Hosted by Jodi Hildebrandt.
Jodi is interviewed (again) by Kate Dalley. This time, they discuss the role of parents in protecting children from the tidal wave of technology-induced disconnection that is sweeping our nation and our world. The show includes practical parenting strategies as well as a call for all of us to become more emotionally connected, more validating, more empathic.
Episode 91: Connection, Technology & Pornography (With Kate Dalley)
Welcome to ConneXions Classroom Podcast. We are so excited to introduce to you the opportunity for you to join us in a classroom setting where you will be taught the principles of connection. For those of you who have already joined us on the podcasts, and for those for you who have not, you are now ready to step into an extensive, hands-on, all-star classroom experience to better understand why you are experiencing and interpreting life the way that you do.
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This is a 12-week intensive course that consists of meeting one time a week for two hours. You will be given six workbooks. In each workbook, instruction will be given to you on core concepts of how to live your life from a position of emotional honesty, Reality, Truth, boundaries, validation, being able to recognize your distortions, and how choice plays a central role in all of your experiences and emotional outcomes.
Some of the concepts covered inside of the classroom include: what validation and vulnerability are and how to animate those principles your life; how to live in Truth rather than distortion; how to recognize your distraction and your controlling behavior in your relationships; and how to live a life of peace rather than pain. Powerful concepts that change lives, beginning with yours.
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This is the Kate Show with Kate Dalley only on the Blaze Radio Network on Demand.
Kate: When I come back into the next segment, I’m going to be interviewing Jodi Hildebrandt. Jodi Hildebrandt is a therapist and she does some work on what we’re doing with our children. What we’re doing to ourselves right now is causing so many problems in the name of distractions, in the name of causing us not to connect with each other. It’s causing addictions, it’s causing problems that we don’t even realize right now the impact of what we’re doing and how we’re doing is it affecting all of us on inter-personal relationships and feeling joy, and love, and connection.
This is a bigger deal than you think and the reason I wanted to bring her on the show was because I’ve done shows where I’ve talked about what we’re doing different as parents now. I remember growing up and you had the long phone cord in the kitchen and so you didn’t stay on the phone long unless you locked yourself in a closet or a bathroom with the cord underneath the door; you didn’t talk long because you were in front of your family. You spent more time talking with your family and being with your family.
We are raising kids now in isolated environments in front of screens. And it’s really, really frightening because of what is coming from that. And what she’s going to talk about is how this has impacted what she does for a living and how big this is getting. She sees a runaway horse, she sees this thing getting so large that we are so preoccupied right now with everything else going on, we’re not understanding what we’re doing.
As we try and parent our kids and we’re with our grandkids, we’re not seeing the danger of how we’re doing business, of how we’re developing our families. We’re not seeing the little things and she’s going to go through a series of the things that we’re doing right now to cause depression, anxiety, and all of these things in our kids.
I’m going to guess that you’re doing a lot of these things because I know I am too. After I interviewed her, I went upstairs and apologized to my family for being on my phone so much, for doing some of the things I was doing without realizing, because I didn’t realize until I talked to Jodi the impact it was having on the kids and how they were perceiving this.
You’ve got to listen to the next few segments of the show. I can’t stress this enough. This is big. This is going to affect us more than you think it is, and it’s affecting us more right now in our lives and we’re trying to address the problems—the symptoms that are coming out of this—we’re trying to address it with meds and all of these things. But we’ve just got to nip it in the bud. There’s just no excuse anymore. We see a world that’s changing right now. Technology is not sometimes a beautiful thing for us, and we have to learn to put it into perspective.
You’re going to love this. She’s going to explain exactly how these kids are taking this and dealing with, because she’s dealing with it on a daily basis. You’ve just got to listen to this and you’ve got to share this. This word need to get out, that this is happening in all of our homes right now.
It’s big. Big enough that I wanted to dedicate a large portion of the show today on this subject because it really made me think about all the things I’m not doing right with my family. And that was a big wake up call.
When we come back, I’ll have Jodi Hildebrandt, and you need to listen to this. That’s all I can say. You need to listen to this.
I’ll be right back. This is the Kate Show on the Blaze Radio Network.
Hi and welcome to the Kate Show on the Blaze Radio Network. So glad you’re joining me today. I have a special guest I want to introduce you to because I thought this topic was so relevant, so amazing, and so scary for our time.
This is a personal topic, this is something that hits all of us and it hits home, and that we all need to be. I’ve been feeling like this has been going on for a while now and I think all of us are sensing it. And that is our connections with each other and our connections to our children. And how we connect in this world. And what is going on, what’s taking us away from that? And what will that do to us in the future?
My guest is Jodi Hildebrandt from www.ConneXionsClassroom.com. You might want to give that website a visit, www.ConneXionsClassroom.com. Welcome Jodi.
Jodi: Thank you.
Kate: I’m really glad to have you because this has been weighing on my mind and let me tell you why. A couple of things triggered me starting to think about this. I went to Disney Land and everybody in line, and I’m not joking you, every single person, was on their phone. Not one person was talking. And I was in line at Space Mountain, my favorite ride. Space Mountain always has a very long windy line. There must have been hundreds of people in this line, and nobody was talking.
I sat there and I thought we are going to have such an epidemic on our hands in the coming years. I don’t even know what to think if the kids don’t know how to relate. Tell me what your thoughts on this subject are because this is something that’s like an undercurrent that’s coming—and it’s here now, we’re going to talk about that too. But I think it’s going to totally overwhelm us to the point where we didn’t see it coming and we didn’t know that this was on its way. Tell me your thoughts.
Jodi: Well, I’m really glad that you’ve invited me and when I hear that you had that kind of experience and it was shocking and surprising to you, itfrightens me as well. As I work in my field, I work with parents, and teachers, and mentors, and a lot of kids. We are really struggling to learn and how to teach people to connect. It seems like such a natural thing to be able to do. However, the reason why so many of us are disconnecting is because we are really struggling to be willing to accept, and act, and be, vulnerable.
Vulnerability is a very natural thing for us as children to be. In fact, I just got done teaching a class tonight and of the students said, “My son who is two, he comes up and taps my face and he says, ‘Oh, Dad, I love you.’” And he just squeezes him and just hugs him. And he’s like, “I feel so connected to my two-year-old. He’s the best validator that I’ve ever experienced.”
And that’s because at two years old, he is able to feel his vulnerability and he’s not ashamed of it. He hasn’t learned that his vulnerability is weak. That’s a word that we use a lot, Kate. Vulnerability is weak, vulnerability should be embarrassing, vulnerability is risky, I’m going to get hurt. But at two, he doesn’t have those experiences in what I call distortion.
And he will grow up in a world—because the world is full of distortion and messages that say vulnerability are those things that are bad. However, vulnerability is actually our greatest potential for strength and connection, is being able to stay inside that vulnerability. And kids are not being taught that. They’re not having that model to them because the adults around them are disconnected.
When I’m disconnected, I am not able to experience and connect inside that sense that says my feelings are important, my vulnerabilities—like my weaknesses, my things that I’m embarrassed about, my things that I would call failures that are actually not failures, they’re just things that I’m using to learn from. Like if I trip down the steps, I don’t need to be humiliated, I can say wow, that’s me being human. I’m all vulnerability. Me getting sick, all those kinds of things.
And so, when we disconnect from that, we disconnect from our very humanness, that humanness that allows us to say I can see you, I can understand you as another human being.
Kate: I love this because I’ve seen it in my own kids. It’s this attraction to our distractions. And these distractions are keeping us in this sort of isolated world, like on our cellphones. We spend about 21 hours a week nationally on Facebook and that is just, you’re not connecting with anybody. You think you’re connecting with people because you’re on Facebook, but you’re not really having an inter-personal relationship.
So, I’m noticing this whole generation, this whole crop of kids that weren’t raised the way I was raised, where we didn’t even have cell phones, we didn’t have anything remotely like that. You had to have the awkward conversation over the phone. You had to ask somebody out on a date.
And so, we’re venturing into raising an entire generation that’s a little more isolated and a little bit more afraid to connect. They have more fear about it, more anxiety. We’re seeing anxiety going the roof. You’re a therapist, Jodi, tell me—I would be shocked to think there wasn’t a huge epidemic in anxiety right now.
Jodi: Right. Well, there is huge a movement of people who are becoming addicted. And addiction always has the component of anxiety and depression with it. I believe, as I work with different people, that the reason why there’s so many more people becoming addicted is because addiction is an outcome of disconnect. It’s an outcome—it’s a fruit. It’s like, if I stay disconnected, I will then eventually have to move towards addiction, because disconnect is so painful, Kate. So painful.
When I’m disconnected, I am denying my own feelings, and I deny the emotions and feelings, and connection of other people. So, I am a social being; I need you in my life, I need friends in my life, I need family in my life, people who can say I understand you, good job, I’m sorry it was difficult, too bad you didn’t get the job, I know you studied really hard and that’s disappointing. We need people who can validate us and really celebrate this human experience called life in all of its struggles, and joys, and triumphs.
But if I’m disconnected, then I don’t know how to relate to you. I don’t know how to look at you and say, “I’m sorry that your boyfriend just broke up with you, I’m so sorry that you had a miscarriage, I can’t even imagine what that would feel like, tell me about that. How are you feeling? How are you coping with that?” That is connection, to be able to talk about your emotions and share it with another person and invite them to get vulnerable and share their emotions. When I’m disconnected, I have no clue how to do that.
And so, in that space, that prolonged state of disconnect, I become increasingly more numb. And because I’m a human being, I need connection but I am starving myself from connection. And so, the way that I start feeling something is I go to some kind of vice, I go to alcohol, I go to sex, I go to Facebook, I go to some kind of drug because at least with that entity, that vice, that behavior, that chemical, I can feel something. I can feel something. I can feel like, relief. When I go to work, and I stay disconnected all day long through work. All of these experiences are still happening to me—I’m getting feedback from the boss, or I’m getting feedback from an employers, or I found out that the report wasn’t done right and so I’m having all of these experiences that are connected with emotions. But I don’t know how to feel emotion because I’m disconnected, but I’m still experiencing it.
And so, I go towards a vice in a very addicted way to “manage” the intense discomfort that I’m feeling now, because I have emotion coming, saying, “experience this,” but I don’t know how because I’m disconnected. Incredibly painful.
Kate: Yeah, I can see a very big epidemic on our hands without us realizing what’s happening until it happens too late. We’re going to come right back and speak more with Jodi Hildebrandt. The website is www.ConneXionsClassroom.com. She’s doing some amazing work online with people clamoring to get into her classes so that she can help them connect again and teach them all of these things.
When we come back, we’re going to talk about what parents can do with their kids—grandparents, too. Because this affects all of us. this is about relationships and these are the most important things in our life and I wanted to talk about this with Jodi because I see this coming, Jodi’s working with it right now and we’re going to see an even bigger wave coming because of what our children are dealing with right now, in this whole new technology environment and everything else they’re dealing with.
We’ll be right back with Jodi. This is the Kate Show on the Blaze Radio Network.
Hi, welcome back to the Kate Show. I’m so glad that you’re listening in today. This is important because this is important for our future. I am with Jodi Hildebrandt. Jodi, what kind of people come to you and for what reason are they experiencing? By the time they get to you, what’s going on? And what kind of person walks through that door so to speak?
Jodi: Sure. Typically, the identified person, the identified patient is the one who feels the most pain out of the dynamic. So, it could be a husband and wife, it could be a family dynamic with a child and parents. And so, they are bringing their loved one to therapy. That’s typically the people who come into my office. And here’s what’s truly interesting, Kate, is that by the time I have met with them over a handful of sessions, every single person who is willing to participate in the “treatment” of that individual starts realizing that all of them have been living in this lifestyle of disconnect. It is absolutely fascinating.
I just had an experience just this evening where a gentleman came and he said, “I’m only here for my wife. She’s the one that needs help. I’m here to support her.” And he said, “After our third session, I realized it’s me. I’m disconnected, too.”
It was thrilling for him to be so humble and open and vulnerable. We’ve been talking about that word vulnerable. Vulnerability encompasses humility. Vulnerability encompasses the willingness to be emotionally honest and take responsibility for yourself.
So, here’s this middle-aged man who’s saying I thought this was about my wife, I was coming to be a “good husband,” and found out that I was a part of why she was having the pain she was, because I did not connect to her.
Jodi: Really powerful.
Kate: Because we don’t see it and maybe that’s part of being numb, we don’t see how disconnected we are. I’ve waved off my kids more than a few times when I’m on the internet, or on my phone, or I’m doing something, and boy, have I felt guilty for it later because it happens more now. I don’t think this happened as much. Growing up in the 60s, 70s, 80s, we didn’t have this big of an amount of distractions or things vying for our time or keeping us isolated, kind of keeping us inside these boxes, right?
Jodi: Right. That’s exactly right. And because we didn’t have these kinds of distractions, we were in a way more heavily encouragedto interact with each other.
Kate: You had to.
Jodi: Exactly. I can happily the family trips in the car or going on vacation and you were all in the same room. And there weren’t these electronics and TVs, and the electrical gadgets that you can hold in your hand, to walk off and be by yourself.
Kate: You know what it is? I think it’s kind of like us trying to be the cool parent. Because I remember the first the time we setup a video console in the car, right? It was kind of rigged. It was a small TV but we were able to do it in the car. And I remember thinking, we’re kind of like the cool parent, we’ve got the cool technology, something new, instead of thinking what will that do to my family if we don’t talk all the way to California? We have something to occupy them and that’s cool. That’s what we sort of traded it for, was new technology but at the expense of what? We never asked that question.
Jodi: Exactly. That’s exactly right. And you know what? In the spirit of being validating to you as a parent, most of us don’t even know what connection is or what disconnection is. We wouldn’t even know the question to even ask ourselves.
Kate: Okay, that’s scary.
Jodi: We do not understand the power of vulnerability and the power of connection. The only way to connect with another person is to be able to sit there in their emotion, in their real-life experience and say, “What does it feel like when your brother keeps poking you as I’m driving along in the car?” “What does it feel like when your sister continues to brush your hair when you don’t want her to do that?” Tell her how that feels.
We have gotten away from that because all we have to do is distract ourselves with a myriad of things—not just technology but food, entertainment, and all sorts of media, and different relationships that are not really relationships because they’re on the internet, it’s more of someone has a name and they’re typing to you. But you really don’t have this intimate, vulnerable connection with them. All you know is that they’re saying certain things via typing or they’re talking to you through Skype.
I have a young woman who has met a guy on the internet. She’s been “dating” him for three months and she’s finally going to meet him. And I said to her, “Now, remember, this is a fantasy.” And she said, “No, Jodi, this is real. I really like him.” I’m like, “No, honey, he’s not real. This is a man that you have not even seen. He’s only been typing words on a screen to you. You do not know who this is.”
And she really pushed back at that because she had already created this fantasy, this illusion, this distraction for herself, of who this man is. And she was insistent on going and meeting him ,and it scared me to death. It was a young 20-year-old girl and this is the power of illusion and distraction. And the evidence that we are lacking vulnerability.
Here I was real with her. I’m sitting with her and I’ve known her for a couple of years and she was not hearing me. She was only listening to the fantasy that is in her head, about who she thinks this man is.
Kate: Oh, that’s scary.
Jodi: Really dangerous, Kate. Very dangerous.
Kate: You know what’s scary about that? Is to think about all the online dating going on because people are using that that instead. Instead of going out and trying to meet people, they’re just going it online, so think about the millions of people that are doing this in this way. That’s really scary. Oh, my gosh.
Jodi: It’s a way for them not to be vulnerable. And they don’t even know that that’s what they’re avoiding, because they don’t know how to do it. When we’re disconnected, we don’t know that that’s what I’m not able to do, is connect and be vulnerable.
So, again, as I teach my class, I have students who, I’ll ask them, listen, “On the second week of class, you’re going to be asked to call these ladies. So, the women are going to call the women and the men are going to call the men.” There are men and women as they sit in the class with safe people—I mean, these people are in the same community—and they will not call them and talk to them about what their triggers are for the week, or what they think class is like. It’s like “No, I don’t want to do that.” I’m like, “Why is that? Why are you scared?” “Well, I’m going to look stupid.”
And it’s like, “The Truth is, is that you don’t know how to be vulnerable. You don’t know how to call up and say, I don’t know how to relate to you. I don’t know how to do it.” These are grown people. And it’s us as grownups who are raising these babies to grow up disconnected.
Kate: I was just thinking about how many conversations I’ve had with my kids with my phone in my hand. Just even in my hand, as if I can’t release it just to sit and talk as long as they need to talk about something. And how many times I wish I wouldn’t have done that. Just even that visual, where your kid is looking at you but you’ve got your phone in your hand as if that thing is more important and you’re just waiting for him to finish, so you can just go be on your phone, or whatever it is. Wow.
Jodi: Right. And a child does not know how to say, hey, I’m here, can you pay attention to me? Please acknowledge me. Like, I’m in Reality sitting here. They don’t know how to say that. They don’t know how to say “Hey, mom, you’re disconnecting. I’m sitting in front of you, you’re disconnecting.” They don’t know how to do that, they don’t even know what that means.
And so, they either act out, or they go silent, or they just isolate themselves, so they start disconnecting because what children need, and all of us need, but children specifically need to bond and connect to their care providers by them validating their vulnerability. Constantly validating them. I’ve watched women nurse their children as they’re looking at their phone and I want to go up to them so badly and say, “Do you have any idea what you’re doing to that child right now?” And they probably would say, “They’re eating, it’s not any big deal.” No, you need to be cooing at them, looking at them, stroking their hair, and making a fuss over them. That’s what they need, they need your touch, and your voice, and your attention. It is a disastrous outcome that we are having and we will have in years to come if we do not understand this need for connection.
Kate: We’ll be right back. More with Jodi Hildebrandt when we come back. This topic is huge. Bigger than people think it is. Stay with us. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, join me on my Facebook page at The Kate Show. I’ll be right back.
Kate: Welcome back to the Kate Show. Thanks for sticking with us. I’m thinking about all the incidences in my life, Jodi, just recently, where these types of things are happening right now in real time where I’m realizing some of the mistakes I’ve been making as far as parenting and even grandparenting where my distractions— I think we tend to think that as multi-taskers, we can do so many things at once, and we really can’t. And if I had nickel for every time my kids said, “Mom, mom, mom, did you hear me, did you hear me?” I’m embarrassed to say it. I’m really embarrassed to say it, but that’s why we’re doing this show. It’s a big wake up call for people.
Tell us some more of these dangers that people might be doing and not realizing it. Because like we said, we’re numb to the numb. So, what could we be doing right now? You were talking about nursing a baby and not being there present. What else are we doing now? What kinds of mistakes are we making? Little things that you could point out that we could go, “Oh my gosh, I’m doing that.”
Jodi: Sure. A big one is again, any kind of screen. So, when I’m talking to kids and parents, I’ll talk about screen time. So whether I’m on TV, or I’m on my phone, or I’m on some kind of console. When children or even other human beings, but especially a child because those are the years that they need to bond, and develop, and connect tightly in order to become emotionally responsible, and vulnerable, and validating adults. When children come to you, it’s not that you need to give them your undivided attention every single moment, but if you have a pattern of staying attached to that screen and saying, “What?” but you keep your focus on the screen, and you’re hearing them but you’re not willing to turn and give them your attention, you are sending a very loud message to them. And this message is received by any child, is that that screen that you’re looking at is more important than I am. Every child hears that message loud and clear. Though no parent is intending to send the message, that’s how they feel about what you’re looking at versus them. That is a huge, huge indicator of I don’t matter, I don’t matter to you. I’m not important. This screen is more important to you than I am.
Kate: Is this why we’re getting depression, and anxiety, and all of these crazy high levels of these things?
Jodi: I would say yes. There are different kinds of depression, there can be seasonal depression, but the depression that I see most is connected to this sadness, this grief, this feeling of loss, this feeling of I’m not enough. I’ve talked to you before about the feeling of shame—that I don’t matter. Shame says I’m inadequate, I’m not enough, my needs don’t matter, this is more important than I am. That’s what shame says and shame is a lie. But we believe.
And so, when you have a child come to you and says, “Can I talk to you?” And you say, “Yeah, go ahead.” And you’re looking forward at the screen, but you don’t pay attention to them, then that distortion of shame comes in and says it’s because you don’t matter to them, you’re not important, that thing’s more important than you are. And that kind of message creates incredible sadness in people, depression, anxiety, because here I am saying, “They tell me they love me but I don’t feel loved.” And I feel anxious about that.
Kate: Yeah, there’s no feeling there.
Jodi: Right, it’s a huge double message to them. I love you, here’s all the evidence, here’s all the stuff I buy you that I love you. I’m willing to come to all of your activities. However, when I’m on a screen, that’s going to get my attention over you. And then, I’ll buy them a screen so we can both disconnect together. And so then, as a child grows up and the parent now wants to interact and say, hey I want a relationship—and I see this dynamic happen—the child now is the teenager, the young adult, and the parent wants to connect and bond and tell me about your life and I want to be involved, they’re not interested. They’re not interested, because they have had these messages sent to them—inadvertently—I want to give parents a break here, but you’ve got to wake up that this isn’t permission to keep doing this. You know, consider yourself warned, you have to get these screens from between you and your child, so that they know that they are the most important thing that is in your life.
Kate: I agree. I so agree with you because the problem is honestly, Jodi, is that your business is booming. That is a problem. That should be a big wake up call to people that your business is booming. The other thing is this, I’ve always thought the funniest thing, most ironic thing about Facebook is, it takes every single person you’ve ever known in your life—which you go through phases of your life, you know grade school, to high school, to college. Every time you’re entering a new phase, you have a different group of friends. And it puts all of you in the same room at the same time. And there’s been moments where I’ve felt like Facebook was kind of like, if my family was standing to the side of the stage and I was on stage looking at my host of my friends, my crowd, my peeps, you know, my people, and I’m entertaining them with my posts, and I’m liking their posts, and they’re like my posts, but my family is standing off to the side of this stage and I’m not giving them this attention that I should be giving them right now in my life as a mother. And I feel like if we don’t learn this lesson right now and start to nip this in the bud, as much as I like you, I don’t want your business to boom because it tells me that this is huge, right?
Jodi: It really is and I have the same sentiments. As you’re talking, I’m thinking about the sweet moments when my children would come to me. We didn’t do a lot of screens in my house. I’m not saying follow my example. But because I do what I do for a living, I was sitting front row center to all the disconnect and all the kids who were being on pornography sites at the school because the school was giving them access to computers and the school was saying “It’s locked down, it’s safe.” Well, it’s not.
I have seen children from elementary all the way to high school in my area of the country who have accessed inappropriate sites from school computers. And so, we didn’t do a lot of screens going up. And so I’m thinking about these lovely moments, these talks where my kids would come and they’d be sad, or they’d be depressed, or they’d be disappointed. And being able to see that because I was connected. And so, I could go to them and go, “Okay, buddy. What’s up? I saw you walk in. Let’s talk.”
Or the time that my son came to me at 11:30 at night and said, “Mom, I had my first kiss. I want to talk to you about it.” He woke me up. And I was so thrilled that he woke me up because he felt connected to me—
Kate: Isn’t that awesome.
Jodi: …because he knew how to be vulnerable, and I knew how to be vulnerable. Those are the most tender, precious, sweet moments that we can ever have with another human being, especially our children. And so, those of who you have already raised children, you might be listening to this show, I don’t want you to go into shame like, “Oh my gosh,my time is spent and I can’t get it back.” You still have children, they’re just grown. Go and start practicing connecting with them. And if you don’t know how to do that, I have a series of podcasts in teaching you how to connect and how to be vulnerable, because it’s never too late. It is the most sweet thing that you can do, is to learn how to connect with another human being. There’s nothing better in the world than that.
Kate: I agree. We’ll come right back, more with Jodi Hildebrandt. The website is www.ConneXionsClassroom.com. She does workshops and you might want to check this out because I think all of us need a little help in this area right now. Even if you don’t think you do, just hold onto your hat because you probably do, too.
We’ll be right back. More on this when we come back. Stay with us on the Kate Show.
Alright, back here with you on the Kate Show. You know, we have some huge epidemics going on, and the connection I think is the overall theme of what’s happening and then they’re seeking after these addictions, right, Jodi? So, we’re looking at porn addiction. All of these kids have devices from the time they’re really little, and it always gets me when I see kids on devices in their rooms. That’s one thing I’ve probably done okay, is that my kids are never allowed in a room with the door closed with a device, whether it be an iPad, or a phone, or a laptop because of what they could be drawn to look at behind closed doors rather than in a room with us.
And I don’t allow their phones with them at night. They have to be able to sleep without their phone going off all night long and these kids will have their phones going off all night long.
So, a couple of little things that we can do in that area, but I can’t even imagine what you’re dealing with, with porn addiction and how rampant this thing is and what it does to us as far as, it takes away our ability to love. If you want to comment on that. I think we’re going to be stung overwhelmingly on this in the next coming years.
Jodi: Right. Absolutely. This is an epidemic in our world. I think the average age of pornography exposure is age 7. Five years ago, it was age 11. So that tells you—
Kate: So, it’s not if, it’s when. It’s just when.
Jodi: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. And what I’ll do is when I talk to parents or I’m teaching in a group. It’s not about—parents will say I trust little Junior, I trust them. And it’s like, this has zero to do with the trust of your child. This has to do with, there are people out in the world, believe it or not, that want to hook your child into a lifetime of pornography because they know that if they can expose them young, they will have a lifetime customer. They’re not interested in vulnerability or connection. They want your child to be hooked into their pornography. When someone gets hooked into lust—it’s not just porn, it’s lustful behavior.
And if I could just describe lust for a minute. Lust is a general definition of being selfish, of coveting, of I’m going to step on this and this and this to get where I want. It’s a very disconnecting behavior. So, there is sexual lust as well. So, when children are introduced to that kind of aggressive, filthy behavior, whether it’s full-on pornography or lustful images, they become curious because we’re all sexual beings. And that curiosity spurs them to keep clicking, and keep clicking, and they follow the connection until they end up at a very aggressive pornography site. Which oftentimes, the child will react to very violently. Some of them get very sick, children get very sick physiologically when they see porn. Others just feel bad and unworthy, like something is really wrong with them. They typically will not tell the parents. Because they feel shame. They feel shame. They know they didn’t do anything wrong and but they feel wrong and bad because of what they’ve seen.
And others will just keep looking at more and more pornography and before you know it, you’ve got a child that is completely disconnected, they’re angry, they’re acting out, they’re violent, they’re isolating, they’re becoming anti-social, they’re engaged in all sorts of what looks like really psychologically disturbing behaviors. And what you’ll come to find out is that they’ve been involved in pornography at ages five, and six, and seven years old. And trying to help a child through that, you really can’t because they don’t have a language yet to understand what kind of assault just happened to them.
And so, we as parents must, must, must protect our children. We’ve got to protect them. These screens are very dangerous for a child. They do not know how to maneuver their way around on the internet. And so, asking parents to be the kind of parent that’s willing to upset their child by putting boundaries around those things and saying no, you may not have just unsolicited access to the internet, there are going to be some what I call bottom lines, and some blocks, and things like that.
Or maybe you don’t get it all until you’re 16 and you have a little bit more maturity. Whatever you feel is going to best protect your children. There are people out there that want to access your child. That is real. That is not just some hysterical thought that I’m having as a therapist. There are many people out in the world that see money coming from your child if they can get them hooked on pornography.
Kate: That’s so scary to me because what it does is it absolutely robs you of the ability to love. You become so numb. I interviewed a husband and wife. He couldn’t feel love for his wife or children any longer. And he had to work his way back and it is one of the hardest addictions to get over. I told my kids it’s like putting a snake in your room and hoping it doesn’t bite you.
Jodi: That’s a good image. That’s very true.
Kate: It’s ridiculous.
Jodi: It is the most difficult addiction from my vantage point, and I have worked with all sorts of eating disorders, and alcoholics, and sexual addictions—because the chemical cocktail that you receive at any age because we’re all sexual beings. At age four years old, you can have a very powerful physiological reaction to seeing pornography and want to have that experience again.
They become aroused and then they have an orgasm. It’s like wow, at four and five years old, how do they manage that?
Kate: It just makes me sick.
Jodi: But they don’t know what it is. So they seek out for it again.
Kate: It makes us nauseated. It should as parents. But we need this wake-up call. It’s why I really wanted to do this show with you is because so many are not seeing it and we’re just feeding into… Like if the kids say I want this phone for Christmas, what do we do? We go spend the money, we get the phone. We don’t say no anymore, right? So, we’re not parenting as much as we used to.
Jodi: That’s part of this willingness to connect to your children. When you’re a connected parent and you have correct education, you’re not afraid to say no to your children because you understand that they don’t get it. They don’t get the dangers.
None of us would take our kids and go drop them off in the allies of Denmark or in the allies of Chicago. We wouldn’t do that. But for some reason, we don’t feel the same kind of concern and worry of handing them these technological devices and saying, “Behave yourself on them.” That’s not the problem. Today, as you well know, when you get on the internet, there’s all these links, and kids just follow the links, just like adults do—follow the links. And they end up not even knowing how they got there.
I did a talk one time on pornography and religion. I had looked up the Catholic church and pornography, like six or seven months ago. Six months later, I got on my same computer, and I had been on it many times between those two times. And I got on the computer and all of a sudden, pornography was there. Now, I’ve never looked at pornography on my computer but for some reason, it’s there. And I went to go get it checked at the store, he said, “You must have gone here. And he found the link the six months earlier. It had stayed and it found its way back to my email address and popped up. It is unbelievable how insidious and how dangerous this stuff is. I’m all for the internet, I think it’s a wonderful piece of technologym and we must be more educated before we put those devices in our baby’s hands and say “be safe.”
Kate: I totally agree. Jodi Hildebrandt, therapist. www.ConneXionsClassroom.com. I honestly would urge the people listening right now to fly you out as a speaker, get you to those churches, get you to those schools, get you to whatever city you live in that you’re listening to this from, and have you come speak to parents, and kids, and Jodi, warn about these types of things because I think you’re a great voice for this. And I really do think that this is your thing, this is your work. I applaud you for being one of those that are really getting into the beginning of this and saying, “This is what we need to do as a society or we are going to have so many bigger problems than we could have ever imagined cropping on us, that we won’t be able to change if we do not start turning this boat around.”
I would urge you get to get Jodi out to your school, or your church, or whatever and talk to the parents there, so that we can start to get this kind of understood and start to get a handle on it. Also, get parents to think about these things. Sometimes, parents haven’t even thought about any of this. And so my hat goes off to you. I really appreciate your work.
Jodi: Thank you so much.
Kate: Go to www.ConneXionsClassroom.com. Jodi, it’s been really great talking with you and I’ll probably have you back on the show because this is a bigger problem than we think, and we’ve got to address it, so I appreciate you. Thank you.
Jodi: Thank you.
Kate: I so appreciate Jodi Hildebrandt joining me. It’s www.ConneXionsClassroom.com. Check it out.
Boy, we need some help, don’t we? Oh, we need some help in this country right now. there’s a lot of things eroding the most important things, our family, our faith, our marriages, our relationships with our kids. I hope we’ve learned such a big lesson today and I hope we share this with others. Boy, this needs to be talked about.
Anyway, thank you for listening. I really appreciate you. What a fantastic audience I have. I love this and everybody have a great weekend and week.
This is the Kate Show on the Blaze Radio Network.
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