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Guest Blogger Teresa Cook and Porn Proof Your Child


Our teenage son Brandon stood before us like a condemned man facing a firing squad. All he needed was a blindfold to make the picture complete.
“I . . . uh,” he stammered.

Minutes before, Brandon had ushered my husband and me into our bedroom and closed the door because he had something he “needed to confess.” Now he shifted from one foot to the other struggling to begin. When the words finally came, I couldn’t have been more surprised.

“I’m addicted to pornography."

One day while Brandon was home alone, he stumbled across a pornographic channel only partially scrambled by the cable company. Both mesmerized and shocked by what he saw, he promised himself he would never watch it again. Yet Brandon felt drawn back as if by a magnet. For more than a year, our son returned to the hardcore programs, sometimes sneaking from his room in the middle of the night to watch flickering images that buried themselves deep into his mind.
“I tried over and over to stop.” Brandon sobbed as we hugged him. “I need help!”

The Battle

Though I’ve never duped myself into believing my children were perfect, Brandon was the last person I thought would fall for porn. Active in church and missions, he lived out his passion for Christ. So how had this on-fire-for-God young man become ensnared by an addiction so sordid few people even spoke of it? This just didn’t happen to Christian families. Did it?

Over the next four years, I learned more about pornography than I ever wanted to know as we battled alongside our son to help him break porn’s chains. One fact stood out—more children and youth were being exposed to hardcore porn than ever before. Unfortunately, I found few resources on pornography addiction geared toward children. Surely we weren’t the only parents struggling with this problem.
The Call

As we watched God’s intervention and healing grace transform our son’s life, God impressed upon me the need to use our family’s story to help others. But how? Though writing had never held any interest for me, I began recording our experiences and later put them into book form. After attending a writers’ conference, however, I turned to magazines with their larger circulation and faster turnaround. Focus on the Family, Today’s Christian, ParentLife, Light & Life, CBN.com and more published my articles on pornography addiction, reaching well over a million people.

Soon I not only started to enjoy writing and publishing, but God made it clear He was using it to minister to others. A month after the first article appeared in a national magazine, a Baptist minister wrote asking permission to reprint the article—not unusual, except this particular minister was a native of Lebanon. He wanted to translate the article into Arabic and publish it in “the only Christian magazine in Lebanon and the Middle East.” A Canadian men’s ministry requested permission to post another of my articles on their web site. And a counselor responded to a devotional asking where he could find post-graduate studies in pornography addiction.

The Ministry

I was pleased my articles ministered to others, yet the people they seemed to help most were men rather than children. But God wasn’t finished yet. Those articles laid the foundation on which He continues to build. Two years after that first published piece, my husband and I launched Porn Proof Your Child (http://www.pornproofyourchild.com/).
Our newsletters connect with parents as far away as Hungary to provide guidance on protecting their children from pornography. Others, overwhelmed after finding their children are already viewing porn, also find encouragement and support through the site. One such mother of a twelve-year-old said, “The information is all right here to help me. Someone has paved a way for me to follow out of this storm.”
In the decade since our son’s confession, pornography has skyrocketed. Thousands more children will sample its wares and become its prisoner in the years ahead. My prayer is that Porn Proof Your Child will stand as a beacon “in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation” (Philippians 2:15 KJV) where parents can find hope and help in protecting their children from pornography.


BIO: In addition to her articles on pornography addiction, Teresa Cook has published a variety of pieces from parenting articles to Chicken Soup for the Soul stories. In addition, she leads a critique group, co-publishes a writers' newsletter, and teaches at writing conferences. In 2009 she was named Writer of the Year at an American Christian Writers Conference. All this for someone who never wanted to write.

Visit her at www.PornProofYourChild.com.

Comments

  1. What a fascinating article. I had no idea this was even an issue, we are so busy protecting kids from
    'those people' on the internet we forget sometimes they also need protecting from themselves.

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  2. This is so disturbing. Sadly porn is considered a joke, a laughing matter, a "part of the culture".

    I'm so impressed by your family's willingness to take a stand and reach out to help others in this, Teresa. Thank you for coming in to talk with us today!

    Thanks Gina, as always!

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  3. You're right, Charmaine. Pornography addiction begins in the mind. That's where the battle is won or lost.

    Our son never went looking for porn, but he always had a choice in whether to continue looking at it. Though I would have enjoyed getting my hands on some cable company operators in those early days, our son never blamed anyone but himself. I'll always be proud of him for that.

    Few parents realize that talking to their children about porn is the first line of defense. Please help us spread the word.

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  4. Thanks for your encouragement, Debra. I'm grateful that my husband never brushed off our son's addiction as many dads do. He took him very seriously and offered wise counsel. That made a tremendous difference in Brandon's recovery. Now if we can just educate the rest of society!

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  5. I can see what you mean Teresa about your husband. I never thought of that either! I guess I'm still so impressed with the maturity of your son to ask for help.

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  6. Thank you for joining us today, Teresa. There are so many directions that such things can get at our kids. I remember years ago coming across a stash of playboys at a friend's house. We were ten year-old little girls--disgusted and puzzled, but also mesmerized. Thank God we didn't have the opportunity to pursue more.

    Satan's always keen to take natural, God-ordained desires and pervert them. He does it with food addictions, workaholics, even religion. And sex is such an easy tool because it is a private thing, and because it is physically gratifying.

    Thank you for your work in this area.

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  7. We were blessed that our son came to us when he did, Debra. It's kind of a neat story about how God convicted him to get help. One day during a chapel program at school, a speaker named Bill Berry told about his twenty-year addiction to pornography and the things he did to act out what he saw. Our son said, "It scared me, Mom. I thought, 'Is this where I'm headed?'"

    I later found out that was the only time Mr. Berry had ever spoken on a college campus even though he speaks regularly about pornography. Is that a God-thing or what?

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  8. You're so right, Lisa. Satan perverts anything he can. I'm so glad you and your friends couldn't find more pornography.

    Unfortunately, the number of girls becoming addicted to porn is growing. And so often, both boys and girls are exposed through their parents' hoard or porn's easy availability online.

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  9. it truly is a God thing that he spoke up. i was reading your post thinking to myself, "what courage that young man had to have to tell his parents what he did." praise God!

    what an incredible ministry you have. blessings on you, teresa, and your writing. :)

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  10. Wow, what a great ministry you have, Teresa. Thanks so much for visiting today. I'll have to check out your website and your tips.

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  11. Thank you for your encouragement, Jeannie and Dina. And thank you, Gina, for the opportunity to be a guest on Inkwell Inspirations. It's been a pleasure.

    I'm heading to a writers' conference tomorrow, so I'll say good night.

    May God bless and keep each of you.

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  12. Teresa, God bless you and your ministry work! Sorry, I didn't get in to comment yesterday! We've experienced some similar struggles with our teenagers, and it's hard to face as a parent and as a minister. Thank you for being bold to address a problem that must be brought into the light and exposed.

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  13. Oh wow, Teresa. We keep our main computer in the dining room and don't allow TV's etc in the bedrooms, but I've noticed when I walk into dining room these days, my 14 yr old son has the monitor turned away and quickly minimizes the screen. I'm only half worried about him. He has faith but temptation is an awful thing.

    I've instituted 'Check Stops' similar to what our police do on a Fri or Sat night. For me, it means going over to son's computer and saying, 'Ok, let me see.'

    I started doing this with his text msgs a few months ago and it's become a joke between us. Invariably, he'll respond with, 'Is this one of those times?'

    It's because I'm not always on his case and I'll go days or weeks without checking so he never knows when I'll ask. And sometimes I'm teasing him in which case I'll say, 'Not this time.' and we'll both laugh.

    Other times when I get that gut feeling, I'll say, 'Yes, hand it over' and he either gives me his cell or maximizes his screen. So far, all I've seen are silly chats between him and girls. Nothing to worry about. But I feel better knowing I'm keeping him on his toes, so to speak.

    Thank you for coming today, Teresa, even though I'm a day late.

    Anita.

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