This is Part Two in our series on Porn. In Part One, we took a look at pornography and its influence on pastors. This time, we’ll take a look at pornography and its impact on Christian youth.
Porn is a pervasive and growing problem — one that can plant it’s seeds early in our sexual lives and grow to do its damage to our maturing relationships and in particular our relationship with God. It used to be that porn was only available through somewhat hard-to-get magazines and films. These days, free, easy access to virtually any kind of pornography is only a button push away on our smartphones or laptops.
The Barna Group recently completed a study of nearly 3,000 adults, teenagers, and pastors. The study was commissioned by Josh McDowell Ministry and Cru. It examined pornography’s effect on pastors, churches, the general population, and young people.
Defining pornography isn’t as tricky as you might think, Barna reported. “Turns out, it’s more a question of function than form. If it’s used for sexual arousal, it’s porn. Simple as that.”
Here’s a snyopsis of their results relative to Christian youth…
Seven out of 10 youth pastors said that at least one student has asked them for help related to pornography usage in the past year. Most of those asking for help are boys in high school. Of the pastors who were approached, 92 percent said they’ve heard from at least one boy in high school, 57 percent from a boy in middle school, 23 percent from a girl in high school, and 1 in 10 from a girl in middle school.
According to the study, practicing Christians are twice as likely to feel guilty about their porn use as others.
Steady porn usage among teens starts young.
— About 1 in 4 young adults ages 25 to 30 (27%) said they first viewed pornography before hitting puberty. In contrast, only about half as many (13%) of those ages 31 to 50 started viewing pornography before puberty.
— Half of teens said they come across porn at least once a month, regardless of whether they seek it out. This number increases to 70 percent for young adults.
— About a quarter of teenagers (26%) ages 13 to 17 view porn at least once a week. The number jumps to 38 percent of adults who are ages 18 to 24, and drops again to 25 percent of those ages 25 to 30.
— While males still dominate pornography use, more females are reaching for it. One-third of teenage girls and young women (33%) said they searched for porn at least once a month, while 12 percent of women over 25 reported the same.
— Some porn involves personal images. Two-thirds of those under 24 reported receiving a sexually explicit image from someone they knew (66%), while 44 percent said they had sent one.
When ranking a list of morally objectionable items, teens and young adults said not recycling was more unacceptable than viewing pornographic images.