Distracted by Porn, Weed, Fortnite and Social Media…

Distracted by Porn, Weed, Fortnite, and Social Media…

With porn, weed, Fortnite, and social media, it’s never been more difficult to be a young guy.

Today’s guys face a lot of distractions—a lot more than I faced as a young man. Sure, when I was 13 in 1983, I had access to porn, drugs and raunchy entertainment media.

  • But porn wasn’t just a click away in my pocket; it was in a magazine at my friend’s house if we dared to sneak into his dad’s bedroom.
  • Marijuana was available, but it wasn’t mainstream and encouraged—and it sure wasn’t legal.
  • I loved movies, music and television, but my house had one screen and a boombox. Now we have a dozen screens, and my entire entertainment media library is available in the cloud. Name a movie or music video. We can click and watch it within seconds, regardless of rating.

But I think the biggest difference between then and now is self-esteem. Sure, it’s always been tough. Back then it was difficult to measure up at school. You had to wear the right clothes, say the right things and blend in. I wore knee-high socks with yellow and blue stripes at the top, an OP shirt and my Members Only jacket, even when it was 90 degrees! I couldn’t afford Vuarnets, but I had some knockoff Ray-Bans. (Tom Cruise appeared on movie posters wearing them in 1983—Ray-Bans were the rage!)

But all the right clothes didn’t make me popular. People are people (Depeche Mode articulated that in 1984). I struggled fitting in.

The one saving grace was that at 2:43 the bell rang and I could go home away from all that pressure until the next morning. Today that pressure never ends. At 2:43 the bell rings, the phone comes out of the pocket, and young people enter an entirely different world where they not only face the continued pressure to measure up but actually have a numeric value for exactly how well they are “liked” and how many “friends” they have, along with a never-ending stream of comments from sources known and unknown. It’s like a personal self-esteem barometer. Is it any surprise anxiety, depression and suicide are at an unprecedented high?

Today’s guys are bombarded with distractions, and it has never been more necessary to talk with young men about self-esteem, screens, sexual temptation and substance abuse.

Without fail whenever a parent or a youth worker asks me a question about the young man they care about, it’s always about one of these four battles.

“If I didn’t limit my son’s screen time he’d play X-box all night long.”  

“I was looking through my son’s browser the other day and I discovered he was looking at porn.”

“My son seemed so confident, but his self-image is growing more and more dependent on ‘LIKES.’”

“I never even fathomed my son would try drugs, and when we confronted him about smoking a bowl with his friends he actually replied, ‘What’s the big deal? It’s legal.’”

This is parenting today. These are the battles our boys are fighting—maybe not every one of these…but every guy struggles with at least one.

So how can we help today’s young men develop a strategy to fight these battles?

One word: conversations.

Sure, screen time limits and Internet filters and all the other loving guardrails Mom and Dad provide can help, but nothing equips our kids to fight these battles more than conversations about truth. The best way to counter the bad information they’re getting in their Insta-feed is the good information they are getting at breakfast with dad, after school with their young pastor…from Mom at the dinner table.

Are you proactively initiating meaningful conversations about these four potent distractions? Have you ever dialogued with your kids about if getting wasted is really a big deal?

Where will your kids hear truth?

How about at breakfast this week?

JONATHAN McKEE is the author of over 20 books, including the brand new THE GUY’S GUIDE TO FOUR BATTLES EVERY YOUNG MAN MUST FACETHE TEEN’S GUIDE TO SOCIAL MEDIA & MOBILE DEVICES, and other books helping parents engage their kids in conversations about truth. Jonathan speaks to parents and leaders worldwide all while providing free resources and help for families on TheSource4Parents.com.