Category archives: Family

Alarming Study Raises Awareness of Teens and Technology

by Krystle Gabele

December 15, 2008

According to a recent survey published by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and CosmoGirl.com, approximately 20% of teens (ages 13-19) and 33% of young adults (ages 20-26) have sent or posted pictures of themselves either nude or semi nude.  If this statistic is not shocking enough, of the 1,280 survey participants, 39% of the teens surveyed said they have sent or posted suggestive messages, while 59% of all young adults have done the same thing. 

The questions in the study were asked and categorized by the sex.  When asked, “What do you think are the reasons that girls send/post sexy messages or pictures/video of themselves?,” approximately 85% of teens and 80% of young adults agree that the main reason behind sending these sexy messages is to get or keep a guy’s attention.  Another popular response from both the teens and young adults was that it is a great way to get noticed.

However, when the question was asked of males, both teens and young adults surveyed said the main reason guys sent or posted sexy messages was to get or keep a girl’s attention, only to be followed by guys wanting to be fun or flirtatious.  

When asked how the teens and young adults described such activities, a majority of young adults said they viewed this as flirty, while others viewed this behavior as being stupid and dangerous.  When asked about a characteristic that describes the people who resort to these messages, a majority said this behavior was flirty, while many felt this behavior was stupid, desperate, immature, and insecure.

Then, why do teens and young adults still feel compelled to post provocative messages online?  Is it because they feel a need to be desired or wanted by the opposite sex?

In a society that seems to be driven by the line that says, “sex sells,” this type of behavior can lead to many dangers.  According to PC Magazine, online sex predators are gradually threatening the security of many teenagers through sites like Facebook and MySpace.  If these sites are used properly, they can be safe places for networking.  When posting semi-nude or nude pictures on these sites, a teenager is setting themselves up for potential risk of abduction, stalking, rapes, etc. 

Additionally, employers and potential employers do look at this material, and the study indicates that many view this is as disgusting and disrespectful.

Let’s get back to basics.  Teenagers and young adults do not need to resort to such behavior when they have respect for themselves and hold high standards.  When you are a teenager, you might have a concept about what true love is, but the concept is flawed due to the overwhelming emotions that you experience.  Enjoy your time being a teenager!  Adulthood comes fast enough.  Be patient, love comes in due time with trust in God’s plan for your lives. 

Parents often recognize that their child participates in things online that they would not approve.  According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project survey, “65% of all parents and 64% of all teens say that teens do things online that they wouldn’t want their parents to know about.” 

This is why parental involvement is so crucial and needed.  Family Research Council has a wonderful publication available online that provides ways to keep your child from engaging in risky behaviors online. 

More on the Crushing Costs of Higher Education

by Chris Gacek

December 12, 2008

As a follow-up to my earlier post on the growing unaffordability of higher education and its effects on families, I bring your attention to a Wall Street Journal article.  The author, Philip Shiskin, writes, “As the economy shrinks, joblessness expands and small-business owners lose income, many students and their parents are struggling to make payments for the second half of the academic year, which are typically due this month or in January.”  The story describes one parent who is carrying $100,000 in debt for her three children while planning to fund a fourth child.  Finally, it seems standard now that a good private college or university will be cost $50,000 per year.  In my opinion, this “business model” is completely unsustainable and is crushing parents and young adults across America.

Two Important Pieces from the Washington Times

by Chris Gacek

December 2, 2008

Over the extended holiday weekend, the Washington Times published an editorial and a commentary piece that are well worth reading:

  • The Times editorial appeared on Friday, November 28, and was entitled “Judicial Imperialism.”  First, the paper discusses the worrying ramifications of the recent settlement by eHarmony, a California company, which was forced by the state of New Jersey to offer dating services to gay customers in New Jersey.  Second, the editorial discusses the dangerous and illegitimate effort to have the California Supreme Court thwart the will of the Golden State’s voters and declare its recently-passed marriage amendment unconstitutional. 
  • The commentary piece was authored by Jeffrey T. Kuhner.  His first Sunday opinion column with the Times was published on September 28th.  In Kuhner’s latest, entitled “Obama vs. Pope Benedict,” he recognizes the struggle that may erupt between Mr. Obama and the Pope should the new administration pass the Freedom of Choice Act.  He sets the stage as follows:

Mr. Obama signing the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) “would be the equivalent of a war,” a senior Vatican official told Time magazine last week. “It would be like saying, ‘We’ve heard the Catholic Church and we have no interest in their concerns.’ ”

Getting High at Home

by Michael Leaser

August 14, 2008

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) released its annual National Survey of American Attitudes of Substance Abuse this morning. Most of the survey’s findings aren’t too surprising, but they are disturbing nonetheless. Among the findings: About two-thirds of high school students and twenty percent of middle school students report that drugs are kept, sold, or used on school grounds. A quarter of teens know a parent or guardian of a friend that uses marijuana. And for the first time, prescription drugs are easier for adolescents to obtain than alcohol. It should come as no surprise that the likeliest place for teens to get prescription drugs is in the home.

Taking a close look at federal survey data, the Family Research Council’s Mapping America recently analyzed the significant influence of family structure on adolescent drug use.

Ganging Up on Violence

by Michael Leaser

August 12, 2008

Want to keep your children’s hearts and minds away from gang influence and its accompanying violence? How about more recess and after-school programs? That’s what Chicago fifth graders are requesting. Could this work? Maybe. One very telling element in this proposal is their desire for parents to run these after-school programs.

In this week’s Mapping America, federal survey data show that married parents and regular church attendance are actually the most effective one-two punch against student fighting.

The Most Effective Peacekeepers

by Michael Leaser

August 6, 2008

A former deputy director of children and family services in Illinois recently described her disturbing encounter with a bunch of young children witnessing, but apparently doing nothing to stop, a neighborhood fight. Visibly disturbed by the incident, she offers several solutions to reducing student violence, at the core of which is good parents building their own neighborhood.

The latest Mapping America lends support to these suggestions and demonstrates with federal survey data that married parents are the most effective peacekeeping force.

An Open Letter to Rob Boston on Secular Arguments against Same-Sex “Marriage”

by Peter Sprigg

June 21, 2008

[Note: On June 17, Rob Boston of Americans United for Separation of Church and State posted an item on their blog criticizing Family Research Council for ads that we ran in several California newspapers for Father’s Day. Below is a response.]

Dear Rob,

I read your June 17 blog post in which you said, “I challenge the FRC and other Religious Right groups to come up with one good secular reason against same-sex marriage. I don’t think they can do it.”

Perhaps you just haven’t been paying attention. I am sending you a complimentary copy of my book, Outrage: How Gay Activists and Liberal Judges Are Trashing Democracy to Redefine Marriage (Washington: Regnery, 2004-also available online). You can ignore Chapter 8 if you like, since it offers nine pages of religious arguments. Concentrate instead on Chapters 1-7, which offer 107 pages of secular arguments against same-sex marriage.

If that’s too much for you, you can read my paper “Questions and Answers; What’s Wrong with Letting Same-Sex Couples ‘Marry’?” It’s 16 pages, and 100% secular.

You might also want to read our paper titled “Ten Arguments from Social Science against Same-Sex ‘Marriage.’” (I can’t take credit for that one). All ten of the arguments are secular.

If even that 6-page paper is too long for you, take a look at my very short piece that answers the perennial question “What Harm Would Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ Do?” It describes (briefly) eight specific harms to society that would likely result from same-sex marriage. In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that this publication was originally produced as an issue-oriented “tract” in cooperation with the American Tract Society. However, the eight arguments are all secular (the American Tract Society had to request that we tack on a Scripture verse at the end in order to give it a religious flavor).

Finally, let me recommend to you David Blankenhorn’s book The Future of Marriage (New York: Encounter Books, 2007). Blankenhorn hardly qualifies as a member of the “Religious Right,” since he explicitly rejects the biblical teaching on the immorality of homosexual conduct. However, he argues vigorously against same-sex marriage in 261 pages of 100% secular arguments. My review of his book is on our website.

One final note-in your challenge you say, “And don’t try to give me that ‘marriage-is-about-raising-children’ line.” This comment is roughly equivalent to me challenging the advocates of same-sex marriage-but then adding, “And don’t try to give me that ‘equal-rights-under-law’ line.” If you want to have a serious debate, you have an obligation to interact seriously with your opponent’s chief argument-in this case, with the overwhelming historical and anthropological evidence that links marriage with procreation.

Here’s how Blankenhorn responds to what we might call “that ‘marriage-is-not-about-procreation’ line:”

By the way, did you know that cars are not intrinsically connected to driving? When you acquire ownership of a car, society does not impose on you a binding obligation to drive it. If you buy a car but fail to drive it, the state does not for that reason revoke your driver’s license or refuse to grant you one, or take your car away. If you do not drive, but do collect antique cars, there is nothing wrong or illegal about it. Cars can be about many things, including pleasure, aesthetics, economic gain, and social status. Driving is therefore not fundamental to cars.

… This way of arguing is clearly preposterous. That it is widely employed by prominent journalists, eminent judges, and tenured professors does not make it any less preposterous. We can either think like analysts looking at a social institution, or think like lawyers looking for a loophole. The evidence … shows overwhelmingly-I believe beyond any reasonable doubt-that marriage as a human institution is intrinsically connected to bearing and raising children. To argue otherwise is to argue like a lawyer looking for a loophole; it is not intellectually or morally serious, at least insofar as we actually care about the institution we are discussing (The Future of Marriage, pp. 152-153).

Rob, whether you find these arguments “good” or “solid” is a matter of opinion. But please don’t accuse us again of failing to offer secular reasons to oppose same-sex marriage.

Sincerely,

Peter Sprigg

Vice President for Policy

Family Research Council

Washington, DC

eHarmony apologizes for “Navigating the One Night Stand”

by JP Duffy

April 22, 2008

Last week in its e-newsletter, eHarmony published an article promoting high-risk promiscuous behavior and “one night stands.” Over the weekend, my wife and I wrote an op-ed published by Worldnetdaily.com responding to “Navigating the One Night Stand.” We have received many supportive emails from other eHarmony couples hoping that eHarmony would issue an apology.

Last night, eHarmony released a statement retracting the article and apologizing to its readers. We fully accept the apology and are greatly encouraged that the statement calls the article “completely inconsistent” with the relationship service that they offer to their members.

After posting the Worldnetdaily.com op-ed, I did more research on Dr. Neil Clark Warren, founder of eHarmony. I found that he has made past statements opposing sex outside of marriage. An article from the May 18, 2005 edition of USA Today noted Dr. Warren’s opposition to premarital sex because it “clouds decisions” in dating relationships. I believe that eHarmony can continue to expand its market and maintain its brand name reputation by holding firm to the values that have made it so successful.

eHarmony’s members would further benefit by a conversation about why this behavior is “inconsistent” with the company’s mission statement. For example, Dr. Warren could explain his opposition to sex outside of marriage and engage in a dialogue with his readers about the dangers associated with pre-marital sex and cohabitation. Cohabitation has been a stealth killer of marriage on two levels. Cohabitation is a cancer at the front end by diverting tens of millions of people from getting married at all. There were 21 million never married Americans in 1970 but three times as many in 2006. Those who cohabit are 50% more likely to divorce than those who never live together. The “Navigating the One Night Stand” article encourages this pattern. However, thorough marriage preparation with an inventory test and mentorship by an older couple can provide an amazing 97% track record of success. Mike and Harriet McManus are a couple leading the way to reverse these troubling statistics. Mike and Harriet are founders of Marriage Savers and authors of the new book Living Together: Myths, Risks, and Answers. They would make excellent contributors to the eHarmony advice website.

Some of eHarmony’s readers may not agree with Dr. Warren’s stance on premarital sex - but I think they would appreciate and respect eHarmony for remaining grounded in its determination to fulfill its mission to “help couples achieve stronger, healthier and happier marriages.” Premarital sex does exactly the opposite by undermining - and yes - “clouding decisions.” Promoting the healthiest and most beneficial outcome which is abstinence until marriage would help eHarmony make great strides toward achieving the goals of their mission statement.

However, most importantly, I thank eHarmony for recognizing its mistake and making it clear that they wish to remain in the values-matching service business.

The Price of Broken Families

by Michael Leaser

April 17, 2008

The Institute for American Values just released a groundbreaking report this week called “The Taxpayer Costs of Divorce and Unwed Childbearing” [PDF]. Using very conservative calculations, the study estimates that fragmented families cost the American taxpayer at least $112 billion a year. Put another way, over the last five years American taxpayers have spent $500 billion on the war in Iraq and $560 billion on broken families.

Common Sense from Down Under

by Michael Fragoso

March 6, 2008

Last night former Australian Prime Minister John Howard gave the Irving Kristol Lecture at the American Enterprise Institute’s annual dinner. PM Howard is well known as a relentless foe of radical Islam and an indefatigable supporter of Australia’s special relationship with the United States, so the conservative views he expressed on the War on Terror and Geopolitics were to be expected. What was surprising, however, was his treatment of marriage and family as the foundation of any flourishing society. He said:

It remains a reality in Western societies that two of the greatest contributors to poverty are joblessness and family breakdown.

We should maintain a cultural bias in favour of traditional families. That doesn’t mean discriminating against single parents but it does mean ceaselessly propounding the advantages for a child of being raised by both a mother and father.

Marriage is a bedrock social institution - with an unmistakable meaning and resonance. It should be kept as such.

He only goes on from there to lay out strong family policy he introduced-the entire speech is worth checking out. What can one say but, “Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oi Oi Oi!”

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