That Time I Was Offered Porn


porn spam

I’m 39 years old and last week I was offered pornography. No, I don’t spend time in seedy bars or clubs. I sit in car line. We’re in church every Sunday. I avoid sketchy websites. Yet, I found myself being asked via porn spam if I wanted to—how should I say this—let’s do it Mad Libs style: “see an (adjective), (expletive) (body part).”

We can guard our hearts and our eyes, but there is an aggressor behind pornography. I know I’m not the only one to whom this has happened. If what happened to me hasn’t yet happened to you, or worse yet, to your kids, then it’s only a matter of time. Here’s how it went down.

Randomly, on a Wednesday evening, I and 20 other people got a group text from an unknown number. I am on more group texts than any one person should be because of various activities my kids and I are part of, so getting a group text from an unknown number is nothing new. I tapped it open and saw the offer to click the link and see—well, use your imagination.

I’m guessing that had I clicked the link, I wouldn’t actually have seen the referenced body part. It probably would’ve installed something on my phone or at the very least, indicated to the scammers that my number is valid. But I still see three big issues here.

It’s seeking us out.

Gone are the days when accessing pornography meant jumping through hoops like going to the gas station for a magazine or paying for a movie or subscription. Shoot, you don’t even have to search for it online anymore. Thanks to porn spam, it comes at us today like a thief in broad daylight. If you’re trying to fight some temptation or beat an addiction, you know it’s an uphill battle.

It’s hurting marriages.

Getting porn spam doesn’t mean you’ve been surfing porn sites. Simply having an email address or phone number is enough to start getting spam and solicitations of all types. But if you’re already on shaky ground or have issues that you’re working through with your spouse, porn in his inbox or text thread could add doubt where there needs to be complete trust. And if one of you does struggle with a pornography addiction, getting photos via text or even reading a message of a sexual nature might be tempting.

It’s coming at our kids.

According to a study by Shared Hope International, 66 percent of children (average age 11) reported that they viewed pornographic material accidentally while attempting to access age-appropriate programs. Just like we don’t have to seek out porn anymore, neither do our children. I can hear you now: “My child doesn’t have a phone and isn’t allowed to surf the internet without me.” To that I will share this story:

When my friend goes out for a run, she allows her 10-year-old daughter to stay home alone. She leaves her with a phone that has no internet and no data plan. They use an app called Textfree to communicate. A month ago, a text came through the app to my friend’s daughter. It said, “I need a date” and included a link. My friend’s daughter clicked the link, which displayed pornographic images. This wasn’t just a phishing scam. There were actual photos on the other end (avatars, actually). My friend said she officially had the pornography/internet safety talk and felt like her daughter’s innocence had been robbed. Considering the aforementioned statistics, sadly, it was time.

So what do we do?

Have you ever seen a female bear protecting her cubs? She’s alert. She doesn’t let danger get too close. If she does sense something, she rises up to show her size and strength. Ladies, it’s time to get all mama bear on pornography. The porn industry seems to be doubling down on its efforts, so we need to, too. Filter unknown senders in the text settings on your child’s phone and add filtering software to any device connected to the internet. Report the texts to your provider at 7726 (SPAM) and to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint or 1-888-382-1222. But for goodness sake, have a family conversation. Talk to your husband about protecting your marriage. Talk to your kids about what sex and pornography are so that when (not if) they see it, they have your words of love and wisdom in their ears.

Pornography is aggressive. Swat at it with your mama bear claw. Fight for your children and your marriage.

What do you think about having a family conversation about pornography?

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