One organization that deserves our thanks and support in the effort to protect our kids is the National Law Center for Children and Families. This year, NLC began the “NLC PROTECTS” series of seminars across the country -- bringing the nation’s top experts on sex crimes to train prosecutors, investigators and local government attorneys how to prosecute obscenity crimes and fight the sexual exploitation of children. Its two main goals are “to show the link between all crimes of sexual exploitation and to educate the attendees about the true nature of prosecutable obscenity.”
Tracking down sex offenders can be a tricky business. A thorough knowledge of the law and how it can be used to bring down the criminals who stalk our children is a must -- and that’s where the NLC comes in. They show officials how to investigate the ways predators entice our children online, how to interview child witnesses and how to prosecute sex crimes that involve obscenity and child pornography.
Why is such a series necessary? As NLC Executive Director Richard Whidden told Congress last year, we live in a “hypersexualized environment” -- one barely imaginable when the Supreme Court made its landmark Ginsberg v. New York decision prohibiting the sale of sexually explicit material to those under 17. As Whidden put it:
“When Ginsberg was decided in 1968, the Internet was a figment of science fiction writers’ imaginations; satellites were something only NASA and the government used; cable TV was rare; and persons who sought obscene materials could obtain it in only a very few places. Today, obscene materials are [as] easily accessible to us -- and therefore to our children -- as our home computers, classrooms, wireless communications devices such as phones and PDAs, and of course the vast wilderness of television. Obscene materials are no longer limited to the proverbial ‘plain brown wrapper.’ The accessibility, affordability, and anonymity of the Internet has had an adverse effect on our children and families.”
NLC PROTECTS seminars already held in Alexandria, Va., and Phoenix, Ariz., have received rave reviews. NLC plans to hold another dozen seminars over the next two years. To learn more, sign up for their e-newsletter.
The NLC (and many others) also worked hard to make sure the “Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act” became law. Named for the murdered son of John Walsh, host of the long-running TV series America’s Most Wanted, it was signed by President Bush on July 27. The legislation creates a national database of convicted child molesters, and increases penalties for those who commit sex crimes against children and fail to register with their state.
As I point out in my book, Home Invasion, the porn culture is everywhere, and it affects how human beings treat each other, our health and our basic humanity.
Parents, you must understand that even if a child molester never stalks your children, mere exposure to pornography inflicts a great deal of damage to their developing attitudes, psyches and morality. Jill Manning, a former visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation, outlined the personal cost in a paper she presented to a special U.S. Senate subcommittee. Her review of the peer-reviewed research reveals that pornography consumption by children is associated with the following trends (just to name a few):
- Developing tolerance toward sexually explicit material, thereby requiring more novel or bizarre material to achieve the same level of arousal or interest.
- Overestimating the prevalence of less common sexual practices (e.g., group sex, bestiality and sadomasochistic activity).
- Abandoning the goal of sexual exclusivity with a partner.
- Perceiving promiscuity as a normal state of interaction.
- Developing cynical attitudes about love.
- Believing that raising children and having a family is an unattractive prospect.
- Developing a negative body image, especially for women.
Fortunately, there are ways you can help protect your own children. Arm yourself with good information about social-science trends -- information you can find at sites like familyfacts.org. Get a reliable Web filter for your home computers. And consider supporting the work being done by groups such as the National Law Center.
Who will mold your children? You, or the pimps?