Monday, July 20, 2015

Your Teen and Pornography

Even in the church, it's hard to raise a teen unstained from the world. Our desire is to present our children to the Lord holy and righteous--not lovers of the world--ready and approved for a lifetime of service. When 80% of teens in youth group have an iPhone in his or her pocket, as well as teens at school and in the after-school sports world, it's excruciatingly hard to keep a child unstained. The "world" is all around them.

Today I present some sobering porn statistics, along with a long list of verses to present to tweens and teens before sending them off with their peers.

It seems every week now my son shares something about the youth group environment I don't like. All the comments and observations are excellent material for our devotional sessions, but it makes me sad nonetheless. Just yesterday he saw a group of guys in the youth room all looking at an iPhone screen, making fun of a girl's face. It didn't appear to be an inappropriate picture, but the boys were disrespecting the girl. 

The problem with youth group isn't the Bible lessons the leaders present, which are good. It's the influence of the kids already affected by iPhone and video game distractions, some to the point of addiction. 

And then there's the staggering pornography problem, which in part can be traced to kids having unsupervised access to the Internet (not in the family room with an adult present). Filters are not fool-proof.

I want my children to benefit from the youth group Bible teaching and be a light for Christ to the other teens, rather than emulate them--all in a non-judgmental manner. It's a delicate balance that can only be achieved through a whole lot of parent-lead Bible lessons. 

We need to be proactive, early, without also burdening our children with the weight of the world. It starts with Scripture and a non-worldly home. It starts with a positive relationship with parents wherein teens trust their parents' judgement, and accept their leadership. 

Below are the porn statistics followed by relevant verses about not being stained by the world.

Here are general pornography statistics from a 2015 Covenant Eyes report:

In 2012, Tru Research conducted 2,017 online interviews with teens, ages 13-17, and parents of teens:

71% of teens have done something to hide what they do online from their parents (this includes clearing browser history, minimizing a browser when in view, deleting inappropriate videos, lying about behavior, using a phone instead of a computer, blocking parents with social media privacy settings, using private browsing, disabling parental controls, or having e-mail or social media accounts unknown to parents). 

32% of teens admit to intentionally accessing nude or pornographic content online. Of these, 43% do so on a weekly basis.

Only 12% of parents knew their teens were accessing pornography. 

In 2001, a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation discovered among all online youth ages 15-17: 

70% say they have accidentally stumbled across pornography online. 9% say this happens very often. 14% somewhat often. 47% not too often. 

According to a report commissioned by Congress, in 2004 some 70 million individuals visit pornographic Web sites each week; about 11 million of them are younger than 18. 

Data from a 2004 study of nearly 1000 adolescents in Israel showed: 15% of Internet users said they frequently or very frequently used the Internet to search for pornography. The strongest predictor of using pornography was being male. 

Adolescents who reported using porn were more likely to; (1) attend a secular school vs. a religious school; (2) have a lower commitment to family; (3) have a lower support of pro-social attitudes; and (4) be a heavy Internet user. 

In a 2007 University of Alberta study, 429 students ages 13 and 14 from 17 schools across Alberta, Canada, were surveyed about how often they accessed sexually explicit media content: 

90% of boys and 70% of girls reported accessing sexually explicit media on at least one occasion. 

35% of boys said they had viewed pornographic videos “too many times to count.” 

In 2008, YouGov conducted a survey of 1,424 British youth (14-17 years old): 

58% said they have seen pornography. 

71% of sexually active teenagers have viewed pornography. 

42% of sexually active teenagers view pornography regularly. 

More than a quarter of boys use porn at least once a week (5% of them every day). 

In 2008, more than 560 college student responded to an online survey: 

93% of boys and 62% of girls were exposed to pornography before 18. 

14% of boys and 9% of girls were exposed to pornography before 13. 

69% of boys and 23% of girls have spent at least 30 consecutive minutes viewing Internet pornography on at least one occasion. 

63% of boys have done so more than once, and 35% of boys have done so on more than 10 occasions. 

83% of boys and 57% of girls have seen group sex online. 

69% of boys and 55% of girls have seen same-sex intercourse online. 

39% of boys and 23% of girls have seen sexual bondage online. 

32% of boys and 18% of girls have seen bestiality online. 

18% of boys and 10% of girls have seen rape or sexual violence online. 

15% of boys and 9% of girls have seen child pornography. 

According to an anonymous survey published in the Journal of Adolescent Health in August 2009: 

96% of teens interviewed had Internet access, and 55.4% reported that they had visited a sexually explicit website. 

Adolescents exposed to these sites are more likely to have multiple lifetime sexual partners, more likely to have had more than one sexual partner in the last 3 months, and more likely to have used alcohol or other substances at their last sexual encounter. 

According to a Symantec study, after analyzing 3.5 million online searches done between February 2008 and July 2009, “sex” was the 4th most used term; “porn” was the 6th. 

This reflects searches done by children in households that use Norton Family. 

In 2010, 14-16-year-olds from a north London secondary school were surveyed. They found: 

Nearly a third looked at sexual images online when they were 10 years old or younger. 

81% look at porn online at home. 

75% said their parents had never discussed Internet pornography with them. 

Other sobering stats from here, excerpted below:

Teenagers with frequent exposure to sexual content on TV have a substantially greater likelihood of teenage pregnancy; and the likelihood of teen pregnancy was twice as high when the quantity of sexual content exposure within the viewing episodes was high.

Pornography viewing by teens disorients them during the developmental phase when they have to learn how to handle their sexuality and when they are most vulnerable to uncertainty about their sexual beliefs and moral values.

A significant relationship also exists among teens between frequent pornography use and feelings of loneliness, including major depression.

Adolescents exposed to high levels of pornography have lower levels of sexual self-esteem.

1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Romans 12:2  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

James 4:4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Colossians 2:8  See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

1 John 3:13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.

Romans 14:1-23  As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. ...

1 John 2:16  For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.

Hebrews 13:5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Ephesians 5:11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

John 15:18-21  “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.

John 12:46  I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from every form of evil.

2 Corinthians 4:4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

1 John 2:17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

2 Peter 3:9  The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Matthew 7:13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Christine, especially for the bible verses. I can't read all the info and statistics. Too close to home for me. Pornography is just wicked. Makes me nauseated.

On Sunday my daughter announced that her friend has an iPhone-something-or-other and that it cost over £400 ($600+) and that her friend's dad bought it for her. Apart from the obvious of who on earth spends that much on a phone (they are not a rich family), and more, who spends that much on their 12 year old(?!) there are all the issues you've raised. What a world we live in.

It is my honest belief that exposing a child to pornography is a form of sexual abuse. I wish society would recognise the seriousness of this and treat it as a criminal matter. I also think that more needs to be done within churches to demonstrate how to honour women to counter the ubiquitous presentation of women as objects.