So, parents, when was the last time you talked to your 4-year-old about porn?
I know. Sounds ludicrous. But according to Lawrenceville-based filmmaker Jessica Mockett, whose documentary-in-progress, "Shamed," chronicles the impact of pornography on people's lives, age 4 is about the right time to start the conversation.
"If you wait until your kids are 14 or 15," said Mockett in a recent interview, "chances are they've already been viewing porn for years."
She continued: "If you lived in a drug-infested neighborhood, with a crack-house on every corner, wouldn't you be talking to your kids daily, from a young age, about the dangers of drugs?
"Unfortunately, we live in a porn-infested neighborhood known as the Internet -- and experts say that porn addiction can be even stronger and more damaging than drug addiction."
Mockett, who graduated from Central Gwinnett High School in 1996, has a degree in acting from Brigham Young University and several years' experience in the film and television industries. "Shamed" will be her first feature-length film.
She began the project, she said, because she saw the havoc that pornography addiction had wrought in the lives of friends and acquaintances. She concluded that attempts to take on the well-heeled pornography industry were probably doomed to fail.
The goal of her documentary, she said, is to "fight this plague" by getting people to acknowledge pornography addiction and talk about it openly. "We're never going to get anywhere until we remove the shame."
A devout Christian, Mockett pointed out that "Shamed" is not just a "religious" film. "For Christians," she said, "porn is certainly a moral issue, but it's not just a moral issue. Pornography addiction destroys lives. It ruins relationships. People go broke and lose their jobs."
She defined addiction as "anything that starts to impact the rest of your life. If you're taking time away from your family or other interests to look at pornography, then it's an addiction. If you're hiding it, denying it, arranging your schedule around it, looking forward to it, you're addicted."
According to Mockett's extensive research, 70 percent of men in this country struggle with pornography addiction. Surprisingly, so do 30 percent of women. "Pornography is not just a man's problem anymore," she said.
She also noted that the rate of child-on-child molestation has more than doubled in the last 10 years -- a trend she referred to as "the sleep-over effect."
"Young children are viewing hard-core, violent pornography, and then they're acting out the images they've seen, attempting to imitate adult behavior," she said.
Unfortunately, the project is on hold for now while Mockett attempts to raise the money needed to finish it. She encourages individuals and groups who share her commitment to fighting porn to visit www.shamedthemovie.com, where they can view clips, learn more about the film, and contribute if so inclined.
And after that, she said, "Go have a talk with your kids."
Rob Jenkins is a local writer and the author of Family Man: The Art of Surviving Domestic Tranquility. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter@rjenkinsgdp.