may be. surprised to learn I was that Harvard University now has a Catholic psychiatrist on its. Medical School faculty who is teaching psychiatrists in training how to use a virtue based. approach to treating pornography and other addictions. It s also good news that there is a growing anti pornography movement led by young. people themselves, You may have seen Time magazine s red and black cover last April with PORN in huge. letters and the subtitle Why Young Men Who Grew Up on It Are Becoming Advocates for. Turning It Off 6 The article inside was titled Porn and the Threat to Virility It reported that. countless young men who have consumed lots of Internet pornography are finding themselves. unable to have normal sexual activity with real human beings They say that when they have. the opportunity for sexual relations with their wives or girlfriends they cannot perform In. many cases they ve lost all interest in real sex Only Internet pornography arouses them. Some young men who have been affected in this way have begun to speak out about. this problem in an effort to warn others Some are setting up support groups to help guys who. are hooked on porn, After the Time article was published the U S bishop Robert Barron wrote a thoughtful. commentary titled Porn and The Curse of Total Sexual Freedom 7 You may have seen Father. Barron s highly praised 10 part documentary Catholicism He s a very smart guy and a gifted. teacher I recommend his critique of the Time story on porn as something you could have your. students read discuss and write about in your efforts to develop their skills of moral reasoning. In his essay Bishop Barron said that it is a good thing that young men are trying to warn. their peers about the effects of porn on one s ability to have sex with a real person But. something really important was missing from Time magazine s reporting on this problem He. What really struck me in the Time article is that neither the author nor anyone that she. interviewed or referenced ever spoke of pornography as something morally. objectionable It has apparently come to the culture s attention as a problem only. because it has resulted in erectile dysfunction, Suppose guys doing porn could take a Super Pill that would make them able to have sex.
with real women again Would that make porn okay, Here s a perfect opportunity to challenge and develop your students ability to reason. morally to ask What makes something right or wrong If your students or children asked. you that question how would you answer it, What makes stealing wrong Adultery Premarital sex Abortion Infanticide. Pornography Masturbation Human trafficking, There are two ways we can evaluate the morality of an act and judge whether it is good. or bad We can look at the consequences of an act Or we can look at the act itself at whether. it is wrong in and of itself not just because of whatever negative consequences it might have. Let s apply this to pornography What s wrong with the act itself Bishop Barron points. out that pornography is first and foremost an ethical violation a deep distortion of human. sexuality an unconscionable objectification of persons who should never be treated as. anything less than persons, Porn treats people as objects to be used for the sexual pleasure of viewers and the. profit of the pornographers That s inherently wrong persons have human dignity that must be. respected human beings must never be exploited Sex is also meant to express and deepen. love between people porn sex has nothing to do with love. The negative consequences of porn are obviously important to consider but they are. secondary The sexual sickness of our society Bishop Barron says is a symptom of something. deeper our belief that sex can be divorced from love and that sexual pleasure can be pursued. in any way we wish including pornography We won t cure the sickness unless we address the. underlying cause, Let me share a story that shows a practical application of this kind of moral reasoning to.
the problem of men struggling with pornography, In his book Achieving Chastity in a Pornographic World Father T G Morrow explains a. counseling strategy he developed to help such men 8 He illustrates this approach with the story. of one young man he counseled, He was praying a good deal each day and attending daily Mass He had a reasonably. balanced life and was happy in his job But he was struggling with unchaste thoughts. and desires I explained to him the need to convert rather than suppress his sexual. appetite as recommended by Aristotle St Thomas Aquinas and Pope John Paul II He. was to present to his mind repeatedly the values he would gain by living chastely. things like treating others as persons not objects living by reason not by his urges. and upholding the sacredness of sex I had him make a list of these reasons and. encouraged him to read the list several times a day He began to do this and within a. year he told me he was over the struggle 9, Father Morrow says he has recommended this method to others who were trying to. stop using pornography A number of them have said that after only a few months it was. helping them a great deal He explains why he thinks this approach has been helpful. According to Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle chastity is the habitual moderation of the. sexual appetite in accord with right reason It is bringing the sexual appetite. consistently under the control of reason Notice it is not just the regulation of. behavior which would be self control but of the very desires that lead to sexual. behavior Note too that the norm is right reason i e reason in conformity with. God s Eternal Law not merely worldly reason, The sexual appetite seems to have a life of its own and it listens not only to reason but. to the senses and the imagination as well Thus one must find a way to convince the. sexual appetite to obey reason and not the senses or the imagination. I ve talked with men some married who said they found they couldn t pray themselves. out of a pornography addiction and had to seek the help of a 12 step program similar to. Alcoholics Anonymous Father Morrow s experience however encourages us to experiment. with different ways to tap deeply into the power of right reason in the hope that our intellect. used wisely can govern our will and control even the strongest of desires. Fight the New Drug, It s also good news that there s another grassroots anti pornography movement that s.
much broader in its approach than the one Time magazine wrote about It s dedicated to. educating young people and the public at large about all the harms of pornography not just the. problem of erectile dysfunction It also shows how the porn industry grossly violates and. exploits people, This movement is called Fight the New Drug www fightthenewdrug org It was started. in 2008 by college guys They tell their story in a 3 minute video Fight the New Drug A. Movement for Love http fightthenewdrug org video fight the new drug a movement for. You can also find that story in print It s in Fight the New Drug s book published last. year called FORTIFY The Fighter s Guide to Overcoming Pornography Addiction 10. In 2008 a group of college students started an entrepreneurial group on our campus. called Entrepreneurs Dedicated to Great Endeavors EDGE While we were sharing our. goals and aspirations one member said he wanted to raise money to put up a billboard. addressing the issue of pornography That triggered a deep and lasting conversation. about pornography Many members of the group had seen its harmful effects in their. own lives and in the lives of their friends and family members They wondered why so. few people were talking about the issue openly, These students decided to become experts on the topic After they did their research. they were determined to educate others particularly teenagers and young adults. From there a movement was born called Fight the New Drug At first we weren t sure. who would jump on board with such a taboo topic But within one week of launching a. simple website more than 10 000 people had joined the cause Since then this. movement has grown to influence millions of people all over the world. The website includes a lot of other videos you could use as part of a media literacy unit. or watch at home with your family Here s another good one to start with The History of. Porn and The New Anti Porn Movement also 3 minutes The link. https www youtube com user FightTheNewDrug, Then check out the Get the facts tab That link will take you to an excellent summary of. how pornography harms the brain the heart and the world You can read and absorb the. key points under each of those three headings in about 15 minutes. The Porn Kills Love Movement, Fight the New Drug has launched a second website Porn Kills Love. www pornkillslove com Porn Kills Love has become its own movement promoted by young. women as well as guys They emphasize that they are pro sex but sex in the right kind of. Every Man s Battle Every Young Man s Battle and Preparing Your Son for Every Man s Battle by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker It s also good news that more people who have bravely battled and overcome a pornography addiction are going public with their stories Here is one example Nick Willis is

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