The following blog was submitted by a Cathedral mother who chose to share her family's story as both a cautionary tale and call to action. We at The Cathedral of the Risen Christ appreciate her bravery and honesty. We also applaud her desire to see all in our CRC family become proactive, rather than reactive, regarding this issue.
Dear Cathedral Family,
I am writing this anonymously for obvious reasons. The not-so-obvious reason is that it's appropriate to be anonymous since my story could be any of yours.
I have a son who attends The Cathedral of the Risen Christ who unfortunately has been exposed to porn.
PLEASE LISTEN: If you're that parent who believes this will never happened to your child, we have something in common: I felt the same.
I've listened to the talks from Fr. Kilcawley
about how dangerous internet porn is and how important installing Covenant Eyes
onto our electronic devices was. I had good intentions to get this done thinking that I had plenty of time. Unfortunately time ran out quicker than my husband and I expected.
This story started simply enough, which is common in these situations: My son was chatting with several of his classmates who happened to be talking about porn during free time at school. He had no idea what this was, so he was curious and decided to do a Google search on our home computer for the word PORN. To his surprise there was no official definition, but he did get an eye full.
Feeling ashamed of himself, he never came to us. Instead, just as research indicated, he went back to it at least one more time. Kilcawley talks about this often - the isolation and shame from pornography is immediate. (Research also indicates that first exposure to pornography is now between the ages of 10 and 12)
This is how porn addiction begins - not with intent, but with shame and secrecy. And where do we turn when ashamed? Back to the root of the issue.
And this is where we, as parents, must step up. Do not expect your child to come to you - you are the adult, and you must broach the subject. If not, you are taking a major risk. And if your child is already involved, you are allowing an intruder into your home, and your child to live with shame. I know no parent wants this.
Thankfully in our household we have very good communication and notice unusual behaviors quickly. I kick myself because this could've all easily been prevented if we simply would've installed Covenant Eyes onto our devices months ago after we heard Fr. Kilcawley speak at Cathedral. I know many of you were sitting with us that night, shaking your head "YES" to all he said. But how many acted?
Porn addictions are very scary and can happen quickly, causing a lot of damage. It is projected that over 75% of college males regularly visit pornography online, and it is not hard to link this issue with rising acceptance of the objectification of women, sky-high divorce rates, and the lack of respect for families and marriage. I thank God that we caught this very quickly and immediately took action.
I pray that what happened to our family will not affect another member of our Cathedral Family! Please take preventative measures if your child has any access to electronic devices. Please start a conversation with them. Please listen...
Moving forward, our family is teaching our children "Theology of the Body" so they can better understand the beauty of what God has intended for our bodies.
May God bless all the Cathedral Families. If you would like to talk directly to me please contact Mr. Ekeler and he will put you in touch with me.