“Online porn: Calls for improved sex education in the UK to counter risks” by Juliet Spare

As a parent or educator, one of the most important tools to arm the children in your life with is media literacy. The ability to critically analyze the images and messages we are constantly inundated with allows youth to be able to navigate our world with a sense of empowerment. However, to think parents have the ability to combat or protect children from all of the predatory media and sexually exploitative material available is simply nonsense. A larger systemic movement is the only sure way to keep kids safe. This is an excerpt from a recent article published by Voice of Russia UK. The source of this excerpt is http://voiceofrussia.com/uk/news/2014_07_03/Online-porn-Calls-for-improved-sex-education-in-the-UK-to-counter-risks-1878/

image courtesy of flickr.com

image courtesy of flickr.com

Whether sex education should be in the power of parents or teachers is often debated, but what is beyond dispute is that children and teenagers need to have access to advice that is fit for the 21st century and fit for youngsters growing up in a world where online access sometimes delivers too much information. VoR’s Juliet Spare reports.

[…]

A recent survey by children’s charity the NSPCC revealed that over a third of young boys are turning to the internet for education about sex, which includes viewing pornographic material.

A quarter of all pupils asked thought their sexual relations should replicate what they see on the internet. And that includes violent and degrading behaviour. According to the Sex Education Forum which carried out the research for The National Children’s bureau, its vital teachers talk about pornography given the ease with which children can access explicit sexual material online.

It says teenagers need so called ‘filters in their head’ to process and understand what they see on the internet.

[…]

I spoke to one mother in London who told me her 13-year-old daughter couldn’t emotionally cope with going to school because of sexual pressure.

“My daughter goes to a school and she came to me about four months ago emotionally distraught, saying that the pressure she’s getting for sex at school means that she doesn’t want to go to school. I had to take it up with the school. I said I will not send her back until someone deals with this and they’re starting to introduce much more things into school because of that. She goes to school every day, and she tells me ‘Mum, everybody in every year has asked me for sex’.

[…]

“I’m worried about the effect that society is having on my daughter and the lack of control the education system has and the government has and the lack of responsibility and control the government and society want to take for our young girls.”

[…]

In May last year, a report Basically porn is everywhere was published by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner.

Dr Miranda Hovarth, one of the authors, told VoR that: “It’s very clear that access and exposure to pornography affects children and young people’s sexual beliefs. They may lead them to unrealistic attitudes towards sex, that it’s like sex in porn films and women are seen as just objects.

“Young people who are exposed to porn are more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior, such as sex at a younger age, unprotected sex, the involvement of alcohol and drugs and sex. There are gender differences in how much young people are seeing pornography. Boys are more likely than girls to seek it out. A large survey we conducted revealed that young men and young women are taking very different messages from pornography, but the key thing is that women are objects to be used and abused.”

Sex and relationship education is compulsory in secondary schools, but it still remains for primary schools to decide whether they want to teach it or not. However, evidence shows that young children are now seeing graphic pornographic images online and mistaking that behaviour for what should happen in a normal healthy, and respectful sexual relationship.

This is a significantly shortened excerpt. To read the full article, please visit the Voice of Russia UK website http://voiceofrussia.com/uk/news/2014_07_03/Online-porn-Calls-for-improved-sex-education-in-the-UK-to-counter-risks-1878/

Juliet Spare writes for the Voice of Russia UK.