I posted recently about the power of story to unlock discussion with young people, and about the two collections of story-based discussion starters which I’ve written. The resource below is extracted from the first of those: The Ideas Factory. I’ve chosen this one in particular because as a volunteer youth worker who mainly works with lads, I’m frequently reminded that this is a live and challenging issue for so many of them.
The resource below is simple to use – just read the story, then ask the first bank of questions. With some young people that may be enough – with others you may want to select further questions from the second and third set of questions. The third set ties the story and theme into a Bible passage, and looks to God for some ultimate wisdom and truth. Alternatively, you may just want to give the story and questions to the young people to work though in groups, or on their own at home. I hope you find it useful in addressing the issue of porn with teenagers – not in a judgemental sense, but in a way that sheds light into a dark and secretive area.
Story: The dirty little secret
For his 15th birthday, Mike’s parents had bought him the most incredible present: a state-of-the-art PC with a top graphics card, lightning speed processor and in-built Blu-ray player. At the same time, they decided to connect their home to high-speed wireless Internet, so that Mike would be able to use his new computer to download notes and information to help him revise for his GCSEs. Mike was overjoyed – although his excitement was more connected to the possibilities of intercontinental video game death matches than the homework help.
One day however, when Mike really was searching for mock maths tests, he decided to put a few, well, different search terms into Google. What he got back was a stream of highly explicit photographs, and even movie footage of people having sex.
A month later, Mike was completely addicted. He’d got into the pattern of coming home, locking his room and looking at pornography every single night. Sometimes, he’d look more than once. His desire had become insatiable.
As a Christian, Mike feels dirty and sinful, but can’t stop himself from looking again and again. He’s prayed about it, but his will just doesn’t seem to be strong enough. He feels like he’s locked into a cycle of sin, and in his better moments, he wishes that the computer had never arrived.
The Questions: Opening up
- What advice would you give to Mike if he confided in you about this situation?
- What strategies could he use to protect himself against the ‘cycle of sin’?
- Why do you think prayer hasn’t saved him?
- What might the consequences be if this behaviour continues for a long time?
- Is what Mike is doing definitely wrong? Is it, as some doctors say, perfectly healthy? Why or why not?
- Do you think the making and watching of pornography hurts anyone? Why or why not – and if so, who does it hurt?
- Why do you think people – ‘actors and actresses, or models’ – get involved in making porn? How do you think they feel about their involvement, and how might they feel about it later on in life?
- What do you think will happen to the role of pornography in our culture? Will it become bigger or smaller? Will boundaries be pushed back or brought in?
Read 1 Thessalonians 4: 3-8
- What might God feel about Mike’s situation? How realistic do you think these verses are today?
- How do you think God feels about Mike? (Romans 3: 22-24 may help here)
- If this is an issue for you, consider becoming accountable by telling someone you can trust. Or if you are the person who is confided in, make sure you’re a real friend and avoid laughing at or judging them.