“Boys will be boys”. That is a statement we’ve all heard many times. It’s usually said just after a story about something inappropriate a boy has done. I think that what people are really thinking when they make that statement is: “Boys are complete scum bags and that’s just the way it will always be”.  To me the statement is a complete cop-out. It’s like the world thinks boys are a lost cause, and they just excuse their behavior by saying “Boys will be boys”.

 It’s not that boys don’t face challenges, but we assume they’ll always loose. They’ll cave in. They’re not capable of doing “the right thing”. I disagree. Boys are capable of doing the right thing if they are brought up knowing they can do the right thing. They can make the right choices. They don’t have to give into the stereotype of “boys will be boys,” but too often they do and the consequences can be devastating. 

Lets take a look at part 1 of the story of Charlie, an 11-year-old boy who got hooked on online porn and how in completely changed him (the story below is from MailOnline):

Online porn is as addictive as any drug. It’s enslaving hundreds of thousands of British children. I know, because my son was one of them.  Charlie was 11 when not just his behavior, but also his entire character started changing. He’d always been a cheerful, friendly, sunny sort of chap. At his junior school he was popular with his classmates, loved playing football in the school team and was rarely in any kind of trouble with his teachers.

Over the space of his first two terms at secondary school all that changed. If Charlie had been on Class A drugs he couldn’t have been more transformed. He became withdrawn, moody and sullen. He wasn’t sleeping at night. He lost his normal gargantuan appetite. He looked hollow-eyed and listless. He had none of the boyish energy and high spirits that we were all used to.  He began writing things like ‘I hate myself’, or ‘Charlie is s***’ on scraps of paper, newspapers, books, even his bedroom furniture and walls. He drew obscene cartoons with speech bubbles filled with the filthiest words in the dictionary.

I once rolled back his sleeve to find ‘I am disgusting’ scrawled on the inside of his arm. I managed to stop myself from crying until I’d left the room. But the moment the door closed behind me I broke down completely.  I couldn’t understand. How could my beautiful boy, who could light up a room and my heart with his smile, have turned into this hollow, self-hating shell? What had I done wrong?

Almost six months went by and still I could find no answer. Charlie was still very much a small boy. He didn’t have a hair on his chin and his voice was high and unbroken. So it wasn’t some kind of hormonal reaction to becoming an adolescent. And the doctor assured us he wasn’t physically ill.  Maybe it was a family issue. My husband, Mike, and I were going through a rough patch, as most couples do at one time or another. We weren’t the screaming and shouting kind, but there was a sullen gulf of silence opening up between us.  Was Charlie responding to that? Or perhaps it was the influence of his new school.  Charlie goes to a big suburban comprehensive that prides itself on the quality of its pastoral care as much as its exam results. But even the best schools contain a few bad apples and my suspicions fell on a particular boy in Charlie’s class. 

I can’t prove that he started it all, but I suspected there was something going wrong from the moment the two of them first met.  I knew his new friend was encouraging Charlie to play the violent video games that I hate so much and have always banned. I feared that, as the youngest of several brothers, this particular boy might also have access to cigarettes, drink and even drugs.  It never occurred to me that the problem was pornography. But then one night my eyes were opened to the truth.

Editor’s Note: Like so many parents, Charlie’s mom had no idea that her son could be struggling with online pornography.  This story illustrates a number of warning signs that your son or daughter may exhibit if they are looking at pornography.  Join us on Monday to read what Charlie’s mom decided to do to help rescue her son from his addiction—rather than just saying “boys will be boys”, she sought help, as you should too if your son or daughter are struggling with online addiction.  For resources, check out our parent information here.