Group wants British teenagers to be taught about Pornography in Schools

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-22308393
So the 'Sex Education Forum' would like to teach High School kids about pornography. To steal from the BBC article "The Sex Education Forum wants pornography taught in terms of "media literacy and representation, gender, sexual behaviour and body image".

They advocate teaching them to be more aware of the presence of pornography, not just on-line but throughout the wider media, such as 'page 3 girls' etc. they would also look at the issues surrounding it, like the effect it can have on self-esteem and the unrealistic body images it can propagate, the fact it can be addictive, and the fact that some actors are coerced into it, but it would also look at positive aspects of viewing pornography (which I expect will be the really controversial bit).

According to the article, the average Brit starts watching porn at about 11, so the basic argument is that if they are going to find it, we might as well teach them about it so that they can do it 'responsibly'.

I don't expect anything to come of this, our society is mostly prudish, and none of our parties would go near this policy with a barge pole. Especially not the conservatives, as their core base would be most offended, and are starting to see UKIP as a viable alternative. Labour or the Liberals might try and slip it in quietly if they where in power, but it'd be a huge risk.

Personally, I think this would be a good thing. My main objection to pornography has always been the possibility of coercion within it, and bringing up a generation with awareness of this could help diminish it.

EDIT: found another article, with a similar but different spin.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-21938823
Same idea, but the focus is on protecting people from the 'dangers of pornography', rather than a more general outlook. Probably still not a bad idea, although there is the risk of students dismissing the risks if they are not presented as nuanced as the students experience of it.

Has to be a good thing. Pornography is a thing that exists, that has a big impact on the way many people see sexuality.

There's been a few documentaries about this sort of thing (body image, expectations, and so on) which have managed to get BBC air time.

I recall that in school the sex ed we received touched on these issues.

However, I do have to wonder if this is a bit of a cop-out. Shouldn't parents be teaching their children these things, and shouldn't society in general be trying to fix them?

Danny Ocean:
However, I do have to wonder if this is a bit of a cop-out. Shouldn't parents be teaching their children these things, and shouldn't society in general be trying to fix them?

Firstly, that could apply to almost anything. Why bother with schools at all?

Secondly, that's not happening as much as it should, and doesn't look like it will any time soon.

Danny Ocean:
There's been a few documentaries about this sort of thing (body image, expectations, and so on) which have managed to get BBC air time.

I recall that in school the sex ed we received touched on these issues.

However, I do have to wonder if this is a bit of a cop-out. Shouldn't parents be teaching their children these things, and shouldn't society in general be trying to fix them?

No doubt there are some parents who will. But a lot wont and many can't. Considering how many families don't have time to read to their kids (which is a major factor in predicting later academic success) It seems a bit harsh to put even more onus on them. Doing it in schools means you reach everyone.

Kids talk about this sort of thing as early as elementary school, it will be a joke to them by highschool, as nearly all health classes at that level already are.

I can see what they're getting at. It seems to me that a course revolving around "body image and language", or something similar, would be a bit broader in scope and a bit more applicable.

I remember having an English Language course revolving around gender & body image, which focused partially on media such as the newspapers which often carry porn (The Sun being the main culprit). It was a good course.

Pretty in favor of this..

Kids go through a phase, and yeah, it generally is around 11 where they're basically trying to outdo and shock each other. I recall an article I read recently by a mother whose son had been sent rape porn by a friend who claimed it was "funny". I'm not so certain the friend actually found it funny, more that they were trying to rationalize their own feelings about it in the absence of any serious guidance on how they should react or process it, and that lack of guidance is a problem.

Just because some kids have parents who are good at talking about this stuff doesn't mean that everyone does.

Honestly, the current state of sex education, and the resistance of some parties (we all know who) to any kind of reform of what is truly a archaic and failing system is pretty much criminal as far as I'm concerned. This is just one of a whole range of updates which really need to be implemented.

I can see benefits in educating kids about the marketing and such that is behind pornography. It really is an industry like anything else--driven by market trends, consumer demands, and tried and proven methods. It's formulaic to a fault. Making sure kids don't become convinced that what is portrayed in pornography is normal sexual behavior could be helpful to sex education. And as long as that message is kept in sight and doesn't devolve into using porn as a cheap and easy form of sex education, I think there are definitely benefits to be argued.

You're going to teach porn to teenagers? Don't they normally know more than the rest of us?

That being said, I'm surprised to see this in the UK. As far as old age prudishness goes, they're right there with the U.S.

This sounds incredibly sensible to do. Do it. Body image? Feeling obligated to do certain things in their own experiences and relationships? Safe sex versus outlandish portrayals? Learning about coerced actors and trafficking? I see nothing wrong with this whatsoever, on the contrary.

They all watch it anyway, might as well make sure that everyone knows that porn is mostly staged. As long as they're not mentioning ways to get specific sites & showing videos in class then I really can't see why anyone would object.

Skeleon:
This sounds incredibly sensible to do. Do it. Body image? Feeling obligated to do certain things in their own experiences and relationships? Safe sex versus outlandish portrayals? Learning about coerced actors and trafficking? I see nothing wrong with this whatsoever, on the contrary.

You could also explain in these classes how trafficking and coercion have been used deceptively with attacks on the sex industry but it would be better not to have such propaganda in schools in the first place.

There are so many topics that are more deserving of the time in schools like financial education or even healthy eating.

FreedomofInformation:
You could also explain in these classes how trafficking and coercion have been used deceptively with attacks on the sex industry but it would be better not to have such propaganda in schools in the first place.

There are so many topics that are more deserving of the time in schools like financial education or even healthy eating.

Sure, you could mention such instances where they are properly supported with facts. Maybe even look at rates of real sexual coercion and trafficking versus trumped up charges in comparison. Adress how interest groups use statistics - and the omission of information where appropriate - to make political points for this or that side.
In fact, learning about such practices of twisting data for this or that end would be more valuable than many a fact a child could learn in school, because it might help them spot such instances in other circumstances in the future.
But considering the rest of your post, I have a distinct feeling that's not what you mean... it's just a better point to make.

FreedomofInformation:

Skeleon:
This sounds incredibly sensible to do. Do it. Body image? Feeling obligated to do certain things in their own experiences and relationships? Safe sex versus outlandish portrayals? Learning about coerced actors and trafficking? I see nothing wrong with this whatsoever, on the contrary.

You could also explain in these classes how trafficking and coercion have been used deceptively with attacks on the sex industry but it would be better not to have such propaganda in schools in the first place.

There are so many topics that are more deserving of the time in schools like financial education or even healthy eating.

Currently in the UK, in addition to regular subjects (maths, english, science, humanities etc.) we have 1-2 hours a week of PSHE classes (Personal, Social and Health Education). This incorporates many different things, like citizenship, sex education, drug awareness, anti-social behaviour and bullying, etc. I would imagine that this would be taught as a module within PSHE, so it would be in addition to the things you've stated. It would not become a lesson/subject in it's own right.

It's a whole lot more worthwhile than most of the stuff I learned in health class, and at least it would be something to differentiate between what the sixth graders get taught and the high school students get taught.

I don't see the controversy here, shouldn't this be taught in Health/Biology already anyways?
Unless you're in the abstinence only camp I have no idea what objections you could have against this.

I don't see the benefit, it's pretty easy to avoid porn and sex. Sure you might see some porn in life but that's when you close the tab and move to something else. As for sex, that's easy to avoid. Hell I'm 23 and never even been kissed so if I can do it then anyone can.

Xan Krieger:
I don't see the benefit, it's pretty easy to avoid porn and sex. Sure you might see some porn in life but that's when you close the tab and move to something else. As for sex, that's easy to avoid. Hell I'm 23 and never even been kissed so if I can do it then anyone can.

"Anyway can" is not the same as "everyone will". Same as with abstinence only sex-ed.

thaluikhain:

Xan Krieger:
I don't see the benefit, it's pretty easy to avoid porn and sex. Sure you might see some porn in life but that's when you close the tab and move to something else. As for sex, that's easy to avoid. Hell I'm 23 and never even been kissed so if I can do it then anyone can.

"Anyway can" is not the same as "everyone will". Same as with abstinence only sex-ed.

Maybe we need more effective ways of teaching kids how not to have sex or look at porn. Like I said it's not hard to avoid both things, just gotta teach kids how to not want both things.

Xan Krieger:

thaluikhain:

Xan Krieger:
I don't see the benefit, it's pretty easy to avoid porn and sex. Sure you might see some porn in life but that's when you close the tab and move to something else. As for sex, that's easy to avoid. Hell I'm 23 and never even been kissed so if I can do it then anyone can.

"Anyway can" is not the same as "everyone will". Same as with abstinence only sex-ed.

Maybe we need more effective ways of teaching kids how not to have sex or look at porn. Like I said it's not hard to avoid both things, just gotta teach kids how to not want both things.

All attempts have failed, generally very badly.

OTOH, there's no reason why we can't try teaching kids not to have sex, while teaching them how to safely do it if they decide to.

thaluikhain:

Xan Krieger:

thaluikhain:

"Anyway can" is not the same as "everyone will". Same as with abstinence only sex-ed.

Maybe we need more effective ways of teaching kids how not to have sex or look at porn. Like I said it's not hard to avoid both things, just gotta teach kids how to not want both things.

All attempts have failed, generally very badly.

OTOH, there's no reason why we can't try teaching kids not to have sex, while teaching them how to safely do it if they decide to.

Right hence the need for more effective methods (and I'm speaking as someone who never took sex ed).

Taught about pornography? How about taught about, well, sex, with pornography being a part of the "This isn't what sex is actually like in reality" course?

Wouldn't that cut off the supply of kinky girls who think double penetration is the standard expression of love? Go, conservative old farts, ban that sick filth!

This sounds sensible and liberal enough that it'll never happen.

I wonder how the Daily Mail will twist this sort of story?

It's a good idea in my opinion, pornography and body image issues could be taught as part of sex education and PHSE lessons with the aim of making sure kids have a mature perspective to pornography.

Danny Ocean:
However, I do have to wonder if this is a bit of a cop-out. Shouldn't parents be teaching their children these things, and shouldn't society in general be trying to fix them?

You know what parents do?
When they're watching a movie with their kids and a sex scene comes up, the change the channel and say "That's bad, you shouldn't watch it". that's the type of sex ed that parents give their kids.
Most parents are bad teachers, very bad teachers. They're uneducated themselves. The idea of the uneducated teaching the even more uneducated isn't a good idea.

Sex ed was op out every year at my school system from elementary school on. I get the feeling that if something like this where implemented at my school system there would be far more opt outs, which means kids won't even be getting the normal sex ed treatment.

I don't really think there is necessarily a down side to this beyond what I just stated. From my experience everyone knows porn exist before high school so it's not like kids are going to be exposed to something they've never heard of but there are quite a few people that have never seen it beyond simulated sex on tv. And the benefits are contextualizing a culture that kids may not fully grasp.

And this is where I say however. My prudish(which is rich coming from me) ways make me not a 100% on board with showing smut in school even it's one sex ed class. I'd rather see some hard evidence on how people adjust after this kind of education, though I admit something like that would be hard to quantify. I mean when you say it in your head it's just doesn't sit well... hell showing kids porn might even be illegal(though I can't be 100% positive on that).

Xan Krieger:
Maybe we need more effective ways of teaching kids how not to have sex or look at porn. Like I said it's not hard to avoid both things, just gotta teach kids how to not want both things.

It is very easy to avoid watching porn and having sex if one does not want either. The problem is that this is not the case for a whole load of, and probably most, kids.

Personally i can't agree with the proposal. Teachers already have to teach so many things, we're expecting way too much from them. They're humans too. What would be a more sensible idea would be to have a special day dedicated to it and have psychologists talk about it. It's like how we once had a day with a doctor talking to us about all the nasty things you could get through sex. Or the day we had where people working in a rehab center talked about the dangers of drugs.

Ehh, I'm in theory in favour of this. I can't help but think, perhaps cynically, that in practice this "porn education" would either be the irrelevant wafflings of some old fart which gets summarily ignored by the whole class of uncomfortable and giggling adolescents, or else the anti-porn, rape-culture brigade will get their claws into the agenda and start casting down fire and brimstone from the proverbial pulpit.

But a short, frank and apolitical part of a PSHE course that told students that porn is widespread, sometimes offensive or distasteful, something that most adults will use at some time in their life with no ill-effects but nonetheless an unrealistic depiction of both males and females - that I'd have no problem with.

Considering it's Europe I would consider extremist feminist getting their claws into it and starting a campaign of 'Porn viewers are future rapist' or some crap. Isn't europe supposed to be the bastion of human secularism and equality, after all?

I think it might be good to teach young men and women about body image and emotional connection over raw sexual lust re: pornography. Pornography works because the average human brain has horny switches that are flipped at certain criteria.

God, there was a book I read and now I can't remember the title but it actually talks about a form of pornography mostly out of japan that involves females with male sexual traits. The book does have some research backign it up but essentially, the art/porn is designed to flip as many switches at once. Exaggerated feminity (big ol' boobies, wide hips and rear), mixed with the over exaggerated masculine trait (Being on top, a penis) triggers all these switches at the same time.

However, the important thing would be to teach them that
1. The proportions involved are usually faked, or altered via surgery, so don't feel bad for yourself,

2. It's fake. Like, the situation is fake. There may be genuine pleasure involved, but this is not how sex works in the real world.

3. There is a seedy underside to the world of pornography, be aware of it.

4. The desire to wank or whatever the female verb is not bad, and using porn to do is it not necessarily bad.

Nickolai77:
I wonder how the Daily Mail will twist this sort of story?

It's a good idea in my opinion, pornography and body image issues could be taught as part of sex education and PHSE lessons with the aim of making sure kids have a mature perspective to pornography.

When I saw the original Beeb story a few days ago, I was waiting with glee for the Fail story to come up. Here it is. Actually, I'm surprised; it's one of the more balanced stories they've run, especially on the topic of sex and porn. I was expecting much much worse from them.. you know, their usual.

About the worst they come up with is:

Fail:
Critics said that parents would be 'horrified' by the possible introduction of pornography into classroom lessons.

So, you know - not actually saying who these "critics" are, oh no. We're the Mail, we don't have to support anything we print.

Ahahahahahaha, teach kids about porn. That's hilarious, I found this stuff at the age of ten on Newgrounds. Bulma dress up game, then I showed it to my friends. And thus, porn was learned.

The youth need to learn how to get high quality and virus free hardcore pornography. I, for one, applaud such efforts.

It would be good to explain to teenagers that the pizza delivery girl probably won't do that.
And knowing some of the people in my classes, it may give them career advice.

 

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