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Teach Kids About Dangers of Porn, But Don't Let the Sex Ed Crowd Do It

Posted: 28/10/2012 23:00

A head teachers group has called for children, some as young as 10, to learn about the dangers of pornography as part of sex education classes. Kids are bombarded with sexualised images in the media on a daily basis, and hardcore porn is only ever an online click away. There is no doubt in my mind that they need to be aware of the way that porn can wreck their future relationships.

Research recently released by the University of Plymouth shows that it is having a devastating impact on a generation of youngsters. Some children start viewing this stuff at age 11. Many become hooked on it. It twists and distorts their view of sex, so when they enter a relationship as adults their attitude to intimacy is warped. In the minds of young men, woman should behave like porn stars in the bedroom - because that's what they've watched since their childhood.

Sadly, many teenage girls believe they must perform exactly like that. Not yet emotionally mature, they go along with a boyfriend's relentless pressure to act out the fantasies he has been viewing on the internet. She poses while he takes pictures or videos. It's just for the two of them, he promises. But when he's dumped her for some other girl the images and videos get passed around his mates and, oops, get uploaded to the internet.

The explosion of free online porn, much of it populated with that sort of material, has alarmed many experts. Known as 'tube' sites, users upload their own made-at-home content. Because it's freely available, the sites rarely put any mechanism in place to block under-18s from viewing it.

In days when teenagers, and younger kids, often have laptops in their bedrooms or smartphones in their pockets, this material is all too easy to access. Parents try their best to manage their children's internet use, but many will be oblivious to the real extent of the problem. There has been talk that the government should impose an automatic block on all online adult content. If an over-18 user wants the block removed, they would have to request it from their internet provider. The problem is so great, that I believe we do need a solution like that.

Until then, isn't it a good idea to teach children about the dangers as part of sex education classes? Sorry, but I just don't trust the sex education crowd to do it properly. They've been part of the problem for decades. Take for example this latest project by a team of 'sexual health professionals' in Coventry and Warwickshire. They've developed a website and app aimed at kids as young as 13. It has tips on oral and anal intercourse, how to lose your virginity, and a body map of erogenous zones.

No doubt they think they're being edgy to grab the attention of hard-to-reach youths. But this value-free approach to sex is what has caused this mess in the first place. As adults we are supposed to give our children boundaries, and one of them should be don't mess around with sex. Parents would like to see more of this, but the sex education lobby dance around the issue of genuine parental involvement. Just leave it to the experts, they say. If mums and dads knew the half of what is really taught in sex education, they'd be horrified. Which is why I don't trust them to teach the risks of porn to 10-year-olds.

 
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