A recent study from Middlesex University found that 53% of 11 to 16 year olds have seen explicit material online, nearly all of whom (94%) had seen it by 14. Although this statistic doesn’t necessarily shock me, it does sadden me to realise that this means a lot of the young people we come into contact with in schools have already been exposed to this kind of material.
So often our response to these kinds of issues is avoidance - often because we are fearful that by bringing up the issue we may be introducing something new or giving them ideas. However, if we ignore these issues we will find our young people seeking their education from other sources and if they turn to pornography then they will end up with very warped ideas about sex and intimacy.
Over the last week I have had the privilege of speaking to young people about this issue during a series of Relationships and Christians Values lessons in Marlborough Science Academy. We have talked about consent (see the tea and consent video below), the issues with pornography, Christian beliefs about sex and marriage and where to draw the line in relationships.
My hope and prayer for this lesson is for young people to take away positive messages about intimacy so that, even if they don’t choose to have the same line Christians do, they have the ability to reflect and decide where their line is and what they feel comfortable with. My hope is that they make healthy choices in their future that they don’t end up regretting.
If you would like to be involved in lessons like this, please contact our volunteers coordinator Terrie.