A Post from My Husband
My husband is in recovery for porn addiction and has felt the call to educate people about the world of internet pornography. Warning: If you are a porn addict, this article could be a trigger.
I Wonder If You’ve Seen Your Daughter Naked on the Web
Because I Think Others Might Have
I click on the thumbnail and a video opens showing several young girls in what looks like a female adolescent’s bedroom. It’s probably a sleep-over; there are six girls in view and the overhead light makes it appear the time is late at night. That, and the fact that all but one of them are dressed for bed – panties and sleep shirts.
Although this one doesn’t, some of these videos include audio. But I can tell from their behavior that they are enjoying themselves and each other, and whatever it is on the screen of the laptop through whose camera I can see them. Two sit on the end of the double bed and lean in at times to take a closer look at the screen and to occasionally type something on the keyboard. In the background a couple of girls are distracted by some gadget in the room and another jumps on the bed. And there is the one girl still in her day a clothes, standing in the back, giving every indication that she’s uncomfortable with what is happening in the room.
The youngest is probably twelve years old, the oldest might be fourteen, but I doubt it. Suddenly, the attention of all the girls turns to the one on the bed. She has stopped jumping. Her reaction to the gaze of her friends is embarrassment, or possibly just a natural shyness. She shakes her head in the “no” gesture. They are alternatively egging her on and then looking back at the screen.
The jumper wants to give in, I can tell, but she loves the attention, too. She will give in, probably, after she’s milked the moment as long as she can. And then it happens. So quickly I almost miss it, she pulls her sleep shirt up to her chin, revealing her breasts to the other girls in the room, the laptop, and of course, to everyone else who has happened upon this video. And just as quickly, she covers herself. The other girls respond in obvious gales of laughter as they look toward the laptop. They cover their mouths. The jumper-turned-flasher covers her face. Then she too comes close to the laptop to get a better look at whatever is on the screen.
I will abandon the story at this point so that I may introduce myself as I fear that you may think this is just scribbling from a pervert’s pen. This writing is creepy and I’m creeped out myself from writing it. In my old life, I wouldn’t have been so disturbed, but in my new life, it bothers me.
I was once a teacher. Well, that’s the work I did. I was and am also a father and grandfather. I was and am a Christian. I’ve been a church-goer, a youth group leader and I’ve been on staff with a few churches. But in the recent most ten years of my life, I gradually became someone else. I grew increasingly less appreciative of my relationship with God as I wrestled with some difficult and painful personal circumstances. I isolated myself from others, no longer attended church and rarely read Christian authors or the Bible.
And I washed my brain daily with pornography.
Then one day, nearly nine months, I was arrested for doing something I’d seen others doing on websites where amateurs can post their own videos, like the one I described earlier. I was charged with harassment for filming underneath skirts with my iPod. I lost my reputation when my picture and the details were printed on the front page of our local paper. I lost my teaching job two weeks later. I pled guilty four months later and accepted a sentence of thirty days in the county jail.
And I gave my life back to Jesus.
Then I got the help I needed. I attended 90 Sex Addicts Anonymous tele-meetings in 90 days. I found a sponsor and went through the 12 steps. I began therapy with a counselor who understands addiction as well as personality disorders. I joined our local Celebrate Recovery group and am going through the 12 steps again with a face to face sponsor. I also attend a men’s 12 step study group.
There are people who know pornography and those who don’t. Those in the world of porn know varying degrees of what’s easily available on the web; some put limits on their viewing while others are constantly pushing the envelope of what can shock them. Those who know nothing of the pornographic world remain unaware of the depth of that abyss, how repugnant and perverted and sickening it is.
But they should.
Especially if they are parents of minors.
You may wonder why I’m writing this filth. I’m doing so because I am in recovery for porn addiction and I know the pornographic world. While unemployed, I’m in a spot in my life where I get to decide what I want to do with myself. I’m in a unique situation where house payments are made, the pantry has food, the cars have gas. Of course, that won’t last forever, but while it does, I can spend some time thinking about where someone such as myself, an internet-porn junkie turned whistle blower could make an impact. And the place I want to make it is with people who love their children and don’t know they could be involved in virtual sexuality. Or are involved. Or have been involved for a long time.
The girls in the video I described above are innocent children. They still have their baby fat and their breasts are hardly large enough to need a training bra. They’re using technology, or it is using them, or perhaps, others are using them through technology, in ways for which they are totally unequipped to deal. They are so naïve they don’t know they’re victims and I’d bet decent money that their parents don’t know they are exposing themselves in front of a computer with a camera. And it doesn’t end with mere flashing. Later in this video, several of the girls will sit in front of the computer without their tops on. They will touch each other. They will kiss each other on the mouth.
And this video is one of the tame ones.
I’ve seen videos where girls in the thirteen to eighteen year range perform sex acts with other girls, and also with young men. These kinds of videos are so prolific on the web they can be divided into sub-genres: girls who are caught by their parents while performing in front of the computer, girls with other girls, girls with guys, girls at parties, and the list goes on. And the list that goes on is too disgusting to print here. Lest this piece of writing become part of the problem instead of the solution let me just say this:
If you can imagine it, it’s on the web.
You may wonder how a video like the one I’ve described here gets on the web. The girls are on a website that connects their computer to another computer with a web camera. It’s called a face-to-face site, or an F2F. They can also see who is watching them on their screen. It could be one or more boys who are older than they. The girls probably feel special because they are holding the attention of older guys. In some videos, the girls are in front of boys they know. They might even talk to them on the phone while they watch each other. The boys might be telling them how beautiful or “hot” they are and how much more hot they’d be if they took off their clothes and touched each other.
You may wonder how the live stream passed between these computers got recorded. It was done through software on the other computer that records whatever appears on their computer screen. In the video I’ve described, the recording was cropped to show only the girl’s screen, but the site they’ve connected to shows both screens on both computers, and they can both be recorded. Once the video is on a computer, it is quite easy to upload it to a site that allows users to upload their videos. There is only one Youtube. There are millions of Sextubes.
There is no way for the girls in this video to know they were being recorded.
- Or where this recording will appear on the web.
- Or how many times it will be viewed.
- Or by who.
- Or on how many computers it will be downloaded.
The most heartbreaking things they don’t know is the permanence of this fleeting night in their girlfriend’s bedroom. In this digital form, the video can exist forever. And, of course, they don’t know they are victims.
And the question about which you really must wonder is this: Which one of these girls is your daughter? Or granddaughter, or niece? Maybe she’s the one who lives in the bedroom. The room you have furnished from carpet to computer but rarely frequent. Maybe yours is the girl who is decent and chaste at home, school, and church but who spends the night with girls you don’t actually know, in homes you know little about. And maybe yours is the fully clothed girl in the back who is stunned and a bit frightened by her friends’ behavior, but who hasn’t a clue about what to do. And who is just as victimized by the experience.
Or maybe your child is the boy on the screen the girls can see but I can’t. Maybe your son is the one exposing himself, masturbating and reaching orgasm in front of these children and encouraging them to do the same in front of him.
And who are these girls? The quality of the furnishings in the bedroom is not a certain indicator, but one would suspect the family who lives in the home is at least middle, if not upper, class. Three or four of the girls probably belong to families who attend church regularly. One of them many have a mother or father involved in church leadership. They all look like the girls next door.
The pornography industry is huge and powerful. Pick any year in the last decade and you’ll probably find that pornography raked in more than the NFL, NBA and MLB.
But we are not discussing pornography here – not in the traditional sense. The teenagers in these videos aren’t actors and actresses. These children are being sexual with their friends in their bedrooms and with strangers through virtual connections. Our children don’t use email because it’s slow, clumsy and outdated, and they don’t watch porn created in Napa Valley.
Our children are making porn themselves.
And it doesn’t just involve the capture of live streams through F2F sites. I’ve seen videos made by teens who recorded themselves masturbating in their bathrooms for their boyfriends. I’ve seen videos made at parties where girls have become so drunk they can no longer protect themselves from being taken advantage of, or care, and are recorded in the sex act. Today’s modern phones take high quality videos that can be uploaded right from the phone to the web. A video of someone’s drunken daughter being raped can be on the web before she can get dressed.
There are over 24 million pornographic websites available on the Internet, with amateur porn now practically a staple option, so says an ABC News blog.1 That statistic is probably far short of the actual total at this writing. Although there are no statistics for this figure, I would suggest the number of videos made by teenagers themselves or involving teens who have been recorded live or through the computer is virtually uncountable.
I know the content of this piece is obscene, shocking and repulsive. However, our teens and pre-teens are engaged in obscene, shocking and repulsive experiences in increasing numbers. And I know that polite people don’t discuss these things. But hey, the parents of the girls in this video are probably polite people. And they’d also probably be shocked, mortified, and deeply crushed to view the video themselves. The only way to even begin to make an impact on our sons’ and daughters’ involvement in virtual sexual experiences is for the adults in their lives to begin this conversation.
I hope you re-read this article and then share it with a friend who is also a parent, or grandparent, aunt, or uncle. We can’t do anything about what our children are doing until we know what they are doing.
And it’s high time we learned.