Day: April 9, 2016
Sex sells. Or, to put it in 21st century terms, sex gets clicks.
Smartphones, tablets and laptops have revolutionized the way people encounter images. Pictures and videos are easily accessible with one swipe or click; it takes very little effort to encounter sexually explicit content on apps like Snapchat and Instagram. Even mainstream media is infused with sexualized images and ideas—one needs only to see an Axe commercial, a primetime Miley Cyrus performance or a “reality” show like The Bachelor for confirmation.
This “pornification” of popular culture means younger generations are coming of age in a hypersexualized cultural ecosystem. They, in turn, tend to be more open to sexual experimentation and self-expression—leading to further social acceptance of sexually explicit content. One cannot help but wonder where this self-perpetuating feedback loop will end.
For a landmark study commissioned by Josh McDowell Ministry, Barna Group interviewed American teens, young adults and older adults about their views on and use of pornography. Among many notable findings, researchers discovered that teens and young adults have a more cavalier attitude toward porn than adults 25 and older. In addition, young adults ages 18 to 24 seek out and view porn more often than any other generation.
For the full article, click on the link below to read on the Barna Research Group website:
What the Research Means
“There appears to be a momentous generational shift underway in how pornography is perceived, morally speaking, within our culture,” says Roxanne Stone, editor in chief at Barna Group and one of the lead designers and analysts on the study. “This shift is particularly notable when it comes to personal choice regarding pornography use. But these attitudes and preferences toward porn among the younger generations need to take into account the broader social and cultural context that American young people inhabit.”
“For one, they are coming of age in a culture that has given preference to personal experience and personal morality,” continues Stone. “Amy Poehler summed it up nicely, ‘Good for you, not for me.’ Americans are increasingly uncomfortable prescribing a morality for other people—and aren’t eager to have someone else prescribe one for them. Teens and young adults have embraced this ethos and in turn place a high value on personal freedom and autonomy, tending to shirk restrictions, particularly censorship.”
“Further, the mainstream acceptance of pornography, and the broader pornification of popular culture send a powerful message to young people about the moral condition of porn. We’ve seen cultural icons such as Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton and Miley Cyrus generously rewarded for their public displays of private moments. And now, with broadcast tools at their fingertips, young people have the ability to produce their own personal pornography—via Instagram, Snapchat or just plain ‘sexting.’ Such personal, interactive porn is something we are calling ‘Porn 2.0’ and we will be releasing more of our research on that in the coming months.”
“These realities are fueling more cavalier attitudes and high rates of porn usage among the younger generations,” says Stone. “This is concerning for a number of reasons: studies have shown that seeing a vast amount of pornography long before becoming sexually active can have damaging effects because of the amount of sexual conditioning that occurs in adolescence. Ill-timed exposure to explicit material could cause lifelong problems with relationships and personal sexual health, and create unrealistic beliefs about sex and sexuality.”
“In our research, we’re finding that many adults—especially parents and even pastors—feel ill equipped to face the reality and ubiquity of porn and its use,” continues Stone. “But, without guidance, today’s young people are often left to their own devices to navigate the complex task of developing beliefs about sexuality. As young people develop beliefs and behaviors in a hyper-sexualized technological age where pornography is more accessible than ever, parents must be willing to discuss sexual topics with their children, and the church at-large needs to provide a robust—and appealing—counter narrative to the one perpetuated by pornography. This would entail challenging the distorted narrative of the porn industry by creating realistic expectations for sex and its purpose, and acknowledging the beauty and promise of sex within its proper context.”