Jonathan Garthwaite

Every parent experiences it. Every parent hears the stories from their friends about when they had it. And new parents always wonder when it will happen to them. There's no reason that any of us should be surprised by it, yet we are all when it finally happens to us.

It's the moment sexually explicit material finds its way in front of our children and we realize that we're not in Kansas anymore. Actually, even Kansas isn't safe zone anymore. Or Minnesota. Or Georgia.

The Internet has brought about the creation of many great things, but it has also pushed a whole new world of sexual content right into our homes. None of us are well-suited to defend against its 24-hour-a-day attacks.

The wake-up call to the dangers awaiting our children on the Internet is not new, but the dangers keep growing with each passing day and every technological breakthrough.

If you've been surfing the web much at all, you've no doubt made the unfortunate mistake of typing in a seemingly innocent word into Google only to find that the word has some obscure sexual reference. Pornography is everywhere. It's on the cable networks after midnight . It's on cell phones.

It is certainly nothing new for teenagers to stumble upon the occasional collection of vintage men's magazines being stored in a friend's father's closet—but let's face it—things have changed. While the rest of society's morals have been spiraling downward, the pornography industry was along for the ride, if not leading the charge.

The old excuse that certain pornography might be artistic or beautiful is out the window these days. Nothing is off limits and there's a lot more than just the birds and the bees.

Children in their teens are naturally curious, but a little curiosity about the birds and the bees taken to the world of the Internet might turn into a lesson you don't want them learning. Recent testimony by the Heritage Foundation before Congress, concerning the pornography and the family, was quite alarming in that it found several significant adverse and long-lasting effects of exposure to pornography during the teenage years including:

1. Lasting negative or traumatic emotional responses,

2. Earlier onset of first sexual intercourse, thereby increasing the risk of STD's over the lifespan,

3. The belief that superior sexual satisfaction is attainable without having affection for one's partner, thereby reinforcing the commoditization of sex and the objectification of humans.

4. The belief that being married or having a family are unattractive prospects;

5. Increased risk for developing sexual compulsions and addictive behavior,

Jonathan Garthwaite

Jonathan Garthwaite is General Manager of