When he appears, she discovers that he is a man in his 40s.
Annie is upset at first, but he charms her into going with him to a motel.
This super-sexualisation of our teens and even our children is recognised and often reacted to with abhorrence (2), but parents, teachers and the Church community can feel helpless to do anything.
Although well intentioned, the sex education provided by schools seems inadequate and insufficient given the challenges our children face in their sexual behaviour, and in everyday life. When it comes to sexual behaviour, parents and schools despair at the current trends.
“The two of them [Abu Sin and Christina] composed enticing videos which received thousands of followers and viewers from all over the world within a short period of time. Abu Sin, nicknamed for his projecting tooth, became famous and received negative attention.” A Saudi lawyer told the Authorities said he is 19 years old, although he looks considerably younger in the footage.
In one video, he tells Christina he was 20 before she replies sceptically: “But you’re only 13”.
Fourteen-year-old Annie Cameron lives in suburban Chicago. When she meets Charlie in an online chat room, she establishes an instant connection with him. Over time, as the two bond by sending phone text messages and through instant messaging, he bumps his age up to 20, then 25.
Annie is taken aback at first, but comes to believe that the two of them are in love.
This is in addition to a constant bombardment of sexualised images, videos and advertisements.
Writing up my research findings and thoughts in The Class: Living and Learning in the Digital Age, I found what teenagers wish for most is control over how they spend their time and with whom – not just to use digital media for its own sake.
To illustrate, here are three moments in a day in the life of today’s digitally equipped teenagers.
Have they no time for the leisurely face-to-face conversations of old, for spending time with family, or even for a good night’s sleep uninterrupted by the glowing screen of a smartphone?
I spent a year with a class of 13-year-olds to find out.