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Should schools teach 'porn literacy'?

Sex education experts think teachers need to be realistic when discussing porn with students, claiming that it's not 'all bad' and can sometimes be 'helpful'. What do you think? (Source:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-22308393)

Tom Baker writer
Tom Baker
Quib.ly Staff Writer
Derby, UK

3 experts and 3 parents have answered

expert answer
Andrew Weekes expert
Andrew Weekes Techy engineer, father of two. Sevenoaks, GB
Technology expert

The media coverage of this story has been incredibly sensationalist, with (not surprisingly) strongly polarised reactions to those headlines.

I personally don't find this a difficult question at all, a failure to educate and explain to our children the things they are likely to come into contact with at various points on their lives is simply that, a failure in education.

So my answer is yes, that children need to have a trusted adult with whom they can have these conversations, so that they can be educated about pornography and see it for what it is. It's not in most cases a guide for their own relationships, but simply a form of entertainment like any other and, like many other forms of entertainment we engage, in it's largely a fiction and mostly unrepresentative of real life and relationships.

We'd like the adult they talk to to be us, as parents, but given the dysfunctional relationships that often surround sex discussions with our children and the embarrassment they may feel talking to us, I'm happy that a suitably qualified and trained, trusted professional provides another path for discussion.

The base from which so many of these discussions start is pornography = bad. Many put forward the view that it has no place in healthy relationships and that it will corrupt the core of our society. It seems to be taken as a given and this Mary Whitehouse-esque view is unlikely to be countered by any rational argument or discussion but it's one I strongly disagree with.

Pornography encompasses the full gamut of human experience, so yes there's content at one extreme that many people will find distasteful or offensive, yet equally there's content with artistic integrity that may have real value to sections of society. Equally, as with any other area of work, there may be people within it that are exploited with bad working conditions and poor pay, whilst there will also be people within it that enjoy their job, feel suitably rewarded for what they do and do it through their own free choice.

For a professional view and a more rational insight into the proposals in the UK I recommend reading this blog post by a professional sex educator, working within UK schools, dealing with the current media furore.

https://sexedukation.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/should-schools-teach-about-porn-a-letter-to-concerned-parents/

6 Reply Share:
Opinion 1 year ago
Nicolas Heaton
Nicolas Heaton Hairdresser father of four. Melbourne

Wow hard question and I would say good question but the people I have met and spoken to have no idea what that is and just hear the words "porn"and "education"and stop listening.

So I would also say brave question....

But yes I do think that we need to life educate children and not necessarily politically correctly educate them sometimes you have to take the tough choice and actually educate them.

Sad that this is needed but its an odd world out there.

1 Reply Share:
Opinion 1 year ago
expert answer
HerMelness Speaks expert
HerMelness Speaks Parent blogger/student mentor GB
Parenting expert expert

As in anything, children need to be educated to their then levels of understanding on any subject making up this life.

When children are given that educated understanding they should be presented with both sides of the subject. Rarely is anything all good or all bad. Highlighting that fact does not speak of condoning porn for children which is perhaps the subtext being hinted at.

So putting aside the sensationalist noise, we should continue to approach every subject with balance, an approach that should be no different for this subject area.

1 Reply Share:
Experience 1 year ago
Anne-Marie Chaos
Anne-Marie Chaos Book addict, parent, geek. Oxford, GB

I do believe children should be given answers to their questions at an age-appropriate level when they come across a new concept or grow an interest. I just don't think this needs to be added to an already over-packed school curriculum. Although if it's an occasional enhancement at certain schools because they want to add it, then fair enough. I hope as a parent that I'll give as unbiased a view as I can as and when my children discover it. I think that's one of my jobs as a parent, not school's.

This blog from a teacher is what convinced me into a 'no': http://behaviourguru.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/english-maths-science-porn-will-this-be.html

1 Reply Share:
Opinion 1 year ago
expert answer
Dr. M. Monte Tatom expert
Dr. M. Monte Tatom Director of iLearn Program Henderson, US
Education expert

There is really not much that I can add to this topic that has not already been considered. I would have to say that the BBC article "Schools should teach how to view porn" is to me totally different from the question posed by Tom Baker. I also believe that it is important for schools to instruct on all types of literacy. The other question to be asked is at what age and/or grade should "Porn literacy" be taught. I agree that the teaching of "Porn literacy" is not condoning porn for children. I believe that this topic is included within NETS-S Standard 5: Digital Citizenship

Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.

a. Advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology

b. Exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity

c. Demonstrate personal responsibility for lifelong learning

d. Exhibit leadership for digital citizenship (http://www.iste.org/docs/pdfs/nets-s-standards.pdf?sfvrsn=2)

0 Reply Share:
Experience 1 year ago
Paul Sutton
Paul Sutton I work in a school Torquay, GB

Surely we need to teach about the internet generally, it has a good and dark side, the dark side includes porn, fraud, criminal behaviour etc, with regard to porn if it is about exploiting people then maybe we need to look at the underlying reasons someone poses or gets involved, and maybe teach about self respect,

some people pose nude to get money to go through college, some view porn and see that image of a person naked as how people look or act in the out side world, so the discussion seems to go far beyond things.

we seem obsessed with how people look, there was a report some where about Ugly people not getting on at work, this is the 21st century, how you look tells me zero if you are suitable for a particular job. Girls starve them selves so they can look like celebs or get boob jobs at 16 because they feel that boys will see them as inadequate, as the boys see pictures of females with big breasts online or else where.

surely this reflects a whole load of issues in society. sensitive and difficult yes, but we need to address them and as adults GROW up and address them, rather than hiding under the delusion if we ignore something it will go away.

Kids hit puberty, not discussing puberty with them won't stop em going through it. Not discussing porn or these issues with kids will mean they will find out, either via finding it or falling victim in some way, if we are open with them they will be open (well hopefully) open with you.

0 Reply Share:
Opinion 1 year ago

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