First the bad news–then 3 pieces of good news
Barna Group, which is the leading research organization in areas of faith and culture, released results from a massive research project examining the attitudes and practices of teens and young adults in America.
The topic of their research? Pornography.
Their main (and very sobering discovery)–as reported in their “top-level findings” was:
- When they talk about pornography with friends, 89% of teens (12-17) and 95% young adults (18-24) discuss it in a “neutral, accepting, or encouraging way.” Only 10% of teens and 5% of young adults say their friends think viewing pornography is a bad thing.
And–even worse: they don’t define the things that you and I think are pornographic…as pornographic. That is, they think a lot of real porn is just normal!
Again, a quote from the top-level findings:
- “Most Americans believe porn is “bad for society,” but those attitudes are shifting toward neutrality or “good for society” among younger generations.”
Think about it: How have we gotten to this point in our society?
The drumbeat of the media which is normalizing through repetition a depiction of human sexuality that is warped, degraded, and shorn of any respect for the dignity of the human person–especially for the God-given dignity of women.
Our children are growing up in an environment saturated with “entertainment” that is reaching out for them daily, drumming sometimes quietly, sometimes shockingly, but relentlessly at their hearts, minds, and souls, through movies and TV and smart phones and tablets–and their friends and acquaintances whose conversation and assumptions casually assume similar interests, and whose technology encourages “sharing” of visual stimuli.
Just two examples of what has ravaged culture in recent years:
- “50 Shades” series showing sexual abuse as “romance”–the books and now two movies. The latest movie was just released “to be in time for Valentine’s Day.” Care to guess how much the movie grossed? Released a year ago, it is setting records for Universal Studios and has now reached $571 MILLION worldwide. The second disgusting movie in the series earned $146.9 MILLION worldwide on its opening weekend. And–the 3rd movie is planned for release…next year just before Valentine’s Day, as well.
- Game of Thrones on TV–wins the “Outstanding Drama Series” in 2015. It has won 26 Primetime Emmy awards (!) and which Common Sense Media reports that “kids say” it is good for those aged 15+ (“Common Sense Media” has kid reviews from those as young as 10 years old). This series that is in its 7th year (I guess) and has set an HBO record of 18.6 MILLION people watching each episode. For perspective, that is about DOUBLE the number of people living in our home state of North Carolina. It is full of incest, rapes, and other onscreen nudity–I’ve never seen it, but here’s a great review that it is, quite clearly, pornography, and the entertainment media discusses very matter-of-factly what occurs onscreen (and they do note that a lot of the violent sex onscreen is not in the still-very-sex-soaked books…but is instead especially and intentionally created and crafted for the TV series).
What is the impact of this media barrage of graphic degradation of human sexuality?
Not only is the moral sense of our children’s peers being desensitized…it is being twisted.
Let these findings from the research sink in:
- Teens now rank “not recycling” as being more immoral that “viewing pornographic images.” 56% of teens say not recycling is “usually or always wrong,” but only 32% say viewing porn is “usually or always wrong.” You read that correctly. And I trust you also noticed that over 2/3 of teens do NOT think that viewing porn is even “usually” wrong.
- Teens and young adults tend to use pornography out of boredom, curiosity, or fun. A shoulder-shrugging, “what’s the big deal?” attitude, part of the growing casual acceptance of it among their friends.
Had enough of the bad news? Unfortunately, you need to know just one more thing Barna found:
“Not only is porn more accessible in the digital context, but UNSOLICITED PORN has increased substantially as well.” They note that 48% of young adults come across porn at least once a week, and 50% of 12-17 year olds come across it once or twice per month or more–even when they are not seeking it out.
Our children don’t have to search for porn–because it is actively searching for them.
OK–enough bad news.
We can all recognize the two-fold bottom line:
- There is a terrible and fundamental problem regarding the truth about the most intimate of male-female relationships in the society in which our children must grow and live, and
- With an understanding of that threat, we need to take steps to protect our children while also educating and preparing them to manage themselves in the face of the growing temptations they face–both now and when they leave home for college or in adulthood.
AND NOW: the 3 pieces of GOOD NEWS
Here is ANOTHER finding from Barna that is reassuring to us, and I hope that you act upon it.
Barna included in its research a cohort of 500 families to compare vs. the general American population. These 500 families use Covenant Eyes to protect and educate their children.
Covenant Eyes is the internet filter PLUS accountability software which our family uses for our computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones (at home, away at college, and in the office).
GOOD NEWS #1: The study shows that Covenant Eyes users have their moral compasses in order–dramatically different from the rest of our society.
- Teens from these Covenant Eyes families ranked as the #1 immoral act on the list: viewing pornography.
- 94% of teens and young adults from the Covenant Eyes users say porn is “bad for society.”
- And teens in families that use Covenant Eyes did not have the same accepting attitudes towards the variety of degradation of the human person in pornography. They dramatically differed from their peers in the general population in defining nudity, various sexual acts (including pain and violence), and images of persons being demeaned as being “always wrong.”
It is not just the “filtering” to protect the innocence of children, teens, and adults–so we don’t “come across” the things that others do–but the “accountability” of regular weekly reports to educate and form the moral consciences of our children. We receive these “accountability” reports for our children and the devices which have internet access (computers, tablets, phones, and so on), and this has made such a difference for us. We have sent some of our children off into the world to college and grad school, out of the home on their own, but the conversations are ongoing because we still receive reports of internet access and use.
So we’ve been able to not simply protect our children. We have been able to educate, form, and prepare our children by instilling in them the knowledge that they are not “anonymous” on the internet (consistent with the knowledge that in God’s eyes they are also never “anonymous” or outside the moral realm). We can see the times they are online, we see if they are blocked in reaching a webpage–and we can talk about why. The accountability aspect also teaches self-control. Very important.
GOOD NEWS #2: Holy Heroes customers can get a 30-day free trial of Covenant Eyes THIS MONTH so you can see how well it works for your family. Can’t beat that! You can always cancel and owe nothing.
- Oh: and you’ll find “GOOD NEWS 2a” for Catholic families is that after your 30-day free trial period, it is only about $15 per month UNLIMITED family members and UNLIMITED devices–fantastic for families like ours with lots of kids, lots of phones, computers and tablets for work and school, people scattered all over the place on networks that we control and those that we don’t.
You can click here to get your 30-days free — and I recommend doing this right away to lock in the 30-days free, then you can install it later when you have time. Just click here for more info and sign up instructions.
Which brings me to:
GOOD NEWS #3: It is EASY and FAST to install: as you can see from the below step by step as we installed it on a new computer we just purchased and set up. Just 15 minutes start to finish.
Step 1: 7:20 pm.
- Logged into our existing Covenant Eyes account (remember: we pay a flat fee for UNLIMITED devices, so adding this new computer didn’t cost us anything).
Step 2: 7:20…until about 7:22….
2. Clicked over to “Dashboard” then lost a bunch of time trying to decide whose username to use for this computer…after a several minute discussion with Kerri, we made the decision that this was her computer (the new one) so to register her. (There are a few ways you can set up Covenant Eyes on a computer, depending on whether you want/need to have each individual sign in, want it always signed in under a single person–but you can figure that out yourself and always change it if you want to, very easily.)
Step 3: 7:22–on to downloading onto the new PC.
Step 4: still 7:22–just pick your device and click “Download now.”
Step 5: Download Wizard takes over. I just click “Next”…
Step 6: Click “install”…
Step 7: Sit and watch it do its thing…
Step 8: Install complete–and you’ll see the clock in the lower right says “7:26” when I click “Finish.”
Step 9: Click “Yes” to restart…
Step 10: This is a new clean computer, so, “No, it didn’t take that long to restart.” It was near prayer time and bedtime and swim practice carpool drop off time and “do we get dessert?” time and so on..so it was 15 minutes elapsed time from start to when I could get back to the computer again, to…
Step 11: Finish by selecting this to be automatically signed into Covenant Eyes when we start the computer up each morning. Voila! 15 minutes and this computer is up and protected for the family to use.
Click the button to get started and to receive your first 30 days free.