3 Tips On Helping Students Deal With Porn

If you spend more than five minutes working with students you are going to have a guy or yes even a girl come to you after a service, during a trip to McDonald’s or in the middle of your small group and say that they struggle with looking at porn.  Unfortunately, this is such a pervasive and prevalent issue in our society that you must have a response ready in that moment.  Here are three tips when talking to the student that I have found helpful.

1. Temptation is not a sin
I have found that when a student confesses their problem with pornography, many times the student is beating themselves up.  I agree that this is a very serious issue that can have huge consequences if it is not taken care of quickly and early.  However, there is a big difference with being tempted to look at porn and actually looking at porn.  So I always start off by reminding the student that even Jesus faced temptation.  Unfortunately wherever they go there will always be the temptation of porn and the access to look at it readily available.  Therefore this temptation is a normal part of life, it is what they do with this temptation that is the key.

2. This is a Spiritual Attack
In all of the articles I have read on dealing with porn and all of the conversations I have had with fellow youth workers I have found little said on the spiritual nature of porn.  I think if there is one area that the enemy is trying to destroy students then porn is that area.  So if it is a spiritual attack by the enemy then it needs to be responded to in a spiritual way.  We need to challenge our students to pray and fast over this issue.  But what I find most helpful is reminding them that in those moments of temptation to realize that this is the enemy attacking you and he wants to destroy you so you must fight back.

3. Accountability is a Must
Yes porn is a spiritual attack but there are also practical steps that we need to encourage our students to take such as putting accountability software (xxxchurch.com, covenanteyes.com) on every device they have that can get them on the internet.  The two things that I remind them with accountability software is first that if they want to get around it I am sure they can. So there must be that desire and fight to defeat porn in their life. Secondly there has to be a little fear of their accountability partner.  I had a student accountable to me once and he kept looking at porn and each time we would have the same conversation on how he didn’t want to look at it but did anyways even though he know I would find out.  Finally I told him if he looks at it again I was going to make his mom one of his accountability partners! He stopped looking at porn.

Good luck as you help students battle with porn in their lives.

What are some tips that you use to help students?

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Tyson Howells

Tyson is the associate youth ministry director for Vanguard Youth Ministry Institute. He has been a youth pastor for many years in Winnipeg as well as in Edmonton. Tyson is passionate in seeing relational youth ministry that results in youth that are passionate about following Jesus. He still leads a small group at the youth group in his home church.

9 Comments

  1. Tyson this such a huge problem in our society today. Youth pastors practically expect that their teens have a regular habit of viewing pornography on their phones. Extra discouraging when you see the results of a recent UK study demonstrating that early adolescent boys are regular users… when this begins at an early age the long term effects are very difficult to reverse… http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2432591/Porn-pernicious-threat-facing-children-today-By-ex-lads-mag-editor-MARTIN-DAUBNEY.html

    • Tyson Howellssays:

      I agree Ron, this is a huge issue. The more I interact with students and read the studies I am convinced that this is one of the main issues that Youth Workers need to be addressing.

  2. Jeremy Giffordsays:

    Excellent article Tyson!
    I’ve definitely dealt with a lot of students in this area and this is really helpful in coaching them through this tough temptation. I find that a majority of students are watching porn on mobile devices or iPods as they go to bed with this device close to them. I’ve encouraged them (and the parents) to leave the student’s phone/iPod out of their room after lights out. But you are so right in that we can’t completely eradicate temptation, it will always be there. We need to encourage them to not only have the accountability in place but to also turn to God and seek His help as well as it is a spiritual attack. Great reminder!!

  3. kevin janzensays:

    Love it Tyson. Gettin’ the mom involved.

    • Tyson Howellssays:

      the power of a Mom is a powerful thing. Not sure if that is wise to do every time but it worked in that situation.

  4. Jessica Ayisisays:

    It looks like people are wanting to take action at the political level as well….
    http://www.catholicregister.org/news/canada/item/17262-coalition-forms-to-take-on-destructive-porn-industry

  5. Hunter Gillissays:

    Man, Tyson, great article!
    I also find that a really encouraging thing that helped me on top of spiritual and practical steps is the people I surrounded myself with.
    “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future” is such a common saying at our group because it reminds us that the people we surround ourselves with often sway where our heart goes.
    When I hung out with my friends who LOVED porn and sexual activity, I found the slope of my battle was increasing its incline. But when I surrounded myself with people who wanted to pursue the righteous things we are called to, as well as those who encouraged me that I could overcome my temptation, and that they too had overcome their temptation, I felt so empowered.

    So people and testimony absolutely helped my in my struggle!

    Thanks for sharing guys.

    • Tyson Howellssays:

      Thanks Hunter,

      great advice, you are so true, the people you surround yourself with has a huge impact.

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