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Abby Moore

The day my kid found hardcore porn on his iPhone

Abby Moore
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I never thought it would happen to me.  I’m technologically savvy, hyper-vigilant about parental controls, and frequently check the search and browser histories of my kids’ electronic devices.  As a writer for LSN, I’m more aware than most people of the filth that’s out there and the harmful effects it can have on a developing brain (not to mention a developing soul).  So that’s why I was surprised and heartbroken the day I discovered my ten-year-old son had been watching hardcore pornography on his iPhone.

It was the first day of final exams.  At the bus stop that morning, my son suddenly tossed me his phone. “Hey, I forgot, I can’t have this at school during testing week,” he said.  “Can you go put it on the charger for me?” 

As I caught the device, I realized that it had been a couple of weeks since I had checked his searches.  With a busy senior in the house cramming for her AP exams and getting ready for prom, a fourth-grader frantically trying to bring up his Geography score after a failed state capitals test, and a kindergartener whose math homework consists of the sort of activities that eat up an hour of your night (Make a cutout of your foot.  Use it to measure every room in your house in “feet.” No, I did not make that up), it had simply slipped my mind. 

And I really felt I had no reason to worry – previous spot checks of his search history had turned up things like “what is the worst tasting drink in the world,” “why are farts so awesome,” and “giant ship from star trek into darkness.”  This is a boy who blushes at the mere mention of the girl he likes, and who I was pretty sure was in danger of fainting the first time she grabbed his hand to hold.  So, what I was expecting to find in his search history was a peek into the mind of an innocent and slightly geeky ten-year-old boy with an affinity for fart jokes.

What I found was a lot darker than that.  As soon as I brought up the history, my stomach sank.  The search terms told the story in stark, broken phrases – most of which I can’t even print here because they’re too explicit.   

“I don’t know what I was thinking,” he said, between gasping sobs.  “I wish I had never seen any of those things.  I can’t get them out of my head.  I want them out of my head.  I don’t know what to do.”

It all started innocently enough – he apparently searched for an “underwear mod for Minecraft,” presumably because he thought it would be hilarious to see Steve walking around in his underpants.  That seemingly innocuous search obviously brought up tangentially related results he wasn’t prepared to see, and his search terms quickly shifted in a more disturbing direction.  “Naked people.”  “Naked boys.”  “Naked men.”  “What is gay?”  The browser history was even worse – search terms like that naturally led him straight to the bowels of the internet – including a porn video that traumatized me just by reading the title.  I didn’t have the heart to watch it, but knowing my little boy probably had – I was shattered.

My heart broke for him as I realized what must have been going on in his innocent young mind.  It all started with a relatively innocent search, and his curiosity took him from there.  Unfortunately it took him to places he never wanted to go, and he was left wondering about his own sexuality just because he’d stumbled across some naked pictures on the internet.

When he got home, I sat him down and confronted him, gently, about what I’d found.  He instantly broke down in tears, heaving sobs of the kind I hadn’t seen him cry since he was small enough to climb up onto my lap for comfort.  At five feet-plus and 75 pounds, lap-sitting wasn’t an option, so I just gathered him into my arms and held him until he was calm enough to speak.  What he told me broke my heart all over again.

“I don’t know what I was thinking,” he said, between gasping sobs.  “I wish I had never seen any of those things.  I can’t get them out of my head.  I want them out of my head.  I don’t know what to do.”

We talked for a long time.  I told him that what he had seen wasn’t normal, wasn’t real sexuality.  I explained, for the first time, in explicit but appropriate terms, exactly what sex is and what it is for, and that it’s something God wants us to save for marriage so that all the babies who come from sex will have moms and dads to love them and raise them.  I asked him if he thought he was gay.  He said he didn’t know.  I pointed out that all his crushes have been on girls, and that seemed to reassure him.  I told him it was normal to be curious about people’s bodies and about sex, but that if he ever has questions, he needs to ask me or his dad, not Siri or Google. 

He begged me not to tell his father – he was so sure he would be angry.  I promised him he wouldn’t be.  (My husband has had his own struggles with pornography in the past, and I knew he, of all people, would be sympathetic while also being able to convey just how damaging porn can be.  Later that evening, they went for a walk and had their own long talk.  It seemed to help.) 

I told him that he was absolutely not in trouble, but that I would be taking his phone away until I could figure out how to protect him from ever seeing those things again.

It turns out that in iOS7, you can block explicit searches, so I upgraded his software from iOS6 and activated the stricter parental controls.  (He has an iPhone 4S and hadn’t previously wanted to upgrade out of concerns about possible performance issues.  That hasn’t been a problem, FYI. iOS7 runs fine on the older device.)  I also installed a new browser on the phone that sends me daily reports of every site he’s visited, and double checked that his laptop computer’s safety controls were similarly up to snuff.  (The laptop, surprisingly, has not been a problem – it turns out it’s much easier to control what he can access there than it is on a phone.) 

Finally, I told my son that for at least a little while, I’d require him to be in the physical presence of a parent in order to use any internet-connected device, just so we can keep an eye on him and make sure he’s safe.  To my surprise, he was absolutely fine with that – he seemed comforted, even.

The last thing I did was hand him a copy of The Boy’s Body Book.  I explained that his body and feelings are about to start changing in big ways, and that the book would help him know what to expect.  I told him we could read it together, or he could read it on his own, but that I would always be available to answer any question he has about sex or his feelings, and I will always tell him the truth, and he’ll never be in trouble for asking.

It’s been a little over two months now, and all is well.  He’s gradually earned access back to his devices, although, I still require him to be in a public area while using them.  I doubt he’ll go looking again for naked people for a long, long time. 

That doesn’t mean I won’t keep constant vigilance, though.  I’ve learned my lesson. 

For a good introduction to keeping kids safe online, check out “How to Childproof the Internet” at PCWorld.

Note: Abby Moore is a pseudonym for a LifeSiteNews writer who wishes to protect her family's anonymity.

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Drew Belsky

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2016 candidates react to the Supreme Court’s marriage decision

Drew Belsky
By Drew Belsky

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Five days after the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 decision mandating the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples, most of the 2016 presidential candidates have made their opinions on the issue known.

While all of the Democrats currently in the race aggressively supported the ruling, the Republicans' reactions to the Supreme Court's marriage ruling have been more varied.

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, who is expected to announce his candidacy soon, criticized the Obergefell decision, calling it "a grave mistake." Walker suggested that "the only alternative" to Friday's decision is "to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage."

Texas senator Ted Cruz has doubled down on Walker's call for a constitutional amendment. Not only is Cruz seeking an amendment to protect states' right to define marriage, but he also hopes to amend the Constitution to demand "periodic judicial retention elections" for Supreme Court justices – namely, Cruz said, for those who "overstep their bounds [and] violate the Constitution."

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush shied away from a constitutional marriage amendment. "Guided by my faith," Bush said in a statement, "I believe in traditional marriage." However, "in a country as diverse as ours, good people who have opposing views should be able to live side by side. It is now crucial that as a country we protect religious freedom and the right of conscience and also not discriminate."

Florida senator Marco Rubio agreed with Bush, exhorting Republicans to "look ahead" and concentrate on the nomination process for new judges. Likewise with Ohio governor John Kasich, who said on Face the Nation that "it's time to move on" and "take a deep breath."

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina concurred. While "I do not agree that the Court can or should redefine marriage," Fiorina said, "[m]oving forward...all of our effort should be focused on protecting the religious liberties and freedom of conscience."

South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham forthrightly condemned a constitutional marriage amendment as "a divisive effort that would be doomed to fail." Graham told NBC News, "I would not engage in the Constitutional amendment process as a party going into 2016. Accept the Court's ruling. Fight for the religious liberties of every American."

Libertarian-leaning Kentucky Senator Rand Paul wrote in Time Magazine that the federal government should remove itself completely from the marriage issue. "Our founding fathers went to the local courthouse to be married, not Washington, D.C.," Paul wrote.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal "strongly disagree[s]" with the Obergefell ruling, but he admitted on Sunday that his state would ultimately comply with the Supreme Court's decision. "We do not have a choice."

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie went one step farther. While he "agree[s] with Chief Justice John Roberts" that "this is something that should be decided by the people, and not ... five lawyers," the governor admitted that "those five lawyers get to impose it under our system, and so our job is going to be to support the law of the land[.]"

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum foresees a widespread silencing of those who dissent from the Supreme Court's interpretation of marriage. "There's no slippery slope here," Santorum told the Family Research Council Friday; "religious liberty is under assault today – not going to be, it is – and it's going to be even more so ... with this decision."

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee expressed similar sentiments, excoriating the Supreme Court for flouting millions of Americans who voted to affirm "the laws of nature." Huckabee said on Friday, "I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat."

On the other end of the spectrum, former Democratic Maryland governor and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley contended that it is homosexuals, not religious objectors to the Obergefell decision, who need more protections from the state.

Calling the ruling a "major step forward," O'Malley proceeded to demand passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that criminalizes "discrimination" based on an "individual's actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity." Opponents worry it would force religious employers to hire homosexuals and transgender people.

Passing ENDA, O'Malley said, would help "more fully realize the vision of an open, respectful, and inclusive nation that Friday's decision aspires us [sic] to be."

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Drew Belsky

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Obama Department of Justice to Virginia school: Let girl use boys’ bathrooms

Drew Belsky
By Drew Belsky

July 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - The Obama administration's Department of Justice (DoJ) filed a "statement of interest" Monday in support of a Virginia high school sophomore who is seeking to use bathrooms designated for members of the opposite sex.

In June 2015, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit against the Gloucester County School Board on behalf of 15-year-old Gavin Grimm, who is biologically female but wants to use male bathrooms and locker rooms.

Grimm claimed that she had used such facilities without incident for seven weeks until December 2014, when the school board enacted a policy requiring "transgender" students to use private restrooms.

Grimm testified in early 2015 that "[n]ow that the board has passed this policy, school no longer feels as safe and welcoming as it did before[.] ... Being singled out is a glaring reminder of my differences and causes me significant discomfort every time I have to use the restroom."

The Obama administration declared in May 2014 that sex discrimination under Title IX applies to those who identify as "transgender."  The Department of Education followed up last December by ordering federally funded schools to classify students based on "gender identity" rather than biological sex.

Regardless, Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Jeremy Tedesco told LifeSiteNews in June of this year that Grimm's and the ACLU's discrimination claims would not hold water.  Citing a district court case in Pennsylvania, Tedesco noted (emphasis in original) that "[t]he Court ... highlighted that Title IX's implementing regulations state that schools do not violate Title IX when they 'provide separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of sex.'"

Title IX, part of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972, is a statute that "prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity."

"Every court to consider this issue has held that single-sex restrooms and locker room facilities are permitted under Title IX," Tedesco concluded.

Now, according to the DoJ's "statement of interest" in support of Grimm, filed this week, "[t]he United States has a significant interest in ensuring that all students, including transgender students, have the opportunity to learn in an environment free of sex discrimination and that the proper legal standards are applied to claims under Title IX" (p. 2, all citations omitted).  Per the DoJ, Grimm "is likely to succeed on the merits" of her Title IX claim, and "it is in the public interest to allow [Grimm] ... to use the male restrooms at Gloucester High School."

Regarding the Pennsylvania case mentioned by Tedesco, the DoJ claims that "[t]he district court's reasoning in that case was faulty and should not be followed."

One Gloucester County School Board member who voted against the December bathroom policy fretted that "federal dollars are at stake." Her concern was well-founded: five months later, the Obama administration threatened to deny Virginia's Fairfax County School Board $42 million in federal funding if the board refused to change its own bathroom protocols.  The Fairfax board ruled in May – over the strenuous objections of parents in attendance – that "transgender" students could use facilities in accordance with their "gender identity."

"Although certain parents and community members may object to students sharing a common use restroom with transgender students," the DoJ declared in its brief for Grimm, "any recognition of this discomfort as a basis for discriminating would undermine the public interest."

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Lisa Bourne

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Girl Scouts returns $100,000 donation over transgender stipulation

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

July 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - An unusual request from a major donor to a regional branch of the U.S. Girl Scouts has drawn attention to the organization’s ongoing support for gender ideology and transgender issues. 

Girl Scouts of Western Washington CEO Megan Ferland revealed last week that the council had recently received a donation for $100,000. However, after the Girl Scouts’ practice of allowing boys who identify as girls to join the Scouts hit the news during the media’s coverage of the Bruce Jenner case, Ferland says she received a note from the donor putting a condition on the donation.

“Please guarantee that our gift will not be used to support transgender girls,” the donor reportedly asked. “If you can’t, please return the money.”

In the end, Ferland said she chose to give the $100,000 - what could have comprised nearly a fourth of the council’s annual fundraising goal - back to the donor.

“Girl Scouts is for every girl,” Ferland stated in a report from SeattleMet.com. “And every girl should have the opportunity to be a Girl Scout if she wants to.”

In the meantime, the council used the publicity over the refused donation to launch a social fundraising campaign on IndieGoGo, a social fundraising site. The #ForEVERYGirl has far exceeded its goal, raising over $300,000 for the group in just three days.

"Our vision at Girl Scouts of Western Washington is that EVERY girl in our region—regardless of her race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity or geographic location—is empowered to unleash her potential, build her future and transform her world," states the campaign.

This is not the first time that Ferland has been involved in a controversy over the Scouts’ support for transgenderism.

When a boy self-identifying as a girl attempted to join a Colorado Girl Scout troop in 2011 and was initially refused by the leader because of his male gender, Ferland, then head of the Colorado council, issued a statement welcoming boys identifying as girls, and saying efforts were in progress to find the boy a troop. The council also renounced the troop leader’s actions in refusing the boy access.

“Every girl that is a Girl Scout is a Girl Scout because her parent or guardian brings her to us and says, ‘I want my child to participate,’” Ferland stated at the time. “And I don’t question whether or not they’re a girl.” 

Western Washington Girl Scouts current program brochures show that gender ideology is woven right into the council’s programming for girls, with promotion found right in the council’s workshops:

SafeZone for Girl Scouts Sat, May 23, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tacoma Learn how you can become an ally and advocate for your Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) peers. Includes activities and discussion around: inclusive language, the process of coming out, the power of the straight ally, how to respond to homophobic/trans-phobic incidents, where to go for help and much more. Bring lunch.

Girl Scouts and radical feminism

For years, pro-family leaders have raised alarms about partnerships and programs that indicate that the Girl Scouts have moved toward embracing a radical feminist identity.

As far back as 2004 a U.S Catholic Bishop intervened when a Girl Scout-Planned Parenthood partnership threatened young girls. 

Then-Austin Bishop Gregory Aymond warned local Catholics not to sign their children up for Planned Parenthood’s “Nobody’s Fool,” a sex-ed campaign designed for pre-pubescent children which had been integrated into the local Girl Scouts.

A survey, also from 2004, found that many Girl Scouts councils were partnering with Planned Parenthoood in some fashion. 

In 2010 the Girl Scouts were found to be pushing a radical agenda on its young members with Planned Parenthood given access to distribute an explicit ‘sex guide’ at a closed-door, no-adults-welcome meeting at the UN sponsored by the Girl Scouts.

Lincoln, Nebraska Bishop James Conley warned in 2011 as auxiliary bishop of Denver that involvement in the Girl Scouts could serve to make girls more open to the pro-abortion agenda.

Roughly 90 Girl Scouts of Northern California members and their families marched in San Francisco’s 2013 Gay Pride Parade. 

"The San Francisco Girl Scouts participate in many parades that celebrate the diversity of San Francisco," Girl Scouts of Northern California Communications Manager Dana Allen told LifeSiteNews at the time. "Girl Scouts is inclusive and reflects the communities we serve."

A sexuality-based Girl Scout troop was started earlier this year in Utah aimed at gay and lesbian families and boys who consider themselves “transgender.” It meets at the Utah Pride Center.

"As long as a youth identifies as a girl or with girls, even if they are genderfluid on the day that they registered, then they can become a Girl Scout," Shari Solomon-Klebba, the Utah Girl Scout outreach coordinator, and an open lesbian who started the troop, told a local news station at the time.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) urged caution last year in engaging with the Girl Scouts after conducting a two-year examination of the scouts. That study identified concerns about several Girl Scouts USA policies, affiliations and structural weaknesses.

Girl Scout alternatives

The representatives of two organizations for girls frequently considered a Christ-centered alternative to the Girls Scouts told LifeSiteNews this latest incident with the Western Washington Scouts underscores the need for other options for families and their children.

“There has been a huge cultural shift in redefining life-long truths that have many families carefully considering their youth program options. American Heritage Girls has often been regarded as a Christian-based alternative to the Girl Scouts,” American Heritage Girls National Communications Specialist Jennifer Troutman said.

American Heritage Girls marked its 20th anniversary this past week. There are more than 40,000 members within the organization.

“Now more than ever American Heritage Girls recognizes the importance of bringing Christ-centered, character development programming to girls across the nation.”  

The head of Little Flowers Girls’ Club concurred.

“I feel very blessed that we can offer an authentically Catholic alternative to Girl Scouts,” Joan Stromberg told LifeSiteNews.

Little Flowers started over 20 years ago, not as a reaction against what Girl Scouts were doing, or where they are now, Stromberg said, but as a way to help moms and girls bond together to learn about the world through a Catholic lens.

“It is sad that Girl Scouts policies and positions have put them in direct conflict with Church teachings,” Stromberg continued. “I am just pleased that girls and moms have alternative places like Little Flowers where they can go.”

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