Smartphone, sex link seen

Chat Bus counsellor Averil Pierce says the ready access to information and more liberal censorship on television means sexual activity is a lot more accepted in society.
Chat Bus counsellor Averil Pierce says the ready access to information and more liberal censorship on television means sexual activity is a lot more accepted in society.
Smartphones and sex education programmes are leading children as young as intermediate age to experiment with sex, a Dunedin counsellor says.

Chat Bus counsellor Averil Pierce, who talks to hundreds of intermediate-age children on a regular basis, said many children had ready access to pornography via their internet-capable phones.

She also questioned the wisdom of providing practical safe-sex information to children as young as 12, who were just entering puberty.

She said there was one school in Dunedin where intermediate-age children were being taught how to put a condom on.

''I find it interesting that, in that school, I also see kids towards the end of the year who are becoming sexually active.''

She said it might be preferable to teach sex education even earlier, before children had any interest in it.

''I don't think we have got it right yet.''

She said schools could put safety programmes on their own computers to protect children but they had no control over pupils' smartphones.

''That gives them free access really easy for whatever - whether that is porn stuff or `how to's or even buying inappropriate stuff.''

She said the ready access to information and more liberal censorship on television meant sexual activity was a lot more accepted in society.

''The more that it becomes acceptable that you don't have to be in a committed relationship to be sexually active ... the more that will just roll on to the younger ones.''

She said the best thing parents could do was educate their children on how to stay safe, and have a good relationship with them so they could talk to them and ''continually'' remind them of the dangers that existed.

 

Kids experiment with sex

The internet became widely available, so widely that children have unsupervised access to internet-capable devices which are now priced so there is nothing unusual about there being several per household.  In their parents' day - well, probably their grandparents' by now! - the rich unofficial sex education was naughty magazines and word-of-mouth from their peers, some of whom may even have peeped at a couple "doing it" in a secluded beachside spot.  

Sex was what these days would be called vanilla, there were indeed publications that dealt with what was usual seen as "perversions" but these were not even readily available to adults, let alone children.  With the expansion of what "is" sex, of what has become normalised in the view of children at the stage when their own attitudes are forming ahead of their engagement in sex within relationships, is different.  Their expectations of what is OK to do to (not in any real sense with) another person is different now.  

I doubt if more "official" sex education would help.  The lacking factors are ones that apply more widely: kindness, respect, fairness, compassion, awareness of other people's point of view, the understanding that bullying and exploitation especially of those who are permanently or temporarily weaker (through drugs or drink, for example) is just plain wrong.  

 

Anecdotal or evidential?

"Smartphones and sex education programmes are leading children as young as intermediate age to experiment with sex."

Globally, the stance here presented flies in the face of every (properly conducted) study I ever read on this subject, so I look forward to reading a comprehensive report on Ms Pierce's corpus of evidence.

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