Youth and Fan Fiction

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Roy
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Youth and Fan Fiction

Post by Roy » 17 Oct 2019, 10:19

What is the potential long term harm of sexually explicit fan fiction on youth?
Is this similar in regard to long term consequences as sneaking into a rated R movie (or string of rated R movies)?

I am not sure that the usual arguments against porn hold up well against fan fiction. Is it addictive? Would it impede the development of normal healthy romantic relationships based upon trust and mutual respect? Maybe in some cases and for some individuals. Maybe not in other cases and for other individuals.

From my efforts to google this phenomenon, it appears that youth reading sexually explicit fan fiction is not uncommon. Many of the commenters at sites where they discuss this issue state that they read sexually explicit fan fiction during their own development and upbringing and it did not appear to lead them to experiment with sex in real life nor to have abnormal or unhealthy sex lives once they did become sexually active.

How might a parent use common sense best practices without totally freaking out over a youth's fan fiction fantasy sexual expression? (asking for a friend ;) ;) ;) )
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

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SamBee
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Re: Youth and Fan Fiction

Post by SamBee » 17 Oct 2019, 11:55

I think it leads to unrealistic expectations.
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1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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DarkJedi
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Re: Youth and Fan Fiction

Post by DarkJedi » 17 Oct 2019, 12:16

I have to admit I'm not sure I'm really understanding the scope of what you're asking Roy. I am familiar with what fan fiction is, and have read some related to Star Wars. The stories I have read are simply other stories written about characters by fans of the stories (as in Star Wars). I guess I am unaware that there is such a thing as sexually explicit fan fiction. Maybe I'm missing out?

So, is your friend's question/concern that his or her teen is reading this sexually explicit fan fiction and how to deal with that as a Latter-day Saint parent?

If that is the question, I suppose it would be similar to how the parent might deal with R-rated movies (if concerned about those) or regular soft or hard porn (if concerned about those). My children are now young adults, and R-rated movies were not generally off limits to them as older teens depending on what garnered the rating. Schindler's List, for instance, is rated R but my children were encouraged to watch it. Perhaps they would not have been encouraged to watch it if it contained sexually explicit material (note that we do not consider the nudity in that movie to be sexually explicit). I am not aware that they watched R movies that we didn't approve of, but I am aware that at least some of them had accessed porn. The trick there is that while my wife and I were/are on the same page regarding porn and its possible harmful effects, our reaction to it was different. Yelling/screaming or shaming the kid is probably not going to bring about the desired result (if the desired result is ceasing the behavior). But since every kid and every parent is different and there really are no rules that apply to everyone I'm not sure there is a "best" way to deal with it. However, a calm, rational discussion of the issue is probably worth a try.
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Heber13
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Re: Youth and Fan Fiction

Post by Heber13 » 17 Oct 2019, 13:14

I am not sure, but I would guess that it varies. For the majority of youth it would seem harmless long-term. It kind of sounds similar to fears people had when I was young that watching Bugs Bunny would have long-term impact on me because he drops anvils on Daffy's head all the time, or shoots Elmer Fudd in the face with a shotgun (that only made Elmer's face black and his hair stand up).

That may be less than perfect images for me growing up, but I've never dropped anvils on anyone since. I had a pretty healthy up-bringing and could tell what was fiction and funny and what was reality.

There are likely to be the exceptions. Some youth may for whatever reason have more trouble distinguishing between reality and fiction, and have thoughts they act upon. But...they may be getting more of that on the Internet anyway, so maybe reading fiction is no big deal. For the majority of youth, probably not an issue...but it could be a risk for some. Just because it is a risk for some, doesn't mean it needs to be a standard for all.

I don't think youth need to be prudes to be good christians. A little sexuality can be ok and not be so taboo. Maybe we don't intentionally rent explicit R-Rated movies, but if we do watch R-Rated movies in the home and it has some stuff, we don't freak out about it.
Roy wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 10:19
How might a parent use common sense best practices without totally freaking out over a youth's fan fiction fantasy sexual expression?
I would say that a parent should have open and real talks on sexuality with the youth so they have some perspective. It is a part of life. Books and movies can really dramatize things for entertainment purposes. What is difficult to see in books and movies is healthy expressions of long-term love and commitment in relationships. I think as the youth get older, they'll need to explore some things. They just need perspective and boundaries to know the realities and the consequences that go along with choices.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

Roy
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Re: Youth and Fan Fiction

Post by Roy » 17 Oct 2019, 13:47

SamBee wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 11:55
I think it leads to unrealistic expectations.
Yes, I agree. How can one read about sexual intimacy in fantasy situations and remain grounded in reality if that person has never experienced sexual intimacy IRL. Yet, that seems to suggest that only people that have been sexually active should read material with this sort of content. That seems wrong to me. There should be some middle ground where the reader is aware that there is a healthy dose of unrealistic fantasy going on and take it all "with a grain of salt."

@DarkJedi It appears that there are a number of websites that exist for the purpose of sharing fan fiction stories. The stories are supposed to be labeled as to what sort of objectionable content they may contain. Sometimes stories are submitted without the warning labels and fly under the radar until someone complains and it gets flagged. I also understand that many of these websites may have sections for kid friendly fan fiction but there is not really much in the way of safeguards preventing a teen from clicking on the more adult content.
DarkJedi wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 12:16
Yelling/screaming or shaming the kid is probably not going to bring about the desired result (if the desired result is ceasing the behavior). But since every kid and every parent is different and there really are no rules that apply to everyone I'm not sure there is a "best" way to deal with it. However, a calm, rational discussion of the issue is probably worth a try.
Yeah, I think the desired result is an understanding that the content is not age appropriate and that parents have an obligation to restrict access to outside media and slowly relax restrictions as children age and mature.
Heber13 wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 13:14
I would say that a parent should have open and real talks on sexuality with the youth so they have some perspective. It is a part of life. Books and movies can really dramatize things for entertainment purposes. What is difficult to see in books and movies is healthy expressions of long-term love and commitment in relationships. I think as the youth get older, they'll need to explore some things. They just need perspective and boundaries to know the realities and the consequences that go along with choices.
Yes, thank you!
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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LDS_Scoutmaster
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Re: Youth and Fan Fiction

Post by LDS_Scoutmaster » 10 Nov 2019, 21:33

Personally I think they are harmless. I agree having open dialog is helpful, and can be very hard to get started, especially if the youth doesn't know that the parent knows or thinks that the stories they are reading are sexual explicit.
It may give false expectations etc. but I think we all had false expectations before we became adults.
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SamBee
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Re: Youth and Fan Fiction

Post by SamBee » 11 Nov 2019, 06:36

In a lot of these stories, people just hook up or "initiate" intimacy without much trouble at all. Romance or even just sex requires a bit of work.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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Re: Youth and Fan Fiction

Post by Curt Sunshine » 11 Nov 2019, 09:10

Like pretty much everything, it depends on the specific story. Some is just an excuse for the sexual content - just like other genres. For some, the sexual content is essentially incidental and simple - just like other genres. In some, the content is hardcore pornographic, while in others it is general - just like other genres.

My first exposure to written pornography was western cowboy novels. Those novels were a western cowboy fiction setting as the excuse to write sexually explicit scenes. They were western cowboy porn, plain and simple. That wasn't a reflection on the genre; it was using the genre for a specific purpose.

Same thing with fan fiction; just a different genre.

(In general, my biggest issue is the unrealistic expectations created for people who haven't experienced sex, as well as the possibility of developing an obsession due to individual addictive tendencies.)
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desertghost93
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Re: Youth and Fan Fiction

Post by desertghost93 » 11 Nov 2019, 23:40

I to think it is pretty harmless. Of course if it gets out of hand, then it may be time to get involved. This is likely just a phase they are going through. You can actually try to steer them out of this without being forceful or aggressive about it. Try to help them find another hobby. Be involved with this, but make sure they are choosing something they are comfortable with. However, I think that it is really all you can do at this point. My point being, is if you, the parent are no comfortable with this behavior, it is up to you to find a way to help them break the behavior. Or, you can just let it run it's course.

Btw, there is a show called Bob's Burgers in which the daughter, Tina is obsessed with fan fiction. Her stories are hilarious.

Roy
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Re: Youth and Fan Fiction

Post by Roy » 12 Nov 2019, 12:39

Follow up. Thank you for the balanced opinions.

DW and I had discovered that DD was accessing sexually explicit fan fiction. DD denied that she had actually read it but instead said that she was reading the headings (that provide brief descriptions of potentially offensive material) to see if it was age appropriate for her to read. At one point, DD asked me what reading such material could do to her. My knee jerk reaction was to tell her that I did not want perverts influencing her development. DW restricted access to this particular fan fiction website in our parental controls.

DW later does some digging and discovers that sequential chapters containing age inappropriate material had been accessed. This largely discredits DD's excuse of just perusing the bullet points. This also causes me to have the soul searching that led to this post. How big of a problem was this? Is my teenage daughter on the road to addiction or early sexual activity?

Fast forward several weeks, DW and I finally have a follow-up talk with DD. We tell her that she is not in trouble. We know that she had read more than she admitted to earlier and that it is normal to want to read it. I told her that feel like I had overreacted (weeks earlier) in making a blanket statement about the producers of these stories being perverts. A pervert is someone that has "deviant" sexual interests and inclinations and frankly it is quite normal and developmentally appropriate to be interested in sexual stories between your favorite fictional characters. We are all sexual beings and writing sexual fan fiction can be a healthy and creative way for the author to express sexuality. The stories are a form of entertainment and are not realistic (much like other forms of entertainment).

However, DD's brain is still developing and it is the parent's job to restrict and slowly relax restrictions to what might be considered adult content. This is why we as parents set up restrictions in media. I watch horror and action movies that would not be age appropriate for my children, when DD is older she can explore the world of media more freely and that will not make her a bad person. On that same topic, DW and I had reevaluated our TV restriction based on DD's increasing age and we determined that she no longer had to check with us before watching shows with certain ratings (equivalent to PG-13 for movies). This opens up a large segment of media where DW and I feel that DD can use her own judgment. She still has to check with us on a case by case basis for shows beyond that rating (which, to me, is the very definition of "Parental Guidance")

We also had a discussion about some questionable elements of a particular anime or manga show that a friend had introduced her to. There were some scenes where a male caracter touches the female character's clothed breasts and buttocks without her permission. DD tried to defend this by stating that the female character was naive and gullible. We had a good discussion that consent is never optional. It is not ok just because the female character did not understand enough to say no. The absence of a no is not a yes. The lack of consent is an even bigger issue than the sexual touching itself and is the reason why DW and I are hesitant about this program.

TL;DR
We are all sexual beings and wanting to read sexual stories is normal.
Parents have a duty to restrict and then slowly lessen media restrictions as children age.
Sexual consent is never optional. Being tricked into sexual contact is a form of violation.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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