Thinking Out Loud

November 2, 2015

“I Regret Sexting”

Finding a graphic image that matched today's title proved inadvisable, so we went with something informative instead, even though it's not entirely on the subject.

Finding a graphic image that matched today’s title proved inadvisable, so we went with something informative instead, even though it’s not entirely on the subject.

On Friday I was half-listening to a Christian radio station when something said made me grab a piece of scrap paper and write down a reminder to search online for the phrase “regret sexting” and other similar phrases. (No, I did not do an image search, but thanks for asking.) The results were plentiful and if you have teenagers kids over the age of nine (yes I’m serious) you can share this with them.

  • “I wish I could go back and listen to that voice in my head saying ‘no'”
  • …looking back on it, teens seem to have more negative feelings about sexting compared to the way they felt right after they sent the messages
  • “Our friendship died because of it. Now we act as if we hardly know each other. I hate losing people I care about. Wish we didn’t do it in the beginning because maybe we would have still been friends
  • When teen relationships fall apart, one or both teens will try to hurt their ex. One way that many teens will get back at each other is to use these sexts that were sent when things are good
  • “Okay I know what you’re thinking and I’m really ashamed and disgusted of myself right now, too”
  • High school students who send and receive sexually suggestive or explicit images are more likely to have symptoms of depression
  • “My sext was forwarded”
  • Over 25 percent indicated that they had forwarded it to others (2012 US survey)
  • 11 percent of all British people have sent a sext to the wrong person (2012 UK survey)
  • “I deleted everything I had… but still…I am fearing every single consequences regarding to my education, my record, and so on… I regret every single bit of it…”
  • In the US, even if everyone involved is over 18, “any type of sexual message that both parties have not consented to can constitute sexual harassment”
  • “I messed up … but I’d be a fool not to own up to it.” ~former teen TV star
  • 61% of all sexters who have sent nude images admit that they were pressured to do it at least once

So why cover this topic today?

7 Things Parents of Kids with Phones Need to Consider

  1. This is happening. The term sexting is not new but the number of participants keeps growing. Big time. What was once fringe has become mainstream. Age is no barrier. That your kids attend a Christian school doesn’t always preclude this. The easiest thing for a parent is to look the other way, or sweep this subject under the rug. For me, the easiest thing would be to choose a different topic for today.
  2. The attitude kids have toward this is shocking. It’s what you do. It’s viewed as almost necessary; a rite of passage. Parents (and grandparents) need to realize that even kids raised with good Christian ethics (in other areas) may be living within a completely different value system than existed when we were young.
  3. The popularity of this activity is a major paradigm shift in how today’s kids view their bodies, intimacy, privacy, sexuality, fidelity, etc., and we won’t know the full ripple effects of this shift in behavior for kids raised in this paradigm for at least another decade.
  4. Prevention is a worthy goal, but for many parents reading this, the genie is already out of the bottle. Your goal now may consist of damage control or perhaps even further damage control. Yes, Superman turned back time once, but that was a movie.
  5. The internet brings with it the potential of greater fallout days, weeks, months or even years down the road. You never know. Someone in our extended family experienced this over the summer with rather massive consequences.
  6. Preoccupation with their physical bodies and all the various social aspects of their sexuality (such as today’s topic, which we could file under media, but also what goes on after school, or at weekend parties) is consuming tremendous amounts of time and mental energy. Just as porn diminishes productivity in the workplace, sexting and all its related angst diminishes academic productivity at school. 
  7. A teen or preteen who has grown up in church or Sunday School or youth group may through their own shame suddenly feel unworthy to approach God. Just as Adam and Eve hid from God in the garden, some kids feel they no longer fit in at church, or no longer want to pretend to be ‘a good church kid.’ They may no longer wish to attend weekend services or youth events. For some this can go further: Their behavior somehow becomes a trigger which leads them down the road of theological and doctrinal doubts or rebellion.

Sourced from a variety of internet sites

March 29, 2011

When Youth Ministry is Priced Out of Reach

Youth Pastor: …So guys, thanks for coming out tonight, I think we all had a great night, and don’t forget to bring five dollars with you next week. I can’t tell you what it’s for, but don’t forget… five dollars. Goodnight.


[30 Minutes later]

Student Youth Intern: So can you tell me what the five dollars is for?

Youth Pastor: Actually, I haven’t decided yet. But these kids all come from wealthy families and we’ll do something off-budget that we wouldn’t have done. Maybe we’ll just order pizza.

Youth ministry is pricey.

Or maybe it’s just that ministry is pricey.

A piece at this blog a few weeks ago about camp ministry ended up generating some comments about the costs of sending kids to summer camp, comments which were heartfelt, but a little bit of an aside to the intended main topic of that article.

Then last week, my review of the Passion 2011 Conference music CD resulted in some off-blog discussion urging me to tackle the subject of the cost of youth ministry.

There are three ways to look at this, the first of which I’ve hinted at in the introductory ‘skit’ for this blog post, which is to consider all the “extras” parents are expected to dig deep into their pockets for, both at church and school.

In the state province where I live, the Governor Premier has just ordered the Department Ministry of Education to follow a new set of guidelines with respect to what parents can be asked to shell out for their children’s education.

There are various articles online about this, like this one, which notes:

Fifty-three per cent of Ontario high schools charge fees for art classes, 41 per cent charge fees for physical education and 26 per cent impose extra costs for music courses…

This results in the new directive:

Ontario’s Ministry of Education has released new guidelines clarifying when a school can ask students for extra cash.

Under the guidelines, released Friday, schools cannot charge for textbooks, science lab materials, art supplies or musical instruments.

Schools cannot apply a fee to anything that is mandatory, essential for classroom learning, or the completion of a course, including a student registration fee.

“There should be absolutely no fee associated with any requirement for course completion for graduation,” Education Minister Leona Dombrowsky said.

It is in this type of environment that youth pastors have felt no hesitation in asking the kids — most of whom turn around and ask their parents — to bring money for this, that, and the other thing.

But there’s a second concern here: On budget, youth ministry can be staff intensive.  In a somewhat smaller church we attended a few years back, there were five staff positions.  Two were the senior pastor and the secretary.  The other three were for a children’s ministry director, a youth ministry director, and a youth intern.  In a town where many college-aged kids left town eight months of the year, it was not lost on the older people in the church that 60% of the church staff were ministering to the needs of people under age 18.

The third area where youth ministry gets expensive has to do with the costs of print materials and curriculum.   As someone who is employed in a business that sells youth ministry materials, you’d expect me not to bite the hand that feeds.  In truth however, the cynic in me sees a few hungry publishers simply trying to carve out their piece of the pie.  Sorry, but someone needs to say that.

Everyone is tripping over everyone else trying to be first in line for a piece of the action.  After all, the churches have the money, right?

The pastor’s wife had rarely not been at his side in their nearly 40 years of ministry, but bedridden with the flu, he trudged the walkway from the manse to the church alone that Sunday night.

When he returned two hours later, she asked him, “Did you give an invitation?”

He smiled and replied, “Yes, and I had two-and-a-half people come forward.”

She stared at him for a few seconds, and then said, “You mean two adults and a child?”

He winked at her and responded, “Nope.  Two kids and an adult.”

The above story is meant to convey that, with their whole lives stretched out before them, the faith steps of a child or teen are vitally important.  And many people who espouse this will say that you can’t put a price on reaching a young person with the saving message of Jesus Christ.

But somewhere along the line, that evolved into a thinking that ministry can take place on a fee-for-service basis. And it’s further complicated when the fees have to be paid “up front” before a child or teen can attend or participate in the event in question.  And it’s even further complicated when the group is a mix of “have” and “have not” families; wealthier families mixing with people who have had to deal with foreclosures or evictions.

So it’s not surprising that some people are concerned about the effect of all this on the poorer kids on the fringes.

I’m concerned about the message that it sends to all the kids.

…Last time I checked, the gospel was supposed to be free.

(NLT) III John 1:7 For they are traveling for the Lord, and they accept nothing from people who are not believers.

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