Last week I read a report from the Barna Research Group, Teens & Young Adults Use Porn More Than Anyone Else. If you are unfamiliar with Barna, now would be a good time to get to know them. Barna has been providing spiritual influencers with credible knowledge allowing them to navigate an ever changing culture. Over the last 30 years, they have conducted more than million interviews and hundreds of studies to develop one of the nations top research data bases. Check them out HERE.
5 quick takeaways from Barna’s report. Make sure to check their report out before continuing to read. Context is important.
#1 PARENTING IN A NEW ERA BRINGS NEW CHALLENGES: Parents today are exploring virtually uncharted terittories. Never before have parents had to be as knowledgable about the effects of social media, apps, sexting and the effects of internet porn usage. New eras always bring new challenges. They also bring new opportunities to show the greatness of God. Just to be clear – the internet and social media is not the devil… They are platforms from which we can choose to redeem or reject. The challenge for parents is to stay ahead of the curve so we can have honest conversations about redemption. Church plug coming in 3, 2, 1… This is why I am so thankful I work at a church (www.fbcjax.net) that is committed to equipping parents to navigate these difficult conversations. Sometimes it is easy to forget that parents are the greatest influence in the life of the child. We can leverage this influence by embracing the challenges.
#2 YOU DON’T HAVE TO FIND PORN, IT WILL FIND YOU: The days of having to perform a search and rescue operation in your home for porn are long gone. Now, you don’t even have to search for porn to be exposed to it. 3 in 10 young adults say they never or rarely “run into” pornographic content. Sometimes as a result of saved cookies, responsive advertising or even using a friend’s phone. Just because your kid “would never look at porn” does not mean they will never be exposed to it.
#3 FRIENDS WILL DETERMINE THE DIRECTION AND QUALITY OF YOUR LIFE. Only 1/3 of 13-24 year – olds believes that viewing pornagrpahic images is always wrong (32%). Likewise, 32% of teens say that most of their friends regularly view porn. Andy Stanley correctly stated, “your friends will determine the direction and the quality of your life.” Our kids’ close circle of friends play a major role in the person they are becoming. My wife and I are constantly examining who our kids are spending time with and who we are allowing to be a voice in their life.
#4 THERE IS A HIGHER VALUE ON PERSONAL TRUTH THAN IN ABSOLUTE TRUTH: “Americans are increasingly uncomfortable prescribing a morality for other people – and aren’t eager to have someone else prescribe one for them. There is a higher value on personal freedom and personal discovery than absolute truth. I hope to be able to write more on this latter.
#5 PLAY OFFENSE NOT DEFENSE: Culture is advancing at such a rapid rate parents and leaders must be willing to start the conversations rather than play catch up. More is at risk by not having the conversations soon enough than having it too soon. Having regular and honest conversations (on their level) about the challenges that await them and God’s design for their sexuality will give them the confidence to uphold not the freedom to explore. It is always helpful for me to remember that I don’t have to fear the dark because I have experienced the Light.
What were your thoughts ?