Thursday, 20 December 2012

Sex Education Has Let Down Our Children

"Another one sexting Sarge. Chuck him in the
back with the others." 

Last week Channel 4 News ran a piece about the latest teenage craze of 'sexting'.  It involves young people sending each other naked photographs of themselves.

Rather than being shocked by this behaviour I was saddened listening to the youngsters responses to Jon Snow's questions.  

Porn is available to all on the internet and it seems some young boys (the majority are males) readily access these sites and become to believe that material displayed is the norm.

An extract from the Channel 4 investigation:

What shocked me was not that this was happening, but the scale that it was on from early teen years. Girls are bombarded almost on a daily basis with requests for what are simply now called "pictures". Boys collect the various naked photos in an album as a sort of trophy. Girls receive unrequested photos of boys' private parts. Boys send sex lists with smiley faces asking girls what they would do. Often they don't even know each other, or have never even met.
"It just happens. It's normal," was the common response. It seems this is the new way of flirting, and the modern way of playground dating.

Sex education is schools has let our children down.  The do-gooders who celebrated getting explicit sexual material into schools should hang their heads in shame.  Many protested about the content of the information provided but were cast aside and labelled prudes, yet more and more boys are accessing porn.

There's nothing shameful about the naked body and I'd seen a naked male body every night of my life until the age of 10, when my parents finally moved to a house where I had a bedroom of my own.  Seeing my brother undressing or dressing held no fascination for me as a child and neither of us was embarrassed.  I would have been uncomfortable with my teacher explaining the sexual uses of the male and female body at a young age though, but that is what has been happening in our schools for a couple of decades.

Now, with the use of technology, children have taken the information a step further, as children usually do and our professional educators appear to have decided to ignore the problem.

As the article states, some children affected by the constant demands for naked photos, are carving for adults to discuss it with them.  I'm sure, until this was exposed, many parents and grandparents (including myself) had no clue about this latest use of mobile phones - I refuse to term it flirting because that involves a degree of emotion by at least one party - but they do now and it's their responsibility to ensure they talk with their child and listen to their concerns.

So, initially it's the responsibility of parents to open the dialogue, but also teachers have a part to play by ensuring they warn their pupils about the dangers of being involved in sending naked photographs of themselves. Perhaps the best message I would give them is: 'Where sex is concerned people can become unscrupulous and if you don't want to chance seeing your naked picture shown in cyberspace don't send it.  Remember, if a boy has your mobile number then they possibly have your name and other information about you, even if they are strangers to you.'

A simple message and one which should be relayed by teachers as soon as possible in an effort to stem the growth of this distasteful craze.


Macheath said...

The best piece of advice I know is:

"Never press 'send' unless you'd be happy to see it on the side of a bus tomorrow".

subrosa said...

Excellent advice Macheath and I'm sure you'd pass that onto your students.

Woodsy42 said...

Macheath is absolutely correct - this should be hammered into the heads of everyone with a phone or computer. Plus it might turn up on that bus in 20 year's time to embarrass you as an adult. It applies to all personal information as well as pictures. It's a fundamental requirement.

As for Sexting I think it's a complicated problem.
Society is now sexualised to a ridiculous extent. Newspapers like the Mail concentrate on celebrity sex gossip and what are basically peek-a boo soft porn pictures which, like school sex lessons, and internet access have to be driving kids natural curiosity. The Mail to my mind makes Sun's page 3 appear rather natural and wholesome by comparison!
But let's not forget even young kids have sexual curiosity, Kids played doctors and nurses long before the Internet or phones came along. Sexuality is built into people and always has been, you can't switch it off until their 16th birthday.
I suppose you can put all women in burqas and give them a male relatve as escort - but we don't want to go that way do we?
The one thing that does strike me however is that society's attitude often makes things worse. Sex is taught in school one day and castigated as immoral the next, meanwhile the media shriek hysterically and create a feeling of victimisation and fear about abuse with little discrimination between a minor incident and gross, life changing, violent abuse.
No wonder kids are confused and lost.

Quiet_Man said...

Sex education was never about education at all but more to do with getting children to express their sexuality. A sexuality that as children they did not need to be bothered with until much later in life.
Kids have now forgotten how to be kids and those who led them (and us) into this should rightly hang their heads in shame as you said.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

It is difficult to pin this one down -or up for that matter.

Freedoms are always open to abuse and freedoms created by technology are no different. But in the final analysis with regard to this phenomenon the freedom of choice is retained by the individual.

The question society needs to ask itself is -if the technology was available during their formative years would their use and reaction been in anyway different?

Joe Public said...

Woodsy42 mentions the Mail.

One page sums it all up.

The main article feigns shock & anger

The bar on the right shows salacious gossip & photos, that draws the punters, which pleases the advertisers, which pays for the write about articles feigning shock & anger

Joe Public said...

Perhaps the editor of today's Daily Mash forgets the usefulness of smart-phones:

Highland Cooncil said...

Subrosa hen show me yours and ..........

Apogee said...

Here we go again,unintended consequences. Ban the belt.One report said that within three years all the teachers pro banning the belt were out of teaching.And then whine about no discipline !
Then teach primary school kids about
sex then complain when they start to put the lessons into practice !
What did you think they would do? Or did any of you educationalists think at all? Instead of blaming the kids, think back to who were the progressives in education who wanted these things and were too bloody stupid to understand what the result would be. Or was there another agenda!Have you all forgotten your own time in school,
all little angels? Take away the belt, you took away the teachers authority and you took away discipline, and then you wonder
"why did it happen?"If the young animals are not trained, they grow up into big untrainable animals.
What they see on the TV and combine it with defective education and mobile phones and the result is inevitable. Jimmy Savile was a"bad man".Maybe so , but a lot of people knew what was going on, and there were a lot of willing participants in what was happening, of both sexes, there will be a lot of people glad there were no mobile phones around then.(But glad the pill was). But as for sexting, in the heat of the moment they just dont think, they just dont care, because discipline and thought, and another thing the belt taught, survival, is no longer part of education.
Unintended consequences !

JRB said...

A difficult and thought provoking topic.

With apologies to Woodsy42, I would like to take his last sentence and give it just a little twist …
No wonder WE are confused and lost.

Like many now of a pensionable age, I was lucky enough to have lived through what has been called the ‘Swinging Sixties’. I thoroughly enjoyed and fully indulged the hedonistic lifestyle that that era brought. Much to my parents disapproval. My grandparents would have had apoplexy had they known the half of it.

Now I am the grandparent and I am having apoplexy as to what the youngsters of today are getting up to.
But I look back at all I did in the 60s with happy fond memories and no regrets.

So is my generation any better placed to give advice to the young than were my parents or grandparents in advising me?

banned said...

As usual the Mail is years behind on this. 5 years ago I advised my neighbours lad around his 18th birthday that what he called 'just pictures of my friends' actually consisted of child pornography (collected over 3 years or so) and that he should delete them or, better still, get a new phone.

(No, I didn't look).

English Pensioner said...

As I keep saying, nobody seems to ever look ahead these days, and they totally ignore the "Law of Unintended Consequences" This applies at all levels in life,from our politicians to our children. I was taught both at school and at home to think before I did anything of significance, the old saying "Fools rush in while angels fear to tread" sums it up.

Don't these children think of their future, what happens to them if they become well known and somebody from 15 years or so ago produces an embarrassing picture? The other thing is that if they still have these pictures when they get older, they could probably be charged with having child pornography.
The same applies to Facebook, never put anything there that you wouldn't want the world to find out about - graduates have failed to get jobs because they put pictures of a drunken orgy on Facebook for all to see, and this included their prospective employer!
Children must be taught to think ahead and keep private any information about themselves and their family that might be misused by someone else in the future.

Woodsy42 said...

Yes JRB, I guess that's right - we are all confused!

Maybe we (I was a teen in the 60s too) didn't suffer because we were never made to feel like victims? Wrong maybe, badly behaved perhaps, but it was all our choice, we were never given that all important victim status.

subrosa said...

Indeed it's complex Woodsy and you've highlighted some of the reasons why.

Children do need to develop their sexuality but in this form it's dangerous to their health and wellbeing.

I wouldn't say sex is castigated as immoral; indeed I suggest that it is encouraged these days.

Children are being informed about sex far too early and losing the best part of their lives - their childhoods.

subrosa said...

Well said QM.

subrosa said...

I doubt if I would have been happy showing anyone a naked image of myself Crinkly, but of course that's an assumption because I haven't been brainwashed from a young age.

subrosa said...

Indeed Joe, the DM feign most things. :)

subrosa said...

Why aren't you in intensive care HC or have they already fitted your pacemaker?

subrosa said...

Good post Apogee.

subrosa said...

I doubt if we are JRB, but then we didn't have explicit sex lessons in primary school and had the pleasure of discovering things ourselves.

subrosa said...

For all the education he's had at school he couldn't tell the difference banned???

subrosa said...

Schools would be far better teaching that than sex EP don't you think?

subrosa said...

Another good point Woodsy - there's got to be a victim every time nowadays.

Jo G said...

I watched the Channel 4 piece and found it very irritating to listen to the trendy young thing (adult)in the studio who kept shrugging off this latest craze as "normal". It really isn't. This is porn being exchanged electronically among very young teenagers.

What I still can't get my head around, however, was the fact that the young girls interviewed were articulate and, apparently, intelligent yet they seemed to be suggesting they didn't have a choice. I don't buy that: not in these days where there is no way young people cannot be aware of what grooming is, what abuse is or the classic signs are. More importantly no matter what year we are at these days, some things don't change. The stupidity of these young women who agree to send intimate photos of themselves in order to provide a porno-gallery for immature, manipulative young males to SHARE and send on to anyone they like, beggars belief.

The look on Rantzen's face throughout the piece was telling: she looked genuinely distressed and horrified for these youngsters. She said, quite clearly, that in her work with Childline she often saw young people who had been photographed, against their will, in order to produce pictures exactly like the ones young females were sending willingly to young males. She also wondered why no one tells these youngsters, amid all the "sex education" malarkey, about the rewards that can come from a committed, loving relationship.

subrosa said...

Jp, was a super contribution to the debate. You echo my opinion.

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