Should our kids be taught about pornography?

should kids be taught about pornography

I remember overhearing a conversation between a group of lads at school once about Katie Price (Jordon back in the 90s)…they were talking about a magazine shot they’d seen of her where she looked ‘dirty’ and ‘up for anything’.

I knew that it was just boys trying to be men, but I do remember that feeling of inadequacy and perhaps a pang of jealousy. Aside from the fact that my thirteen year old body bore absolutely no resemblance to Jordon’s, I didn’t look dirty and I certainly wasn’t ‘up for anything’. But the boys I secretly fancied seemed to like that.

should kids be taught about pornography

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I also remember conversations about the shocking sexual exploits and experiences of my (predominantly male) peers – of course now I know it was (mostly) made up. Fantasies they’d conjured up from those porn magazine passed underneath the desks in class, or from their dad’s 80s porn collection which they’d chanced upon at home.

Luckily, I wasn’t that impressionable at school and for the most part I was pretty sensible. Yes, I was a typically boy-obsessed teenager, but I had self-respect and the lines were very black and white between what was a ‘normal behaviour’ for a teenage girl, and what was an airbrushed porn star or glamour model ‘up for anything’.

Now the lines are so horrifyingly grey.

In this digital world where relationships are formed through a mobile phone screen, where we use social media ‘likes’ to measure how likeable, beautiful or witty we are. Where the home no longer symbolises the end to the social pressures of school – our kids are constantly online via their laptops, their mobiles, their computer consoles…Where most children have seen pornography by the time they leave primary school.

Quite frankly, raising a daughter in today’s world scares the hell out of me.

should our kids be taught about pornography

Girls are becoming increasingly sexualised and objectified through social media (and traditional media for that matter). And the saddest thing about it? They’re doing it to themselves. Whenever I go on holiday now, I see girls posing on the beach, their mate or boyfriend taking picture after picture of them whilst they get the best angle of their bikini clad body to post on Instagram.

And those endless selfies – all to get a shot of someone that doesn’t resemble them at all, but conforms to what is socially accepted as pretty/beautiful/sexy in today’s image conscious world. If I was feeling inadequate in comparison to Katie Price in the nineties, I really can’t imaging how teenage girls feel today.

But back to the topic of pornography…

kids should be taught about pornography

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This week there’s been more debate about whether kids should be taught about pornography and sexting in school. I’m with the 71% who thinks it should…

As adults I feel we have a responsibility to accept that our children are exposed to far more information and graphic content than we ever were. And they’re subjected to far more judgement, criticism and social pressure to look and behave a certain way. Accessible (and evermore graphic) pornographic content is just one of many types of media that is having a huge impact on the way teenagers (girls especially, but boys too) see themselves, the way they see their bodies and the way they view relationships.

We need to accept that ‘the birds and the bees’ is not really the crucial lesson to be taught in sex education today. Let’s be honest, we all knew about that long before we heard them from the science teacher – even in the ‘olden days’ before t’internet. The crucial lesson is about how we educate kids to deal with the social expectations placed upon them in this 24/7 media-crazy world.

Whilst I’m not suggesting that we all bar our kids from the internet and banish their mobile phones, we do need to teach our kids that what they see online of people’s social media profiles, celebrity culture and pornography does not represent real life. We need to teach them to respect themselves, value each other and know that there’s far better ways to prove their worth than a perfect selfie, a set of tits that goes viral, or ‘being up for it’ like the girls on our screens.

Do you think kids should be taught about pornography and sexting in schools? I’d love to read your thoughts below

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Mummuddlingthrough

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8 Comment

  1. Anshul Taran
    March 5, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Well yes, I do think that the kids should be aware about the imaginary world the porn industry creats, so that they could be well informed about it.
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  2. The Tale of Mummyhood
    March 6, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    As a mother of two daughters, I too think that the world is frightening place. Its not easy to determine weather an education on such matters would help or just make things worse. If I’m honest, for me ignorance is sometimes bliss! Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS, hope you come back again next Sunday xx
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  3. MMT
    March 9, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    I really think that as this digital age rolls out there is going to have to be more consideration and investment in educating the most vulnerable – the teenagers of society. I’ve seen my own teenage siblings (big age gap) all go through mental health issues and I really believe it’s all driven by the pressure of social media. So yes Nat, I’m with you on this one. There should definitely be more open discussion about norms to steer kids away from the sexualised graphics that are so readily available to them. To teach them about love and respect for each other and themselves.
    Thanks for sharing with #coolmumclub
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  4. Lydia C. Lee
    March 11, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    Absolutely they should. Boys need to be taught that what they see in films is not real (just like Godzilla) and that if they wouldn’t like it done to them, they probably shouldn’t do it to someone else. Girls need to know that what they see in films is acting, and a lot of the women in the films don’t get any pleasure in what is being done to them. And both need to be reminded that sex is about pleasure, and if someone is being forced, or hurt in the process, it’s not good sex. Girls also need to be taught to stand up for what they like. Not coerced into ‘trying it’. I know a cop who is dealing with a lot of anal rape in young teens, and it’s because of what the boys are watching on the internet – and the boys don’t think they’re doing anything wrong, because of what they watch on the internet. How can you not want to educate against that?? #KCACOLS
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  5. jeremy - thirstydaddy
    March 11, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    I think that with porn so readily available in just about anyone’s back pocket now, there are serious problems with what expectations might be now. Self image and outside pressure to look and act a certain way are such worries as I watch my little girl grow up. That all being said, I think this is a conversation that I should be having with here, not a health teacher who’s own ideas and prejudices on the subject may not line up to my own views. #KCACOLS

  6. Mrs Mummy Harris
    March 15, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    I definately think that kids should be told about the dangers of sexting and made clear that porn and what social media portrays is women (and men) who are airbrushed.
    I love articles where they get porn stars without makeup and it shows the layers of makeup to make them look how people think they naturally wake up like.
    Im not a parent of a daughter, but a son. Me and his dad have had many discussions about our concerns over the future generation regarding this topic and both want to raise him to know that what he sees in magazines etc is not real. Mummy in the morning without makeup is real. Hopefully as he grows up he will know what sex should be like and not the type you see on the internet.
    Channel 4 had a documentary a year or so ago where a swedish (forgive me if im wrong) sex expert went into UK schools and discussed sex and relationships with kids and all boys expected women to be shaved and thought sex should be rough due to what theyd seen on the internet. She dispelled these thoughts and made them see that porn is not what they thought it was… thats the kind of lessons they need to be taught. i finished watching it wanting her to spread the word to the curriculum boards and get sex education updated to the modern era and not just about putting a condom over a banana or filling it with water and swinging it around to show how strong it is (latter is a true experience with my science teacher haha) #coolmumclub

  7. Nicky Kentisbeer
    March 16, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    Sad times but true Natalie. We can’t protect the children from it so the least we can do is acknowledge that they are seeing it and guide them from there. You’ve given me food for thought here as my daughter is 10 and obviously secondary school becomes and I know we have a whole different chapter of learning heading our way #KCACOLS

  8. Nicola | Mummy to Dex
    March 16, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    I think it is so important to teach young adults that what you see on a porn scene is nothing like what happens in real life. Some of the things I’ve seen, I know cannot be enjoyable for 99% of women. I remember reading about how young women are doomed to have a poor sex life because lads believe what they see in these pornos is what women actually want. Urgh. We definitely need to be more liberal in this country when it comes to talking about sex.

    #KCACOLS

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