Let’s take a step back in time to the 1950s, a much simpler time for a teenager to grow up in, a time before the World Wide Web and its diabolical accomplice, social media, were even a blip on the radar. In the 1950s, if a preteen or teenage boy found a sexy magazine, he would maybe quickly show a few of his friends while hiding out in the basement or garage. And what were they looking at? Usually, it was nothing more scandalous than icons such as Marilyn Monroe and other beautiful women photographed in bikinis, although options got a little more revealing with the 1953 launch of Playboy Magazine. Moving ahead to the 1980s, pornography became more accessible with VHS tapes that you could rent from the back of the local video store, if you were of age. In the 1990s and 2000s, we had webcams and chat rooms. Back in the good ol’ days, for a minor to view pornographic materials they had to typically enact a plan in order to sneak a peak of a dirty pin-up, and risk being caught. Even an adult wanting to see porn also had to have a plan of action, such as getting up the courage to look the video store clerk in the eyes as they rented or purchased an adult film on tape.
But what do we have today? We have cell phones with easy internet access placed in the hands of our young, impressionable children, with little to no supervision or protection.
Most of us spend more time on the internet than we care to admit, even when it is for harmless recipe searches or makeup tutorials. But are we aware of the demonic influence that lies within the endless knowledge at our fingertips? Nearly 27% of all video content searched on Google is pornographic in nature. That would be the equivalent of having four magazines on your coffee table for your children, or guests, to select from and one of the four is a pornographic magazine. We would never allow our children that option in our homes, in real life, and yet we allow it on an electronic device.
Apart from the dangers of pornography that our next generation is being exposed to at much too early an age, another detrimental issue to consider regarding the internet is social media damage. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in young people ages 10 to 24. From 2000 to 2007 the suicide rate was pretty stable, hovering around seven deaths per 100,000 people, but from 2007 to 2020 we see an increase to ten deaths per 100,000 according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. Over a million kids were taken to the ER for suicide attempts or suicidal thoughts in 2015, with the number increasing drastically every single year.
What has changed from 2007 to 2020? Facebook, Twitter, smartphones, Instagram, and Snapchat have bombarded young eyes and impressionable souls. In the olden days, for pre-teens and teens, bullying was mostly limited to school or the school bus. Nowadays children are bullied even in the “safety” of their own homes through online attacks on their character and their appearances. Too much bullying is happening today that children’s still-maturing minds cannot handle. We are not teaching children how to self-regulate and deal with negative emotions and so they are left feeling helpless. We need to come up with solutions and regulations to protect this next generation before it is too late.