A word to Christian parents: Your responsibility here is very practical. If you are giving your children unfettered access to screens and online content, you are giving them away to this darkness. Your job as a parent is to push back against the currents that are trying to overwhelm your children. Don’t give your small children and adolescents a smartphone. No matter how much they beg for it. No matter how much your friends and neighbors look at you as strange for not getting with the program. Don’t do it. Children are being introduced to this content at younger and younger ages. It will be all that you can do to keep them away from friends and acquaintances at school who share this material on their own smart phones. The last thing that you need to do is to give them their own pipeline to this sewage. Don’t be so naïve to think that they won’t find this material. They won’t have to find it. It will find them unless you stand in the way.I agree with Rod Dreher:
Parents have to build an anti-smartphone culture for their kids, and help each other stick to it. Eventually the kid will become older teenagers, but one hopes that they will have been morally formed to have self-restraint when it comes to pornography access on the thing.
Christian parent, building an anti-smartphone culture begins in your home, so start there. Your kids are not going to avoid this content by accident. They are only going to avoid it on purpose. That means that you have to be planning how you are going to train them to be vigilant over their own hearts (Prov. 4:23). This will take time—indeed an entire childhood—to form. And you will need to teach them how to handle technology as they grow into young adulthood. You will need to introduce access with intentionality and with limits. As you are doing so, they need guardrails from you to keep them on track until they can take the wheel themselves as young adults.
Mom and Dad, let’s agree together to be weird and countercultural for the sake of our children. They desperately need us to be this for them whether they realize it or not.
UPDATE #1: The editor for the wellness section of Teen Vogue has made a defense of her editorial decision to include this article in the magazine. I respond to her defense here.
UPDATE #2: D.C. McAllister has published a very helpful article at The Federalist outlining the health risks involved with this type of sexual behavior among young women. She writes:
Anal sex is a very high-risk sexual behavior, more so than vaginal intercourse and oral sex. As reported by the Medical Institute for Sexual Health, a Guttmacher study found that 25 percent of the women they interviewed had been forced to have anal sex. “Coercion and violence notwithstanding, many participants reported pain and discomfort, including emotional distress, during anal intercourse.” A study from the UK concurs: “Young people’s narratives normalized coercive, painful and unsafe anal heterosex.”
In HuffPo, Naomi Wolf said when she visited several college campuses, “anal fissures were the number one health problem women were having because everyone was doing anal when they were drunk and had just met, which is not the best way to do anal. It’s a very delicate thing. So, the scripts are being set by porn.”
Not only is it painful, it has other risks. It can eventually lead to fecal incontinence, and the American Cancer Society reports, “Receptive anal intercourse also increases the risk of anal cancer in both men and women, particularly in those younger than 30.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that “anal sex is the riskiest sexual behavior for getting and transmitting HIV for men and women.” It “carries a risk 17 times greater than receptive vaginal intercourse. Moreover, receptive anal intercourse even carries a risk 2 times greater than that of needle-sharing during injection drug use.”
The CDC also reports that “in addition to the same sexually transmitted diseases that are passed through vaginal sex, anal sex can also expose participants to hepatitis A, B and C; parasites like Giardia and intestinal amoebas; bacteria like Shigella, Salmonella, Campylobacter and E. coli.”
Given the high risks, do we really want our children having anal sex?
This article originally appeared here.