Sunday, 5 April 2015

Are your children affected by pornography?

As I was taking the train to my teaching job, I became aware of a disturbing conversation going on between a small group of year 8 pupils. Normally, on the long commute to work, I keep my eyes on the free Metro newspaper and do my best to ignore the pupils I will be teaching later that day. After all, I am entitled to my own life too.
But this "conversation" was different.
This scene involved a lone 12 year old girl and several of her male peers.
Now a word about this girl: she is intelligent, middle class, popular and from my dealings with her parents at school functions, she is well loved and protected. But what was happening in this "conversation" she was having with this group of boys shook me up.
The boys were ganging up on her. They were asking her questions about her personal life and things about her sexual experiences.
Let me say it again: this is a twelve year old girl.
From what was being said, it was apparent that the boys had, at some time been exposed to pornography. What they were asking this girl made me (a 48 year old, well experienced woman) blanch. And the girl was trying to answer these boys.
Thanks to Channel 4' "Porn on the Brain" series, I knew that children are exposed to porn from a very early age and that there are some serious issues that are being ignored by adults. What was happening right in front of me was a prime example of the vast differences between what boys expect of girls based on what they have seen in pornographic images and what an inexperienced girl is willing to provide. Yes, I intervened and the girl was very relieved.
To some people, this gap may seem insignificant. To me, the mother of a teenager daughter, it terrified me.
I welcome new legislation here in the UK that is working towards ensuring children can no longer access pornography.
Further, I as a teacher, I would welcome the opportunity and resources to teach girls how to stand up for themselves in an effect manner. For further info check this article here.
But are we too late?
And if so, what can we do?

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