How do we build a school environment where all teens are respected, safe and thriving?
The original blog post begins below the solid line. I have added a number of updates here at the top of the page. You will need to read the original post first to understand the significance of the updates.
Thank you for taking the time to engage in this post.
Update November 2015: Here is the link to the July 14 CBC Ontario Today podcast: Is Porn Messing with the Teenaged Brian?
Update December 2015: Here is the latest video from the #DearDaddy campaign. Please protect our girls!
This is a blog post I have been trying to write for over a month.
It is a sensitive subject, but it is a subject we need to talk about. By avoiding finishing and publishing this post, I am modelling the very behaviour that I want to draw attention to: avoiding this topic.
Over the last few years as a school leader, I have been appalled at some of the examples of how young men treat the young women at school. It puzzled me, because I really thought that equality for women had really become the norm. But more and more, incidents involving the public disrespecting of young women came to my attention.
It wasn’t until I listened to this podcast that I began to have a better understanding of what I might be witnessing:
Generation Porn (caution: explicit material)
“Thirty years ago, a peek at a Playboy centrefold was a rite of passage for teenage boys. Today kids as young as ten can view pornography on smart phones. Hassan Ghedi Santur explores the long-term consequences of this burgeoning exposure to pornography.”
Porn is more accessible than it has ever been before.
Porn is no longer just the images from Penthouse and Playboy. It is violent, degrading, and geared (by the industry) to “tap into the core, basic engines of male sexual arousal”.
1) We know that young boys are accessing it. Anyone with a cell phone can watch porn.
2) There is some research to suggest that porn is dopamine producing and therefore addictive. Thousands of young men claim to be suffering from or recovering from “porn addiction“, which can lead to depression, anxiety, and sexual disfunction.
3) According to sociologist Gail Dines: “If you are 11 or 12, you have no repertoire of sexual behaviour to draw on. So when you go into You Porn or Porn Hub and you see this violent dehumanizing debasing pornography, you can’t say, “You know what, I’ve been with women and they don’t like this, and this isn’t what I want to do.” You’ve got nothing to draw upon. This becomes the only thing you have ever seen to define who you are sexually. That, is great business practice because the earlier you shape the sexual template of a boy, the longer you’ve got him for life”
We do good work in Ontario schools, teaching students to be critical thinkers and to look at how our thinking is influenced by media.
Are we doing a good job of teaching our young people about the real concerns around accessing violent, degrading pornography on a regular basis?
The reading slides from my IGNITE presentation on how pornography impacts the lives of young people.