Sex, Lies and Social Media – TedX Talk

Craig Gross, The Porn Pastor, got a chance to do a TedX talk. If you are not familiar with Ted, check out www.ted.com. The TedX talks are a bit shorter and the events are smaller events in local cities. Craig’s talk was called  “Sex, Lies, and Social Media” and is a frank look at the increasing sexualization of the social media landscape and the ways this trend is affecting the always-connected touch-screen generation.

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Tuesdays Top 5 MEDIA

Thanks for tuning into Top 5 Tuesdays here at Think Youth Ministry.  Today we are looking at the second installment in a six part series about the modeling we do in our lives. Up today, media…

The media we subject ourselves to can have a drastic affect on how we live our lives, regardless of if we are conscious of it or not.  With today’s post I would like to focus on the making the unconscious conscious, or at least cast a little light on some things we may not think about very often…

Let’s begin with an analogy.  I spend as much time as I out of doors, and have found that I often neglect the beauty that is local to me.  Let me explain.  I was hiking with my kids a few weeks ago, and my son who is freshly 6 years of age, asked me why we drive so far to go for a hike when there are trails right near our home.  He had a great point.  I have been on the trails near our home so often, in so many capacities (walk, run, bike…), that I have lost the impact they had when we first moved to our home.  Their inherent beauty has become lost on me because I am used to them…

To drive the point home, we are often so used to the media we subject ourselves to that we lose perspective, no longer feeling the negative.  My wife and I took a break from television awhile back, and when we began with it again we found we had become re-sensitized to the violence, sexual messaging/imagery, assumptions made as to what is “normal” societal representation, low ethical standards, as well as blatant disrespect for our faith in Christ.  Surprising, given that I thought we had metered our viewing habits prior to our break from television, choosing not to watch the stuff we had deemed “unacceptable”…

I am not trying to toot my own horn here – what I am trying to do is draw attention to the messages passed by the media we subject ourselves to, both the blatant and the more shrouded…

The top 5 negative messages I wish to highlight today are as follows: sexuality; violence; ethical standards; assumptions (about societal norms – think “everyone else is doing it…”); and disrespect for Christianity/God.  Watch for these in the media you are consuming.  I have been using the phrase “we subject ourselves to” purposely – we have a choice.  Choose to turn off the things that you find objective…

Don’t lose perspective because you have walked there so many times before.  What was once offensive to you likely still is if you pay attention to it, and it does show in our modeling of the faith we follow.  Take care…

Andy Lundy is a psychotherapist working in private practice (www.junipertree.ca) in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada.  He can be reached via email at andrew.lundy@junipertree.ca.  Please send him your questions…

Top 5 Initiative

Welcome to Think Youth Ministry’s Top 5 initiative.  Over the next number of weeks we will be tackling various online issues pertaining to youth, including pornography, social media, managing your online presence, mobile device use, etc.  Blog posts will include recommendations for youth, parents, and those who work with youth.  Stay tuned…

Why Are Teen Moms Poor?

This post was originally posted Monday, May 14, 2012 on SLATE.com by Mathew Yglesias

My thoughts: Youth workers who work in urban, suburban and rural areas MUST READ THIS! Mathew Yglesias has profoundly impacted my thoughts and views on teen pregnancy in relation to poverty. I appreciated his honest candour on what is usually a sensitive subject to so many. Many youth organizations that work with teen mom’s or single mom’s, this is a message that needs to be understood on a deeper level and with great clarity.

Enjoy the article:

Surprising new research shows it’s not because they have babies. They have babies because they’re poor.
Delivering the commencement address last weekend at the evangelical Liberty University, Mitt Romney naturally stuck primarily to “family values” and religious themes. He did, however, make one economic observation that intersects with some fascinating new research. “For those who graduate from high school, get a full-time job, and marry before they have their first child,” he said, “the probability that they will be poor is 2 percent. But if [all] those things are absent, 76 percent will be poor.”
These are striking numbers, but they raise the age-old question of correlation and causation. Does this mean that the representative high-school dropout would be doing much better had he stuck it out in school for a few more years? Or is it instead the case that the population of high-school dropouts is disproportionately composed of people who have attributes that lead to low earnings?
When it comes to early pregnancy, surprising new evidence indicates that Romney and most everyone else have it backward: Having a baby early does not hamper a young woman’s economic prospects, as Romney implies. Rather, young women choose to become mothers because their economic outlook is so objectively bleak.

The problem of teen/single/unwed motherhood is one of the relatively few issues liberals and conservatives seem to be able to agree on these days. The right is more likely to pitch the issue in terms of marital status (“single moms”) and the left in terms of simple age (“teen moms”), but both sides reach the same basic conclusion. Raising a child is difficult. Raising a child without help from a partner is very difficult. Doing it at an early age is going to substantially disrupt one’s educational or economic life at a critical moment, with potentially devastating consequences for one’s lifetime. Therefore, preventing early nonmarital pregnancies (whether through liberal doses of contraception and sex education, or the conservative prescription of abstinence cheerleading) would seem universally desirable.

But perhaps we’re approaching the problem from the wrong direction, according to Melissa Kearney and Phillip Levine in a new paper “Why is the Teen Birth Rate in the United States So High and Why Does It Matter?” published in the spring issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives.

They conclude that “being on a low economic trajectory in life leads many teenage girls to have children while they are young and unmarried and that poor outcomes seen later in life (relative to teens who do not have children) are simply the continuation of the original low economic trajectory.” In other words, it is a mistake to the leap from the observation that women who gave birth as teenagers are poor to the view that they’re poor because they gave birth. Lexus owners are much richer than the average American, but that doesn’t mean the average person can get ahead by buying a Lexus. Women with better economic opportunities tend to do a good job of avoiding childbirth.

Kearney and Levine used data on miscarriages to isolate the impact of giving birth from background characteristics that may contribute to a decision to give birth. When used this way as a statistical control, the negative consequences of teen childbirth appear to be small and short-lived. Young women who gave birth and young women who miscarried have similarly bleak economic outcomes. Similarly, when you compare teen mothers not to the general population but to their own sisters who aren’t teen moms “the differences are quite modest.”

The researchers also discovered that very few policies appear to affect teen birth rate, including abortion policies and sex ed. (Although stingier welfare benefits do appear to cut birthrates a bit.)
What really causes birthrates to vary are demographics and state-level economic variables. In particular, teen girls whose mothers have little education are much more likely to give birth than girls with better-educated mothers. Even more interesting is the way that economic inequality amplifies nonmarital births to teen moms. In particular, “women with low socioeconomic status have more teen, nonmarital births when they live in higher-inequality locations, all else equal.” The measure of inequality used here is not the fabled gap between the 1 percent and the 99 percent, but the gap between the median income and incomes at the 10th percentile. It measures, in other words, the gap between poor people and the local average household. It may be a proxy for how plausible it would be for a girl from a low-income household to rise into the middle class. The more difficult that rise seems, the more births there are to unmarried teens.
The upshot is that teen motherhood is much more a consequence of intense poverty than its cause. Preaching good behavior won’t do anything to reduce its incidence, and even handing out free birth control won’t contribute meaningfully to solving economic problems. Instead, family life seems to follow real economic opportunities. Where poor people can see that hard work and “playing by the rules” will reward them, they’re pretty likely to do just that. Where the system looks stacked against them, they’re more likely to abandon mainstream norms. Those who do so by becoming single teen moms end up fairing poorly in life, but those bad outcomes seem to be a result of bleak underlying circumstances rather than poor choices.