A shocking new documentary coming to town shows how the internet has exposed children as young as nine years old to hard core pornography and that children can become addicted to it.
Over 18: The question is not enough tells the story of a 13-year-old boy who describes himself as a “recovered porn addict” having started watching online porn at age nine.
And all while he was on the computer in the kitchen or living room of his home with his family nearby.
Joel Ringma, pastor of the Terrace Christian Reformed Church, said the church is hosting a screening of the film to raise the issue in churches and communities.
“The aim of the event is to educate youth and adults on the realities of pornography and to help parents and other adults to understand the growing epidemic of hard-core pornography usage,” he said, adding that the issue affects the whole community.
“Also, the event, which includes a panel discussion, offers the opportunity to propose solutions for preventing exposure and help for addiction.”
According to the website for the film, over18doc.com, “‘porn’ means very different things to parents and teens today. Parents think of magazines, of Playboy and Penthouse. The average porn film today is graphic and violent toward women, and it’s accessible 24/7 for free on cell phones.”
Ringma believes the problem of young people watching porn online is happening here.
“Absolutely,” he said. “My experience as a pastor and working and volunteering in the community suggests that both inside and outside the church, we tend to line up with national statistics on this issue.”
After the screening of Over 18, a panel discussion will be held with retired social worker Shirley Reimer; abuse prevention and response advocate Faye Martin, youth pastor Anthony Jansen, Northwest Counselling’s Mike Christensen; and Almost There Counselling’s David Almost.
As for an age limit to see the film, filmmakers say 16+ as a general rule but say most boys have seen porn by age 12 and suggest parents ask their children if they have seen porn before and if the answer is yes, then the teen should see the film. There aren’t any explicit images but filmmakers say there are language and terms that some may not be familiar with and may come as a shock to others; it’s the unfortunate reality of what children and youths are being exposed to online.
The free showing is March 11 at the Christian Reformed Church. Doors open at 6:30, screening is at 7-9 p.m.