Netflix was educating your teenagers the moment you gave them access to an account with no restrictions. The streaming conglomerate that has changed the movie industry, the theater industry and everything in between offers tens of thousands of adult content with the click of a button. At one point in time you had to do some searching, but now they are producing some main titles that have stirred up controversy the past several years. 13 Reasons Why was one of the first that caused Netflix to go and put a warning label in it. Now their newest self-made show is titled, Sex Education (Common Sense Media Review).
If teenagers are taking a Bird Box challenge, I can only imagine what challenges or jokes can be made from this. Netflix is literally teaching us how to "Netflix and Chill." Don't get me wrong, I'm not ignorant to the fact that teenagers find out about sex from a variety of sources. If it wasn't the porn stash under a friends parents' bed or magazines found in a dumpster, one way or another sex is a natural question and desire within teenagers that they seek out. However there is a difference between them finding it and you giving it to them. Not that this specific show is pornographic, although there is full frontal nudity, but it is revealing of everything our culture says about sex. If you won't educate them about sex, Netflix is more than happy to.
The description of the show, if the title didn't give it away, makes it clear that the whole purpose is to teach teenagers about both the awkwardness and deeply human desire for sex. As with anything in life, when you are raising teenagers, you need to control the narrative. Will they see things you wished they did not? Yes. Will they do things you wished they had thought about first? Always. This is not a post about sheltering your child from reality, but television, just like the internet, isn't reality. It is a created false reality that has a goal in mind, to sell you on the idea of something. If you don't talk to your children about sex, then by all means, you can let the culture do that for you. I'm not saying there is anything inherently wrong with Netflix's choice for a show, but if this is the only thing teaching your child about the intricacies and intimacy of sex then you are abdicating your responsibility of raising your child.
As a Christian, we need to be the first to express to our children the sanctity of sex. For a clear understanding, read 1 Corinthians Chapter 7. It can just be teenage angst, something they do and we turn our eyes away. It could be something we encourage and say, well if you are going to do it any way, be safe and wear a condom. However, I'm sure many Christian parents of teenagers are scared their child will make the same mistakes they did and wish to protect their teenager from mistakes they themselves made. Talk to them about your mistakes, be honest about why you hope they make better choices then you did. Create a relationship to where they both respect you as a parent but come to you for advice. It is through a relationship that you can pass on a healthy, Christ centered view of sex.
As an end note, there is evidence for fidelity within marriage and the overall view of the sacredness of sex within marriage as an important teaching point. A 1994 study by the University of Chicago states that, "The people who have the most sex and are happiest with their sex lives are monogamous couples." Another, more recent argument dated in 2016, in looking at the journal of Sexuality & Culture, David Hayward of PsyPost says, "If these results are correct, religious people looking forward to marriage may also be able to look forward to more satisfying sex lives." There is still an argument to be made for teaching abstinence not only for religious obedience but for overall sexual satisfaction.
In Truth & Love,
Matthew J. Diaz
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Photo Credit: Netflix