Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Knowing our teenagers

Another post on last weekend's conference.

In a seminar on parenting we were discussing the problems teenagers face. Bethan and I mentioned that our youth worker had asked our teenagers what the greatest pressures were for them at school. Top was being texted porn by other pupils so that it just arrives on their mobile phone.

When this was mentioned people were shocked. And when asked whether anyone else was aware of porn as a struggle with teenagers, no one answered.

Now this doesn't mean people didn't think it was. But I did wonder whether we too often just assume we know the problems our teenagers face. We see the image issues, the materialism, and are aware of the pressures to have sex and take drugs. And so these are the ones mentioned. But it would be interesting once a year to ask what the teenagers themselves find they are having to struggle with.

I have to say, when the porn issue was mentioned, people started offering suggestion on how to stope their children's phones receiving images etc. This was well meaning, but seemed rather naive. Few teenagers would choose not to be able to receive legitimate photos. Moreover, we need to consider far more radical action at the level of heart and self-discipline if we are to protect our teenagers or see them able to make such radical decisions.