As you know I've mentioned on several occasions, but most recently here, that I'm very worried about how the easy accessibility of hardcore internet porn to kids is going to have on the expectations of the next generation.
The Daily Fail has an article on this subject today and, as usual, gets it all wrong. Who does it blame for the potential problems? Not the people who make the porn, obviously. Nor the people who make it so easily available to kids who are too young to really grasp the implications of what they're seeing? Nah, they blame liberal parents for allowing their daughters, yes, their daughters, to spend time alone with their boyfriends. There's no mention of anyone actually teaching the boys a bit of respect and telling them that behaving like aggressive sexual bullies is completely and absolutely out of order.
Ultimately, I'm not sure that access to this stuff will ever able to be fully controlled so I think the major part of dealing with it is going to have to involve more sex education, not less.
And let's not pretend that boys in faith schools don't watch this stuff, either. That's why I was so glad to see an article in today's Lib Dem News in which David Laws eviscerated the Government for giving in to the religious lobby and basically accepting that they had a right to teach whatever prejudice they felt appropriate. I know of a Catholic school where the primary 6 boys, that's 10 year olds, were wearing these coloured wristbands, with each colour denoting something that really shouldn't be part of the thought process of a child so young. Fortunately as soon as the school sussed what they were, they were banned, but it all smacks of a very animalistic, tribal, macho cultural trend about sex developing, with boys thinking that girls really are their playthings to do what they want with.
They key as I see it is to make sure that boys know that it's not appropriate to behave like that and for girls to know that they don't have to take that kind of crap.
I think Dr Linda Papadopoulos's suggestions in her Government commissioned report on the sexualisation of children and young people are quite sensible and she is right to flag this up as a danger. A lot of her recommendations centre round education and tackling gender stereotypes and inequality. I suspect that should the Tories get their mitts on the Home Office, that the report will be quietly binned, but in my opinion further debate and action are essential to ensure that the next generation is able to develop its full potential.