Vol. 2 Issue 20 | May 20, 2016
Three Things This Week
What it is: On Thursday, the Twitterverse decided to create a new holiday with the corresponding viral hashtag
Why it’s important: Three words: “Everybody’s doing it.” Two words: Peer pressure. It has also spread to other social networks, with many taking full advantage (i.e. “Don’t be rude, send a nude”). Unfortunately, sexting is the new social currency among teens, and they will continue to give in to its normalization (40% because they think it’s a natural part of a relationship) if we don’t have ongoing conversations with them about it. Ask them if they’ve been solicited for a nude and how it made them feel. Also, help them find the courage to say “no,” discussing with them how sexting can lead to exploitation, bullying, shame, a criminal record, and, worst of all, a view of relationships and sexuality that can never compare to God’s beautiful design.
2. Google This
Why it’s important: Keeping abreast of tech developments as they emerge is becoming more and more paramount. We have a long track record of embracing new technologies unconditionally, not stopping to ask how they’re affecting us until months or even years later, when much damage is already done. Instead of having a reactive (or even passive) attitude toward tech, let’s be proactive by keeping up to date, asking good questions about them before they become ingrained in our lives, and ready to impose healthy boundaries the second they enter our homes.
3. Can’t Stop the Feeling
Why it’s important: The song immortalizes an ecstatic night at the club, a night of pleasure and good feelings, the sort of feelings everyone wishes would last forever—but which don’t and can’t. Regarding what he called the “conspiracy of pleasure-mania,” D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said, “These things…give [man] temporary feelings of happiness, so he assumes that all is well and stops thinking.” The idea that pleasure and happiness are the highest virtues is being taught via powerful mediums to kids at ages when they aren’t able to discern how that idea is harmful. Use the movie/song as conversation starters with children of all ages about the power of ideas.
Thing to Know: Game of Thrones & Porn
HBO’s Game of Thrones began airing its sixth season a few weeks ago, to fans’ delight. Though the show is replete with gratuitous sex, nudity, violence, sexual violence, language, and other vulgarities, it only continues to increase in popularity, both in viewer numbers and in social media buzz. Yet, after 54 episodes, a disheartening trend has begun to emerge.
According to statistics recently released by Pornhub, right after the premiere of Season 6, explicit searches including the title “Game of Thrones” increased by 370%. In addition, 4% of U.S. porn viewers stopped watching “adult” content to watch the episode. But most eye-opening was this comment from the site: “We discovered that Game of Thrones has remained a popular search on Pornhub due in part to…fans hoping to find a glimpse of the nudity and sex that the series is known for.” In other words, GoT has become a gateway drug: The show exposes viewers to softcore pornography, and they turn to the Internet hoping to get more.
So let’s be real: The show’s immense popularity paired with the fact that it can be accessed easily and secretly on any device via HBO Now means it would be naive of us to think students aren’t watching it. Even more so, for those who are watching it, the chances they have also accessed or been tempted to access even harder content are much higher.
Online pornography is ubiquitous and serious—we need to talk to our children about it, starting at young ages. But shows like GoT are also a big deal. We need to have ongoing conversations with students about why they’re not just “harmless” and how they hijack our visions of adventure, relationships, sexuality, etc., giving us substitutes that seem exciting and worthwhile, but only enslave us in the end.
Questions to ask: How do we decide what TV shows and movies are “ok” to watch? What has a pass and what doesn’t? Why? How do holiness and purity relate to this issue? Is there something in our lives that might start off as innocent but lead to greater sin?