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Protecting Our Children

‘One Picture Won't Hurt' -- One of Many Lies Our Children Hear

By JoAnn Hibbert Hamilton

Our children hear many lies. One of them is: “One picture won't hurt.” Every time children see something, it is stored in their brain. There the brain automatically files what it sees. Then, if what is seen is a sexual image, even if there is only one, it remains to tease, tantalize, and encourage the child to see more. Pornographic images create chemically encoded messages on the brain that can remain through adulthood (McGaugh, J.L., 1983, Feb., “Preserving the Presence of the Past,” American Psychologist, p. 16). Children and teens need to understand this.

Mark B. Kastleman, writing in ‘The Drug of the New Millennium – Internet Pornography,” p. 107-108, warns us about even a single exposure to inappropriate material. He states: “Information, feelings, experiences, images, sounds, emotions, etc., are stored in cells throughout your brain and body, linked together by a complex highway of electrical and chemical connections. ... Doing anything – even once – provides your mindbody with the foundation of a habit .... When you do something once, your mindbody assumes that you intend to do it again and again.” (Kastleman uses the term mindbody because the mind and the body automatically are intertwined.)

“Freedom of speech ... does not exist,” emphatically states Judith Reisman, researcher and author (New York University Review of Law and Social Change, Vol. VIII, No. 2, p. 278). She states that in 3/10 of a second a child sees an image and if it is a sexual image it enters the mind with additional impact. She goes on to explain that people who print and then display sexual images (perhaps on magazine covers) are forcing us to experience their environment, coloring our perceptions and shaping our attitudes with their own portrayals of women, children, love, sex, and men.

The “one-picture” lie is similar to the lie about cigarettes: Youth were told that just one wouldn't hurt. Sellers of cigarettes know that out of every three teens who were given cigarettes, one would be addicted to tobacco by the time of high school graduation (Deseret News, “First puff ends in addiction for 37 percent of teens,” May 22, 1998). Knowing this fact, the tobacco industry distributed free cigarettes to children and teens in third-world countries. One cigarette made a difference in the lives of lots of teens. Sadly, with inappropriate images, 100 percent of the children who see them record them in their brain. It's not because they want to, but because the recording in the brain of everything we see does happen.

Another lie that we need to discuss with our youth before they hear it is: “Everybody's seeing those pictures (or movies).” True, many young people are seeing them, but many are not. Those who truly understand what is happening in our over-sexualized society are not allowing this desensitization to take place. Many youth are keeping themselves clean. Many are saving these sacred feelings for when they can share them with a future spouse in the satisfying bonds of marriage.

Another lie youth hear is: Have fun now; repent later. Wickedness is not happiness. People just can't do wrong and feel right. Once pornographic images infiltrate the mind, or inappropriate actions take place, they'll be there just behind the curtains of a person's mind all their life. Youth will have to deal with them over and over as they fight off the image's constant reoccurrence. Sexual images in a person's mind will tend to goad and encourage wrong actions even after a couple is happily married.

As parents, we need to teach our children/teens so they are prepared to react in a positive way when they are approached with lies such as these.


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