Raising teenagers in this century and this culture, we all have our different worries.
I don’t worry if Luke might crack his head skateboarding.
I don’t worry about straight A’s and getting into college.
I don’t worry about a stellar high school resume.
I don’t worry about our high school senior sitter (or anyone) driving him around. (His friends don’t drive yet.)
I DO WORRY about pot and porn.
“It’s not going to be some thug who comes up to you and offers you pot. It’s going to be a friend. Even a Christian friend, from your church youth group. And you are going to have to decide what you are going to do in that moment. Or many moments throughout high school.” (Me to Luke in one of our many conversations.)
I’m not naïve.
I don’t want him to be naïve either.
“Marijuana remains the most abused illegal substance among youth. By the time they graduate high school, about 46% of U.S. teens will have tried marijuana at least once in their lifetime. In 2013, nearly 23% of high school seniors were current marijuana users, and 6.5 percent used daily.” (National Institutes on Drug Abuse)
And what is really scary is that the belief among teens that marijuana is harmful is declining rapidly. Teens discount the scientific evidence that use of pot in the teen years decreases IQ and interferes with other aspects of emotional, mental and physical well-being. (NIDA)
I worry about “harmless social experimentation.” Luke is a boy with a teenage boy brain seeking risk and adventure. And if he doesn’t get it in a healthy way (we are trying), then he will seek it out in unhealthy or unethical ways.
And what if he tries it and freaking likes it?! Then what? And what if he gets hooked on it and it becomes the infamous “gateway drug” to other more dangerous drugs?
It’s not a matter of IF, but WHEN he will be offered and exposed to pot use.
Just like with PORN. The average age of exposure to pornography (image or video) is age 8 or 9. It used to be 12. Thank you Internet, my kids are just a click away from smut.
Of course we have controls and filters, but you cannot filter all their friends and acquaintances and classmates’ phones and computers.
I still remember the first time I saw porn.
Those images don’t leave. Ever. Ever.
I was 15 years old at my friend “David’s” house (not his real name). David and I were truly just friends, no love interest there. But he put on this VHS tape in his 1985 video player. I was shocked and grossed out.
What did I do?
What did I say to him?
I have zero recollection. Really. I was probably too shy to say anything at all.
But I will NEVER forget the man, the woman, the dark brown four-poster bed, and the explicit sex in that disgusting video.
According to Family Safe Media, every second $3,075.64 is spent on porn. Every 39 minutes a new porn video is being created in the U.S.
Parents call smartphones “Pocket Porn,” because 1 in 5 mobile searches are for pornography. (covenanteyes.com)
The porn industry generates $13 billion in revenues each year. The number of web pages available that are dedicated to porn is staggeringly depressive. Not to sound all conspiracy-theory-freakish, but it’s coming after our kids. A click away.
So we talk and talk with our teen son about pot and porn.
We talk about the side effects and dangers and the common attitudes about marijuana use.
Hopefully it doesn’t come off as lectures. HOPEFULLY.
We talk about how it’s important to respect women and respect the gift of sex. That porn is a false fantasy portrayal of sex.. That often physical and verbal aggression can be a part of these videos but that is NOT how it’s meant to be between two people in a loving, committed relationship (hopefully marriage, but again don’t want to be naïve).
“And just realize that is somebody’s daughter, and sister and mom there on those videos.” I’m waiting to say that one.
It’s ultimately a question of self-control and resisting the temptation. It’s hard to make a teen understand the big picture and long-term effects of pot use and porn viewing. THEY DON’T GET IT. They live in the NOW. And feel invincible. But we keep the lines open and talk bluntly without blushing or backing down.
My fellow mama told her son, “You are just going to have to get good at saying NO,” (to many things in high school and in life). Truth.
I think I need to go and pray now. Let’s keep praying diligently for our teens. Let’s be on alert, AND FULL OF GRACE AND WISDOM when they make mistakes. Because they will. They all do. I know I did.