Off The Snow

Risk on the snow, even more dangers off it.


I had the television on the other day while doing holiday things, for-other-people things. So I got to watch an event I would have otherwise missed: The 2013 Dew Tour Mountain Championships in Breckenridge, Colorado, where snowboarders – mostly male – compete for prizes.

Amazing. They were amazing! If I were the parent of one of those guys, I would be thoroughly impressed and very proud of his courage and ability to do tricks in the air at speed. The contest was a distinct and refreshing contrast to the ritualized-battle American football matches available to watch at the same time.

I am a big proponent of using testosterone in wise ways – and while snowboarding doesn’t get crops planted or criminals jailed, it is infinitely better than bashing a man you don’t even know on a football field.

It occurred to me while watching, however, that while male snowboarders probably know everything about the risks their sport presents – falls and slips can result in broken bones, concussions, even death – they, like other young men, have no idea of the risk they take off the snow.

Research among young men holds that virtually 100% of them watch online porn. A hefty number of those watch it daily, and some have become addicted to the stuff.

“It’s relaxing.” “I can turn it off anytime.” “I still like real girls.”

What, me worry?

Though the latest research indicates that online porn affects the brain, the full dangers of watching porn have not even been identified yet. It’s like drinking a substance that someone says is vodka, but is it? It could be any clear liquid. It could be toxic. Who would do that? Why would you do that?

The real test of porn’s effect in how young men act in the real world, out of pixel range. Their actions can be judged by the confusion and outrage of young women – real women – who encounter them. These men, they say, have few social or sexual skills, and feel an enormous sense of entitlement. They pre-assume a script and tend to become angry and aggressive when it fails to materialize. In their minds, an encounter should go the way they’ve watched it, and when it doesn’t, they assume something is wrong with the woman at hand.

Way to avoid taking responsibility, guys. What are you, five years old?

Another view is that perhaps, without their knowing it, something happened in their brains when they watched porn. The brain is malleable. Events influence it. When garbage goes in, garbage can come out. If young men’s brains are being affected by porn, that may account for their poor behavior.

Not that that is an excuse. They still need to be held accountable for their harmful, aggressive behaviors.

But if their brains have been hurt, and if there is no corrective technique to heal those brains, then we are all in very big trouble.

There’s a saying that parents who fail to civilize their children leave civilization the task of defending itself.

Participating in any physical activity – snowboarding, skiing, diving – your sons probably know the associated risks, and how they may be hurt. But when it is the brain that could be affected . . . well, it can take decades for that harm to be acknowledged, as with concussions and the National Football League, an organization that has strenuously denied any link between football-acquired brain injuries and belligerent behavior.

Once they get online, parents of all ages, your sons may be affected more than you know by what they see. So warn them to stay away. Porn is not a casual, harmless hobby. It could devastate the only brain they will ever have.



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