Speculating on "Generation Z" and Early Exposure to Sexual Themes

Generation Z at age 1, originally uploaded by Wuertele.

ChurchRelevance.com posted some pretty sobering thoughts about what the generation that is born 2001-2021 will be like. The prominent thought in the post is that because of the explicit nature of popular song lyrics, the next generation of kids will more likely to have looser views on sex and sexuality. The post points to the list of 2009 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice music nominees as an indicator of the type of music that is listened to now by kids.

When I read stuff like this or talk with people about it, I am very cautious. I think the knee-jerk reaction is to swing the pendulum in the opposite direction of those cultural things we are trying to counteract rather than engaging culture, redeeming what we can and leaning on the Holy Spirit’s guidance to deal with what we can’t redeem.

In dealing with issues of sexuality with children, I think we need to equip and empower parents to cultivate a healthy view of sexuality with their children. It needs to encompass more than a simple “talk.” Healthy, Godly views of sexuality need to be developed over time. Parents need to be aware of teachable moments within the context of everyday life when they build on a child developing a healthy sense of sexuality. Parents also need to model a healthy view of sexuality themselves that is not connected to shame.

I stumbled across a series of books that I think would be helpful for parents as they rear their children in a sexually charged culture. There are different books based on developmental levels. They are meant for parent and child to read together. The books are part of the God’s Design for Sex series.

What are your thoughts on this blog post? What are you doing with your kids to deal with early exposure to sexual themes?


4 thoughts on “Speculating on "Generation Z" and Early Exposure to Sexual Themes

  1. I was surprised as well at the Kids Choice nominees in several categories. We do need to remember another thing. MTV and Nickelodeon are branded together. Nick is training kids for MTV (which quite frankly, I think, is not the heavy hitter it once was…so my prediction: look for a revamp of that network soon…in my humble opinion).

    Also, with the recent addition of The-N network (to bridge the gap between Nick and MTV – I think we are seeing the trend. The-N is filled with several sexually oriented shows and is being built on that.

    I'm not attacking a single studio here, but what is true is that it shows a drift to go younger with sexually explicit themes. These trends carry through all ways – clothes, tv, music, films, etc.

    Even last year's "scandal" involving a certain cast of a certain musical of a certain high school (ahem…) barely raised an eyebrow. The media tried to pump it as scandal,but honestly, I felt they were hard-pressed to find enough parents who gave a hoot. Disney's response to actually keep those cast members in the loop showed that they didn't care that much, and in my opinion, their decision to keep them was seen as caring, compassionate, and "Oh my. How forgiving of Disney! If only the rest of the world could not be so judgmental. See? Disney knows how to accept an apology and move on."

    They also know who to keep around to keep the $$ flowing.

    So, that is an example of sex entering kid culture. My oldest kids were well aware of what went on. And the growing trend of kids who send pictures of themselves…younger and younger.

    When I was studying youth trends in college in 2001 ( a delightful class) the average age for kids to reach teenage-dom and puberty was 10 years old. This was a decrease from the average age of 12-13 just 10 years prior. This means that in the next few years, we should see teenage-dom drop to the age of 8-9 years old very soon. In turn this means that youth ministry will also have to change as those issues will become different as well.

    So, how do you combat sex culture with kids? We have to educate parents on how to educate kids and walk beside them both to help any way we are needed.

    • Desiree says:

      Yes, the-N is a terrible sex charged network. It's ridiculous.
      I don't think Disney is so much forgiving as it wants to make money. I think the reason no one cared was that it was clearly a mistake they owned up to that. I think in the future though they will remember that it was frowned on.
      You said that teenage-dom will drop to the age of 8-9. I am already starting to see that in our childrens outreach program. Some of their conversations are shocking. I would've never thought to talk that way at that age, especially in front of an adult.

  2. Henry, this is a great article. God's gift, sex, is not an evil thing, and we shouldn't teach our children to view it as an evil–but as something very good within marriage. Our "knee-jerk" reactions and the shame they cause can sometimes bring more hurt than the culture's permissiveness. May the Lord protect the next generation from the evil without and within.

  3. Desiree says:

    Thanks for recommending some books that could be helpful.

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