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5 Facts About Pornography Use By Teens and Young Adults

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This Sunday many Southern Baptist churches will be recognizing Social Issues Sunday. In keeping with this year’s emphasis on purity, the ERLC is highlighting the role of parenting and technology in protecting the purity of our children (see this year’s bulletin insert).

“We know what happens when sexually-forming minds are exposed to pornography, says ERLC President Russell Moore. “We must not put our children in that sort of peril.”

Here are five facts you should know about pornography use of teens and young adults:

1. Among teens and young adults 13-24, only a third say viewing porn is wrong (32 percent), says a 2016 report by Barna Research. The vast majority of teens and young adults report that conversations with their friends about porn are neutral, accepting, or even encouraging. They generally assume most people look at porn at least on occasion, and the morality of porn is rarely discussed or even considered. Just one in 10 teens and one in 20 young adults report talking with their friends about porn in a disapproving way.

2. Research on pornography use by teenagers suggests that adolescents who use pornography, especially that found on the Internet, have lower degrees of social integration, increases in conduct problems, higher levels of delinquent behavior, higher incidence of depressive symptoms, and decreased emotional bonding with caregivers.

3. Numerous studies have found that pornography has a profound influence on the self-perception of teenagers. Adolescent girls report feeling physically inferior to the women they view in pornographic material, while boys fear they may not be as virile or able to perform as the men in pornographic media. Adolescents also report that their use of pornography decreased as their self-confidence and social development increase.

4. “Sexting” is a term used to refer to sending sexually suggestive text messages oremails with nude or nearly-nude photos. One survey of undergraduate college students in 2014 found that More than half of respondents (54 percent) reported sexting as minors, although only 28 percent sent photographic images in the texts. The majority of respondents (61 percent) were not aware that sending texts could be considered child pornography, and 59 percent said that knowledge of legal consequences “would have” or “probably would have” deterred them from sexting.

5. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Children and Media found that if a young adult had parents who expressed negative views on pornography when they were teenagers they had a substantially lower chance of consuming pornography than young adults whose parents didn’t express negative views on pornography. The study also concluded that having a parent with a negative view of pornography can help ease some of the mental/emotional pain young adults feel when they have a partner who continues to consume pornography in the context of a relationship.

This week on ERLC podcasts: Daniel Darling talks to Kimberlee Norris about what important steps churches and Christian organizations can take to protect children from becoming victims of abuse. On the Capitol Conversations podcast, Jeff Pickering and Matt Hawkins interview the ERLC’s 2017 team of D.C. interns to share a glimpse into life and vocation in Washington, D.C. And on the ERLC podcast, Jim Daly talks about building bridges with those who disagree about marriage.  

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