Are You Doing Enough to Educate Adolescents on Technology and Pornography?

“There is a Tsunami coming. We are a hundred years from understanding what we are dealing with regarding the influence and impact of cybersex on mankind.”

Those are the words of Dr. Patrick Carnes, one of the foremost experts on addiction and recovery issues, especially when it comes to pornography and the influence of technology in aiding that particular addiction. The latest issue of Family Therapy Magazine (January/February 2010) is dedicated to the issue of sexual compulsivity, and is filled with great articles on this topic.

That particular quote is from the article The Tsunami: Adolescents, Technology, and Pornography.

The article goes on to say….

“Technology also possesses the capacity to numb out and desensitize youth from their natural progression as they idle away valuable moments for social, relational, spiritual, physical, mental and neurological development…Teen pornography and technology use is affecting their values, socializing, sexuality and courtship patters.” (pp. 19)

Adolescents. Technology. Pornography.

The perfect storm according to many psychologists, addiction experts and theorists who are on the leading edge when it comes to studying this issue and working with the people who suffer from such an addiction.

I love technology. I love my Facebook. My Twitter. My blog. Etc. Lots of things to love. But I have to also be sober minded enough to know that technology is not neutral. It has a transforming affect on my life. Some of those transformations are good. Some are not. So I have to be careful about how I use technology. I have to be careful about the boundaries I set around it.

If you work with adolescents…Or are parent or mentor to adolescents…Are you being sober minded enough on this issue? What are you doing to educate them about their use of technology and about issues of sexuality and pornography?

I’ve recently been doing a lot of speaking on this topic, both for the National Coalition (Dallas office), as well as for some local churches and youth groups. This Saturday, John Dyer and I will be teaching a breakout session at the Men of Valor Conference. Our breakout will be held twice and will cover the following topic:

Staying Safe in a Digital World—Room C26 (upstairs) Morning & Afternoon Sessions
Speakers: Rhett Smith, MDiv, MSMFT, LMFT-A, Marriage & Family Therapist, Hope Works
John Dyer, Th.M., Director of Web Development, Dallas Theological Seminary

Description: Today’s technology can bring both blessings and curses. In this session, John and Rhett will talk theology, psychology, philosophy and practicality as it relates to technology and its effect on Men. You will gain greater understanding of how technology traps can be avoided as well as used for greater good. John and Rhett are both bloggers who use technology in creative ways to advance God’s truths.


  1. by John Gruber on February 23, 2010  1:59 am Reply

    Will your breakout be available in any form during or after the conference? Thanks.
    .-= John Gruber´s last blog ..Week in Review =-.

  2. by JD Eddins on February 23, 2010  12:01 pm Reply

    I would highly recommend any of the books by Patrick Carnes on sexual addiction, particularly In The Shadows of the Net which specifically addresses addiction to internet pornography. Also, if you very get the chance to hear him speak, he is awesome. All of the therapist at our treatment center have being a part of training to become certified as sexual addiction therapists in order to address this tsunami that is coming.

  3. by Drew Sams on February 23, 2010  1:13 pm Reply


    Fantastic post. As someone that has worked with adolescents for the last 9 years, I have seen the effects of this "tsunami" has it has been building in intensity within the lives of the adolescents (and parents) I work with.

    For those who can't make it out to the conference, will you be recording it?

    Any further suggestions on books/resources for parents/teens?

    Thanks brother.

    :) Drew
    .-= Drew Sams´s last blog ..Craig Bondar Memorial Service | 10/4 at 5pm =-.

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  7. by Ryan Guard on February 27, 2010  11:26 am Reply

    The first line of your blog is a bit eerie this morning...

  8. by Concernedmom on March 28, 2010  1:42 pm Reply

    As a monther of 4 girls, this is a scary post! I think parents share the responsibility of this tsunami by giving kids, too much, too big, too fast. Cell phones for example... is it really necessary to get kids as young as 10 cell phones with unlimited minutes, games, apps, unlimited texting and all the other options that make it highly attractive and addictive? I got all my girls started on cell phones right before high school but with a prepaid phone - NET10 to be exact. Thought the plan is very inexpensive at 10 cents per call and 5 cents per text, I've limited their monthly usage to no more than $20. This way they get used to using their cell phone for emergency or occasional social calls and minimum texting. It also helps them manage their time and realize the value of money - since they have to pitch in for their monthly cell phone expense. I guess this is my way to keep the addiction away.

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