Smallpox and Inoculation: A Model for Fighting Porn Addiction?

by Dec 4, 2012Addiction/Brain Science

The last known naturally occurring smallpox victim in the world.

The last known naturally occurring smallpox victim in the world.

I believe that internet pornography is sickening humankind like the world’s most devastating diseases. So how have we overcome these pandemics in the past?

Through immunization of healthy young people before they got exposed.

That’s why I have such great hope that porn-proofing–educating children about the brain-changing and life-wasting effects of pornography addiction–will be a powerful protector for them.

Smallpox was a highly infectious disease that ravaged the human world for centuries, even millennia, until it was successfully eradicated in 1977. In fact, smallpox killed millions every year and changed the course of history when it took the lives of royals and decimated native populations.

Smallpox eradication began by first using inoculation and then by organizing an aggressive vaccination program.

In fact, smallpox inoculation was practiced by the Chinese as far back as the 10th century. How did they do it? (WARNING: This part is gross!) Early inoculation involved sniffing powdered smallpox scabs (ick!) or scratching pus from a smallpox lesion into the skin (double ick!).

Although inoculation involved a risk of contracting the disease, the risk of death was much lower. Inoculation had a .5 to 2% mortality rate, which was way less than the 80% mortality rate if a child caught the disease itself. Later on, vaccinations were developed that were even safer than inoculation.

Father and son talking in living roomParents are often concerned that they’ll create an interest in porn in their young kids if they talk to them about it. But I believe that while some interest may be created in a few kids, the risk is far less than keeping silent and leaving children completely defenseless.

Would you take your child on a trip to Africa without a measles vaccination? I don’t think so.

Imagine if all parents warned their kids about the harmful effects of pornography before they were exposed to it? Imagine the millions of kids saved from the pain of addiction and isolation?

Just to give you some context for comparison, in the 1950’s an estimated 50 million cases of smallpox occurred in the world each year (back when the world’s population was 2.5 billion instead of 7 billion). An aggressive vaccination program begun in the 1950’s and intensified in the 1960’s wiped the dread disease off the planet within two decades. Other fatal diseases are still being fought worldwide such as polio and measles.UNICEF/ HQ07-1076/Shehzad Noorani

I only wish we could all fear and fight pornography in the same way as we did smallpox. But while we’re waiting for the world to figure that one out, we can take steps to educate and inoculate our kids.

Seriously, it’s our only hope!

The effectiveness of physical vaccinations is an encouraging model.  We can give our kids a defense against pornography:

  • By talking to them early and often.
  • By bringing porn out into the light.
  • By not just hoping they won’t be exposed to pornography, but by preparing them to resist and reject it.

Have you started to plan how you’ll porn-proof your children?

Kristen Jenson
Kristen A. Jenson is the founder of Protect Young Minds and author of Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today's Young Kids. Kristen enjoys speaking, writing and anything else that will help empower kids to reject pornography. Kristen earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, and a master’s degree in Organizational Communication. Kristen currently lives with her husband in Washington State, where she enjoys growing a vegetable garden, watching Masterpiece Theater, and taking long walks with friends who tolerate her incessant talking about you know what. Above all else, her husband and three children are her greatest treasures.

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