Motherhood Matters: Letting your teenager read, watch ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is a terrible idea

mother and daughterDeseretNews 10 February 2015
In general, I’m a live and let live kind of girl. Every family travels their own path with unique needs and circumstances. If you want to buy an iPad for your 3-year-old and an iPhone for your 7-year-old, I trust you know what’s best for your family. Private school, public school, home school, pull your kids out for a year to surf — whatever. I don’t care if you eat organic or recycle, what kind of video games your kids play or books they read. You raise your kids; I’ll raise mine.

But allowing your children to watch or read “Fifty Shades of Grey” can cause significant damage to your child and their future relationships. Pornography isn’t good for anyone, but if you think it’s no big deal for your teenager to consume extreme pornographic material, you’re wrong.

You’ve likely read studies explaining why teenagers lack decision-making skills. Their brains literally haven’t developed those capacities. Teenagers are much more likely to form addictions and be confused about appropriate behavior. Further studies indicate that consuming pornography as a teenager changes the brain. When teens are exposed to pornography filled with domination, violence and abuse, they struggle to form their own healthy relationships.

Some of you are saying, “What? No parent condones ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ for kids.” But teenagers everywhere are reading it. For the past three years, my sons’ high school English teachers have regularly reminded their class “Fifty Shades of Grey” does not count as literature, may not be used for book reports and erotica is not allowed in the classroom. Hallelujah for wise teachers.

You’re an adult. In theory, you’ve got your sexual behavior all sorted out (Really? Does anyone? I think pornography can hurt any relationship). But do you really want your teenager learning about sexual domination and submission? Sure, this sort of thing has been around for a long time, but in the past it’s been relegated to porn magazines, seedy shops and X-rated theaters. “Fifty Shades” pushes sexual abuse to the forefront of our culture and in doing so insinuates acceptance and normalcy of deviant behaviour.

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