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Culture’s ever-complex dynamics have made parenting increasingly tricky. Gone are the days of full-on informational control, with moms and dads now competing against smartphones, tablets, computers and smartwatches for their kids’ attention.
A few hours in church each week and some additional time around the dinner table sometimes seems like no match for the flood of oversexualized, violent, self-serving, anti-biblical content ceaselessly emanating from all of those devices into young hearts and minds.
Even when parents intentionally pour extra doses of truth, love and positive messaging into their children, this inflow of content from alternative sources, including friends and peers at school, is oppressive at best and mind-altering at worst.
Tragically, it’s all having a dire impact on kids’ perceptions of life, sex and eternal truths about the world around them.
Let’s briefly explore just four data points that should absolutely terrify parents:
1. Most kids have seen porn by age 13. Yes, you read that correctly. Your children have (or very likely will) witness the most intimate acts in which two humans can engage before they’re anywhere near adulthood.
Don’t believe me? Common Sense Media found 54% of teenagers reported seeing internet porn before age 13, with 15% noting they encountered smut as early as 10. And, on the whole, the vast majority — 73% — under 17 reported they had seen porn.
Considering adult films deliver a distorted and often disturbing depiction of sex, these statistics should cause every parent to pause and ponder how to protect their kids from such scenes.
2. Porn perceptions are incredibly disturbing. Considering the pervasiveness of pornography, the statistics surrounding how young people perceive it also should leave us quite disturbed.
According to the anti-porn organization Covenant Eyes, 90% of teens and 96% of young adults are neutral, accepting or encouraging while interacting with friends about porn. And just 43% of teens believe smut — content proved to harm individuals and relationships — is terrible for society.
Somehow, they view this moral evil through a positive lens. Meanwhile, the relationship between porn and loneliness is increasingly being given attention, as is its damaging impact on relationships.
3. Not surprisingly, the majority of Gen Zers (73%) report feeling alone either always or sometimes. The real tragedy here is, despite being more technologically connected than ever before, these teens and young adults are more emotionally disconnected than any other generation.
It can’t all be blamed on porn, but a distorted view of truth, sex and relationships is undoubtedly one of the catalysts. The broader issue — removing God from society in place of the self — is the most prevalent fuel driving the flames of dysfunction.
And our kids are paying the price for our spiritual and ethical apathy.
“Only 45 percent of Gen Z report ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ mental health, which is the lowest of any generation,” Ryan Jenkins wrote last year for Psychology Today. “Ninety-one percent of Gen Z adults say they have experienced at least one physical or emotional symptom because of stress, such as feeling depressed or sad (58%), or lacking interest, motivation, or energy (55%). And 68 percent of Gen Z report feeling significant stress about the future.”
This is a generation left emotionally rudderless while being served up an endless array of information that has seemingly done little more than perpetuate a bottomless pit of confusion. This naturally brings us to the next disturbing statistic surrounding moral truth.
4. Gen Z is deeply confounded about morals and values. In fact, studies have consistently exposed the pervasiveness of moral relativism among members of this generation. This belief that “anything goes,” ethically speaking, is plaguing young people.
A 2020 Barna Group and Impact 360 Institute survey found 31% of teens and young adults between the ages of 13 and 21 “strongly agree” that standards surrounding what is “morally right and wrong changes over time, based on society.”
Meanwhile, an additional 43% agree somewhat with this parameter, bringing the collective total to 74% with a bent toward moral relativism.
Clearly, these young people need a vibrant worldview and diligent parents willing to push back against informational tides of confusion with a steady rush of eternal truth.
These statistics hardly tell the whole story, though they scratch the surface of an incredibly disturbing reality: young people are struggling to find authentic relationships and genuine connections, not only to other individuals but also to everlasting truth.
Parents today must jump into action to protect, guide, and go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure they correctly understand the information children are encountering.
Through conversations, daily engagement in our kids’ lives, and candid, sometimes uncomfortable conversations, we must step up to the plate to educate our children about these matters of importance. If we don’t, someone else will — and, as you can see, the results of that diabolical experiment are anything but pleasant.
[Editor’s note: This story was originally published by Washington Times]
Established in 1982, The Washington Times has been a trusted counterweight to the mainstream media. Presidents, powerbrokers and world leaders rely on our coverage, but The Washington Times was founded to represent readers outside the Capital Beltway by promoting American values – freedom, faith and family – and to challenge a media establishment catering to coastal elites.