Warn very young children about online porn, say school heads. Do you agree?

(67 Posts)
HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 20-May-13 10:46:41

Hello. We've seen in the news today that the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) is saying that young children should hear about the dangers of pornography as soon as they have access to the internet.

Russell Hobby, General Secretary of the NAHT, says, "as soon as children are getting access, it's time to begin the conversation", given the ready availability of explicit material online.

The NAHT says this issue is increasingly troubling to teachers and heads as they grapple with the impact of pornography on pupils' self-image and their perceptions of sexuality. And they think children should receive appropriate guidance as part of schools' relationship and sex education.

They also say that, according to a survey (of 1000-odd parents) that they commissioned, 83% of parents feel children should learn about the dangers of pornography in sex education lessons - and nearly half (four out of ten) think this should happen in the early primary-school years.

What do you think?

Should children be taught in school about the dangers of pornography on the internet? And if so, at what age? Do you think it's right to have your primary-school-aged child learning about such things?

Please do post your thoughts here.

Tee2072 Mon 20-May-13 11:07:34

As soon as they access the internet? My 4 year old uses the internet.

With me, granted, but he uses it. It's hardly something that starts in primary school these days.

No, I don't think it should be part of sex ed. Or are they going to talk about all porn? Magazines are right there on the shelves, despite MN's campaign. Movies are just as available with TV's that connect to thing like LoveFilm streaming and adult versions of same.

Parents should be speaking about it their children when they think their child needs to know. Or when the child asks a question.

No I don't because by talking about it you expose them to concepts they don't need to know about at such a young age. My 3 year old goes on CBeebies online, there is no way I would have that conversation with her.

Primary schools and parents should have strict parental/age controls on their Computers and be constantly monitoring what the child is doing.

In a classroom teachers should be scanning screens whilst helping children with their ICT tasks to ensure children are doing what they should be and not accessing sites that they shouldn't be on.

Parents should have the PC in the main living areas and not in bedrooms where they can't supervise.

JoyMachine Mon 20-May-13 11:23:27

This is rather like saying we should warn toddlers about DHLaurence and Clockwork Orange as soon as we teach them phonics, or we should warn them about Francis Bacon and Hieronymous Bosch as soon as we pass them the crayons.

Very small children should never be having unsupervised internet access anyway, so pretty ridiculous IMO.

Moxiegirl Mon 20-May-13 11:37:47

I think the words 'online porn' and our young children don't seem appropriate in the same sentence- but I would imagine age sensitive language would be used I.e teaching safety on the Internet and what to do if something scary or rude appears when using it.
Obviously Internet access should be supervised and relevant parental settings in place but things can slip through and I think it's worth preparing then in very low level ways from an early age.

YoniBottsBumgina Mon 20-May-13 11:55:46

I think it's important to warn them before they come across it, but without exposing young children to something that they don't need to know exists. I'm thinking 10-11yos, similar to when "proper" sex education and drugs awareness starts now. Not giving details but just letting them know that porn is out there, it isn't realistic and is sometimes exploitative. Also covering the kinds of feelings that might come up if a picture is shared without consent or accidentally got into the wrong hands to highlight the dangers of sharinh or asking for images.

I'm not sure how you can talk to children about "the dangers of pornography" when they are at an age where they aren't even taught about "sex for fun". A certain amount of "how to keep safe while online" makes sense, and they should certainly be taught things about not sharing their information, not going to websites without checking with mum/dad/teacher - but tbh mum/dad/teacher should have controls on what they can get to anyway. So something like "If something comes up on the screen that confuses or upsets you, fetch a trusted adult" would be enough to cover it.

Pornography is an important topic to cover in sex education, but I don't think warning children from the age of 4 or 5 would be helpful, just confusing. It's like warning them against wandering off when you are out - you don't explain exactly what it is that could happen to them, that would be abusive in itself.

WouldBeHarrietVane Mon 20-May-13 12:41:59

Wasn't there a study recently that said boys are now seeing porn accidentally online at as early as 8? I will look out the link.

WouldBeHarrietVane Mon 20-May-13 12:42:51

Yes a mum I agree entirely with that formulation of what to say to them.

WouldBeHarrietVane Mon 20-May-13 12:44:46
flanbase Mon 20-May-13 12:57:19

Why not just turn off the computer or have children use the computer when they are supervised with an adult sitting next to them. I don't have my primary age kids using a computer when I am not there with them & then it is only for when they have been told by the school to use the internet for their homework.

sleepyhead Mon 20-May-13 13:12:25

How are these 6-8 year olds coming across porn "accidentally" ? I would wager that a good proportion of them are accessing links that their parents have visited and thus are in the browsing history.

It's not actually that easy or likely to view porn "accidentally" unless you're searching for words like "boobs" or "bum" or "fuck" (which 8 year olds will do - back in the clockwork age of the 70s we were reduced to looking rude words up in the dictionary and sniggering at the nursing bra section of the Mothercare catalogue) with safe search/parental controls switched off.

Anyway, I think there are ways of reducing the risk of young children viewing porn without having to tell them what it is. I'm not sure that the concept of porn is something a prepubescent child could really grasp.

THERhubarb Mon 20-May-13 13:34:41

YES

I work online and you'd have to have your head in the clouds if you didn't think kids could access porn. You only have to type in the most innocuous of terms in Google images and you will come across porn.

Most parents have no idea about Google safesearch. They have no idea that YouTube is only meant for children aged 13 and upwards. They don't see what photos and videos get shared on Facebook.

It's a bloody shame that we have to talk to our children about porn so young. The onus should not be on parents to do that but on the government to bloody well make internet companies step up to the mark and restrict access to pornography. Porn companies don't give a shit, they have no morals. If some 4 year old googles pink socks and Google images comes up with a load of shocking porn, they don't care. They are only interested in reaching out to a wider audience, luring people in with sick images and then getting them to pay for even more disturbing stuff.

I find it appauling that so many studies are showing that online porn IS affecting young people and relationships and that children are exposed to porn from a younger age and yet STILL the government does NOTHING. It's like banging your head on a brick wall.

Why the fuck should we have to tell 4 and 5 year olds about porn? Yet we do and that's just a sad fact.

scaevola Mon 20-May-13 13:42:35

I was wondering if they mentioned porn to grab he headlines.

The key issue is Internet security (which just wouldn't have got the coverage). So what I'd like to hear more about is age appropriate ways of discussing why Internet security is important, for that might need to include discussion of what the risks actually are.

I've muddled through in communicating with my DC, and given the little blighters will be IT savvy enough to circumvent tech measures by the time they're in year 7, by which time they or classmates will have smartphones, the only way forward seems to be in effective education and communication. And it needs to start in primary, because by secondary transfer it may be too late.

WouldBeHarrietVane Mon 20-May-13 13:43:27

I can think of the following ways a young child could access porn even if their family has safety filters on:

- they go to a friend's house and the friend's dm has no safety settings on - they google 'bum'

- they play with an elder siblings/friend's older siblings smart phone and do the same

- they see things by photo text which another child has forwarded on.

scaevola Mon 20-May-13 13:44:57

The Government does nothing btw, because there is nothing effective that can be done (many earlier threads on this). Installing filters at home (try K9) is cheaper, better, and already available.

EmpressOfTheSevenOceans Mon 20-May-13 13:48:00

It's definitely not just about home precautions. I have vivid memories of DD, aged 6, coming home giggling from school because an older boy had shown her "a lady with ice cream on her boobies" on a school computer. God only knows what the teachers were doing at the time. hmm

I think AMumInScotland has it right, though. Make sure DCs know that if anything they see on screen confuses or bothers them they need to tell an adult.

Aranea Mon 20-May-13 14:02:53

I do

Aranea Mon 20-May-13 14:05:54

Oops didn't mean to press post! I do think children need to be educated about staying safe online, from junior age. And, since I know 7-year-olds with smartphones and iPods, they also need to be educated about handling email and social media responsibly. At the moment parents are giving technology to their children without giving them the necessary information to handle it responsibly.

THERhubarb Mon 20-May-13 14:07:26

They don't have to google naughty words, many porn companies now have porn images and videos listed in highly rated search terms. So you could google "puppy" and unless you had strict filtering in place your child might come across images of a man's erect penis and worse.

And yes the government can do something. Internet companies can make sure that filters are already on pcs and laptops, only turning them off if the customer requests it.

Porn companies themselves should also be brought to task in exploiting loopholes that allows them to make images and videos available on general search terms.

scaevola Mon 20-May-13 14:10:40

Internet companies cannot make sure filters are on pcs etc. But hardware companies could.

Tee2072 Mon 20-May-13 14:17:44

It's not up to the internet companies or the hardware companies or the schools.

It's up to the parents.

What is with people wanting to abdicate responsibility for their children?

Yes, they can go to a friends house and have total access without you're knowledge. But that's true of all things you may not want them to see or do. That's part of growing up.

THERhubarb Mon 20-May-13 14:38:00

If that were the case Tee then there would be no need for sex education either. Unfortunately many parents don't give a shit and this is why we need tighter controls.

You are quite right, my child could go to a friend's house and watch 18 movies or see pornography. At the moment the law is strict enough that any 18 movies have to be downloaded or paid for by an someone who is over 18. Porn however manages to offer free snippets by way of graphic photos, video clips, etc. Even film companies have to make sure that their trailers comply with regulations but porn companies have no such restrictions placed on them. They take advantage of loopholes that should be closed.

There is more chance of my children seing online porn than them being exposed to an 18 movie at the moment and that is unacceptable.

Yes some parents are bloody ignorant when it comes to the internet. Some posters honestly believe that kids can't access porn by accident. Unfortunately this is not the case. The internet is a dangerous place and every single chat site that is set up for children has been or is being targeted by paedos. That's just the way it is. Yet some parents will happily bury their heads in the sand because the internet keeps their kids quiet for an hour or two, which is obviously more important to them than the safety of their child.

Tee2072 Mon 20-May-13 14:52:23

Well, honestly, Rhubarb? I don't think schools should do sex ed either.

Why do we always do things based on the lowest common denominator and assume it's the government's right to do things because some parents don't? Why can't we tell those parents to get with it so the rest if us can be left alone?

scaevola Mon 20-May-13 15:02:53

Tee - I agree with you. I onky posted about it being he hardware manufacturers' responsibility is becuase if (heaven forbid) a Government ever thought it would be a good measure, the it is they who would have to do it, not Internet comanies.

Anything done by the manufacturer is way less effective than installing and configuring filters yourself, and even that is also a drop in the ocean compared to the role of education by parents and/or schools in this.

The best a Government imposed centralised scheme would achieve is a false sense of security.

WouldBeHarrietVane Mon 20-May-13 16:08:42

Good point about innocent search terms Rhubarb - this happened to me recently when I googled squirrel on our laptop blush

morethanpotatoprints Mon 20-May-13 16:22:38

I think if parents and teachers monitor and supervise dc on the internet theres no problem. Its easy enough to click off something that shouldn't be there. i too experienced the innocent search when ds1 was doing a project on Beavers in primary. it was quite a while ago and may have improved since then though.
Its not like young dc will be on the internet on their own anyway fb and other social media aren't supposed to be used until 13 anyway.

Dahlen Mon 20-May-13 16:56:41

I think we have to separate the ideal from the reality and find a solution that will benefit the majority of children.

My children are very au fait with computers. However, they do not have unsupervised access. I am always there - if not actually sat down with them, then at least in the same room and regularly checking what they are doing. They do not have access to the internet in any other way (no phones, tablets, games consoles, etc).

As they age, the restrictions can be lifted at the same time that as they improve their understanding of internet safety and their emotional maturity increases to deal with what they find either by accident or on purpose.

By the time my DC are able to have a Facebook (or its equivalent at the time) account, irrespective of whether I know about it, I intend the message to have been driven home about the non-sexual dangers of the internet (which are also significant) and the realities of porn - what it is, why it's unrealistic, why it's damaging, etc.

However, the sad truth is that a significant proportion of parents will not be supervising things that closely, and therefore we have to take more draconian measures. Schools should not have to pick up the pieces left by inadequate parenting, but the reality is that unless they do, this problem will only get worse.

THERhubarb Mon 20-May-13 16:58:14

Tee, I speak as a parent who took her kids out of primary sex ed. That's because I know it's my duty as a parent to teach them about sex and I take that responsibility seriously and I tell them in my own time and in my own way, however I recognise that some parents don't even feed their kids properly let alone teach them about sex. I wouldn't let a child starve and blame it on their parents so why deny them the basics of an education which includes teaching them about love and sex and relationships just because their parents do?

I don't like this nursery state either, but having seen what is online, having gone into a chat room for children and been propositioned, having seen some of the results that google throws up and learnt about porn companies targeting high seach terms that have no apparent relevance to sex or porn, I understand what a dangerous world it is. I am lucky that I am bloody internet savvy but I understand that some parents don't come across this every day. Some parents don't work with computers and they, perhaps naively, trust the computer companies and trust the internet companies. They dismiss concerns as scaremongering and they don't want us to interfere in something which keeps their kids quiet and happy - like the TV. They use it as a kind of babysitter.

If we don't do something now then the measures you take to protect your kids won't mean a jot when they are up against the majority of their peers who think that porn is realistic, who think that women are mere sexual objects and who have a very depraved view of relationships. I don't want my kids growing up in that world.

Tee2072 Mon 20-May-13 17:07:33

Rhubarb I've been on the internet since it's beginning, I am well aware of what's out there and how the sex industry (well, all industry, it's not just porn that buys domains and uses keywords to get you to a specific place) uses it's money and, yes, power, to infiltrate our lives.

In fact, it is commonly believed that without porn? We'd not have the internet we have today. Or some of the CGI we have.

But it's my job as a parent to teach my son well. To tell him that what he might see elsewhere isn't real. The same way I was taught that no knight in shining armour was going to come sweep me off my feet, no matter what the fairy tales and Disney were showing me. Sex ed does not teach about love and relationships, unless they've changed it recently. It teaches about sex. Period.

And that's no better or realistic than giving the teaching of what's bad on the 'net to the school. Because not all porn is bad. The porn industry is horrific, but porn itself can be quite fun.

In any case, we're not going to agree or change each other's mind. I'm actually very anti-government in general, which makes me a bit of a freak anyway. But mostly? I want them out of my bedroom, my computer and son's sex education.

OhLori Mon 20-May-13 17:42:52

Unfortunately, I think schools would introduce this subject clumsily and may do more harm than good.

They could even create an awareness in younger children that had not existed before, hardly helpful.

And agree with Tee, I already think sex education in primary schools is unnecessary and inappropriate IME.

Children should be left to be children.

(That said, at secondary school, I think it is slightly different.)

If the government were serious about this they could have stronger controls on pornography on TV and the internet, so that it really was only accessible to adults e.g. opting in, paying, etc.

iseenodust Mon 20-May-13 17:48:01

AMumInScot agree with you.

Primary school did an e-safety course just last month but it was for parents and you were told not to bring DC because of some of the content. Was a very useful session.

YoniBottsBumgina Mon 20-May-13 18:15:27

I don't think it's fair on children to just say "well the parents should teach them". I don't think it's fair on kids to let their parents' ideas about relationships be the only input they have either. And as rhubarb points out, some parents, perhaps even the majority, may not be internet savvy themselves and so unable to teach their children about this. Those parents probably aren't on mumsnet either!

YoniBottsBumgina Mon 20-May-13 18:18:27

Unable even if they have good intentions/want to protect them etc.

ChippingInLovesSpring Mon 20-May-13 18:58:49

I'll repost what MumInScotland said, because I agree with her totally.

^I'm not sure how you can talk to children about "the dangers of pornography" when they are at an age where they aren't even taught about "sex for fun". A certain amount of "how to keep safe while online" makes sense, and they should certainly be taught things about not sharing their information, not going to websites without checking with mum/dad/teacher - but tbh mum/dad/teacher should have controls on what they can get to anyway. So something like "If something comes up on the screen that confuses or upsets you, fetch a trusted adult" would be enough to cover it.

Pornography is an important topic to cover in sex education, but I don't think warning children from the age of 4 or 5 would be helpful, just confusing. It's like warning them against wandering off when you are out - you don't explain exactly what it is that could happen to them, that would be abusive in itself.^

It is one of those things that I think has to be left to parents to deal with. Yes, some children might miss out on that, but if we let the govt/schools do it, as many, if not more, children will be damaged by it.

ftm42 Mon 20-May-13 18:59:49

Tee2072

I agree that it should be the parents' responsibility to do sexed and it's also their responsibility to monitor Internet access, but I do recall an awful scenario when my MS was into sketching birds of prey and typed in "spread eagle wings"! He was so shocked he almost fell of his chair, as did I - too late to prevent him seeing it, even though I was looking over his shoulder at the time.

THERhubarb Mon 20-May-13 19:15:08

Porn is not fun and it IS derogatory but that's a different debate.

I am also anti-government but my fear for our children and their perception of relationships overrides my inclination towards anarchy. As Yoni says, it's not fair on the children whose parents don't give a shit, to just leave them to it. We are a society and we can't just say "I'm alright Jack", that does not sit well with me. We have a responsibility to EVERY child.

And yes sex ed does cover relationships, how their bodies develop, periods, what makes us all different, etc. It's not just about sex but I chose to fill my kids in my own way.

I also think that the collective Heads of school are merely trying to encourage a debate about children and porn because the more people who know about it, the more parents might just look into it and take action for their own children. I doubt that it will be introduced into schools and if it is, it will be along the lines already mentioned; that sometimes you can come across disburbing and upsetting images and you should always tell an adult.

From what I know, whilst schools are keen to teach parents internet safety, neither of my children have been taught it in school. I gave a lesson voluntarily at the primary school but most kids weren't really interested and I had to push it through with the school anyway.

Wishiwasanheiress Mon 20-May-13 19:15:11

What is more concerning is a teacher tasked with teaching a very fluid subject. I remember knowing more about computers and technology when young than the school faculty combined. Most occasions we taught them. I just don't see how those adults will be able to teach this in an engaging fashion. Get this wrong and you are just inviting porn searches.

I think I would prefer outside experts brought in for that specific lesson. Like the drama groups that do sketches on bullying etc. I think these lessons need to be memorable, not just part of normal lesson time.

YoniBottsBumgina Mon 20-May-13 19:27:32

That would be a hood idea heiress. Possibly costly though sad

piprabbit Mon 20-May-13 19:43:31

I think there should be a lot more support and advice given to parents about how to protect their children on line, and pornography would be part of that.

Perhaps primary schools should offer workshops covering this topic to parents, to educate the parents rather than the children.

Aranea Mon 20-May-13 20:21:37

Someone said upthread that young children wouldn't be using social media or using the Internet unsupervised. Unfortunately that's a bit naive. Just because you are doing the responsible thing with your kids, that doesn't mean they won't be visiting friends with unrestricted use of mobile devices. All of our children need to know how to behave when they find themselves in situations that a cautious parent wouldn't allow.

FrancescaBell Mon 20-May-13 20:47:53

Some incredibly naive, out of date and also plain selfish responses here.

I'm assuming this thread is asking us to think about all children and not just our own, or those who are lucky enough to live in porn-free homes with parents who are responsible and knowledgeable enough to discuss relationships, sex, porn and internet safety.

So based on the reality of life in Britain for many children, I fully support what the NAHT is saying. Schools have in any case always had a part to play in passing on life skills as well as knowledge and if they didn't, PSHE or Sex and Relationships wouldn't be a part of the curriculum. Schools haven't taught 'sex education' for years incidentally.

THERhubarb Mon 20-May-13 20:50:57

FrancescaBell, fully agree and no you are right, the school policy is on 'relationship and our bodies' so calling it sex education is probably outdated. Sex is only a small part of what they teach.

I fully agree with it but chose to take mine out as I wanted to tell them in my own way and in a way that was appropriate to their age and maturity. But for children who don't have responsible parents, yes we need to take responsibility as a caring society and provide for those children, just as we provide an education on everything else.

FrancescaBell Mon 20-May-13 20:55:43

Plus, there's no proposal to introduce this to children before Year 4, which is the age when primary/junior schools currently introduce the subject of sex, relationships and human anatomy in an age-appropriate way. But by Years 5 and 6, several children have smart phones and as the article says, have created facebook accounts and lied about their age, often with their parents' complete collusion.

Rooble Mon 20-May-13 22:26:35

Agree with what The Rhubarb said waaaay upthread: there is a tonne of utterly inappropriate stuff online that children can come across totally innocently (you only have to search the children's programmes on YouTube to find a load of hideous "adult" versions - not necessarily pornographic, but sometimes extremely violent).
There are parents who are apparently unaware of this, or perhaps find it funny or maybe even don't consider it's inappropriate (strange as this may seem), and given the role schools have in helping safeguard our children, I have no objection to them teaching children how to be safe online. Our school also runs Internet safety sessions for parents which have been extremely valuable. Unfortunately a remarkably low number of parents chose to attend.

GetKnitted Mon 20-May-13 22:36:11

Unfortunately, I think schools would introduce this subject clumsily and may do more harm than good.

They could even create an awareness in younger children that had not existed before, hardly helpful. < That. Thanks Oh Lori.

But having said that, boy oh boy has this thread opened my eyes to the lengths I will have to go to to protect my dc from seeing this stuff so young.

BasilBabyEater Mon 20-May-13 23:13:46

I would like internet porn to be regulated properly (the .xxx idea for example) so that it's impossible for young kids to come across it accidentally.

That way, the problem wouldn't arise,- we wouldn't have to explain to our five year olds about it because it wouldn't actually intrude into every area of our lives.

JoyMachine Mon 20-May-13 23:24:10

I understand that sky carries adverts for its porn channels on its other channels?? Perhaps legislating to prevent things like that would be a good move.

Also- I agree with a blanket no porn on the internet, instituted by ISPs, whereby anyone that wants to download/view (legal) porn may opt-in, and request the pages load to their IP address. Can't remember what the proper term for this is, sorry!

spidersandslugs Tue 21-May-13 00:17:13

No, why not ban it online? Make the industry illegal even?

The porn mags, especially the soft porn like zoo, nuts, etc should banned from every corner shop & supermarket & only sold in adult sex shops.

YoniBottsBumgina Tue 21-May-13 01:26:23

I would love to see the porn industry made illegal - I've never accidentally come across anything illegal while browsing the web, although I did hear about a child abuse video which was circulating on FB recently involving a 6 year old, which a teenage acquaintance of mine had clicked on, because it was on facebook and of course she wasn't expecting to see something so graphic. Anyway it's so rare that anything like this comes up whereas legal porn is sort of just a massive joke of the internet. It won't happen though because porn is so normalised in our society and, sex sells.

scaevola Tue 21-May-13 07:05:11

Wishing for a unicorn, whether it is world peace, a car that cannot crash or an Internet where porn is either non-existent or invariably labelled, doesn't make it possible.

Search MN for empusa's 'unicorn post' and the debate within to see why it cannot happen.

And it's slightly beside the point here. Internet security is important - whether it's grooming with intention to meet (getting rarer, according to CEOP), coercion into performing sex acts on webcam (on the rise), cyber-bullying, "happy" slapping, stumbling across violence/porn or deliberately seeking out harmful sites (anorexia, crime/terrorism, violence, porn).

Schools and parents really do need to work together on this.

TeWiSavesTheDay Tue 21-May-13 07:28:42

As as they have access is a bit silly. Plenty of babies/toddlers go on games websites but aren't going to be able to go to Google and search for anything because they can't write or read yet.

However, as soon as they do start beong able to read, write and search they probably should have a 'not everyone online/everything you can find, is nice or true or accurate'

MadeOfStarDust Tue 21-May-13 10:11:32

Why does it have to be put on a formal education footing - I have 2 girls - maybe easier to deal with - I don't know - but we had a chat about security
no posting personal details,
no you can't have a facebook account til you're 13,
no you can't have a smart phone yet either..... etc.... followed by "if you see something inappropriate/ horrid or that you just don't like - WALK AWAY and come see me or your dad".

Our computer has filters set - I have never accidentally (or not) come across porn on searches. The only time my eldest came to see me was when they had to research the floods in 2007 and the search came up with floods in Bangladesh and a picture of floating corpses appeared first in the images list....

Educate parents.

Bramshott Tue 21-May-13 10:13:57

I think that a talk along the lines of "sadly not everything on the internet is good, educational, or appropriate for children - if you see anything that worries you - come and tell an adult and we won't be cross with you" is a very good idea from about the age of 7 or 8 when children are more likely to be straying away from a few pre-approved sites.

Hulababy Tue 21-May-13 10:25:34

We teach children from foundation stage that if they are on the computer and see anything that they don't like, don't understand or worries them to tell a grown up straight away. It's part of the Internet safety we are supposed to do at school anyway.

badinage Tue 21-May-13 10:33:25

The reason it has to be 'put on a formal education footing' is because not every child has parents who educate and guide and a whole bunch of them use porn themselves and leave family computers vulnerable to pop-ups and search suggestions that make access to porn 100 times easier. Offer to educate the parents by all means, but you can't compel them to attend and in general, only concerned responsible parents who think they've got actually got a role to play in this dilemma will turn up for the sessions. So the 'educators' are preaching to the converted.

The primary responsibility is to the children themselves - not the parents.

projectbabyweight Tue 21-May-13 10:52:13

"The primary responsibility is to the children themselves - not the parents."

Exactly.

50shadesofvomit Tue 21-May-13 10:56:16

Yes.

It's very easy to access porn accidentally. Porn pop ups/banners appear on many sites like illegal download sites which children access.

If you Google my name in Google images or go to the website of "my name.com " you get a porn site.

I don't think it's necessary to tell 4 year olds but age 6/7 sounds right to me. For age 6/7 you probably would explain porn as "naked people pictures" and they'll probably know what you mean as they will have seen the cover of Nuts or skimpily dressed strippers on Britain's Got Talent or whatever.

THERhubarb Tue 21-May-13 11:16:03

It's all very well saying educate parents but you have a couple of problems there:

1) if your school had a talk for parents on internet safety, how many parents turned up? There is usually a low turnout for these kinds of things as parents are either too busy or not bothere.
2) some parents just don't care. It's like those parents who let their primary kids watch 18 rated movies or play 18 rated games. They honestly don't care so long as the kids aren't bothering them.

FWIW a lot of schools DO run internet safety classes for parents and Vodafone give out a very comprehensive booklet to a lot of secondary schools about internet safety which is tailored to every age. But it's still not enough.

The more research that is done, the more worrying the results of children seeing porn from a younger age, of young boys being addicted to porn, of girls being sexually bullied, of girls feeling under pressure to conform to sexual expectations. Dozens of studies by Newsbeat and others have concluded that pornography IS changing the way young people view sex and relationships. This will only get worse as more and more children have free and unrestricted access to the internet.

On TV there is a watershed (which isn't adhered to much anymore), on movies there is a rating, same with songs and computer games but seemingly porn can flaunt all these restrictions. They tag images with innocous search terms. They show free videos. They pay for advertising on social networks. They are everywhere and seemingly no-one can do anything to stop the invasion of porn on our computers.

Parental filters in any case do not work on mobile devices so whilst you are able to lock SafeSearch on your pc, you can't access it on a mobile device. And for those parents who let their children have Facebook accounts, have you any idea of the content of some of the photos and videos that are shared on Facebook? Some are really quite horrific and very very adult in nature.

I wholly agree with educating children about internet safety as this is basically what this is. The media might focus on the porn aspect but that's just part of it. If teachers want to keep our children safe from exploitation and teach them what to do if they come across anything inappropriate then why are we so against it?

This is not an issue we can afford to bury our heads in the sand and pretend that it's Someone Else's Problem. It's a huge problem on a huge scale and those surveys are just the tip of the iceberg because younger children are now online and the internet is fast becoming a large part of their lives, perhaps too fast but that's the way it is. The problem won't go away if we ignore it and we can't keep passing the buck by saying that it's the job of parents to teach their kids. It's our job to keep ALL children safe because ultimately these are the friends of our children, these are the ones who will share things with our children, who will influence our children, who may one day date our children and then it becomes very much YOUR problem.

Why wait until that day comes round?

badinage Tue 21-May-13 11:30:46

Dead right Rhubarb.

I can't stand this 'I'm alright Jack' mentality about other children who aren't lucky enough to have decent parents. Yes, there's some self-interest because especially at secondary school, kids make friends with who they damned well want and not just the kids from naice families with internet controls, but we're a society aren't we?

MadeOfStarDust Tue 21-May-13 11:48:01

Trouble is it is yet another thing for school to deal with - soon we will HAVE to lengthen the school day because there is all this other crap to cover that parents SHOULD be teaching their kids.

Those of us who DO care and who DO cover this with our kids are being accused of not caring about other kids - sheesh..... of course we do.

It is just that we cannot keep passing the buck to schools when it is OUR job to educate our kids - school's job is schooling them(which is different)!

badinage Tue 21-May-13 12:01:53

But school education has never just been about English and Maths has it? Not in our lifetime at least. It's always been about giving children a broader education for life and not just academia. Parents should educate their children about science, nature, history etc. in addition to what they get at school, but we wouldn't ever say that teachers should stop teaching those subjects because the parents have got it covered, would we?

THERhubarb Tue 21-May-13 12:07:59

It is already a problem for schools MadeOfStarDust. How much time do you think is spent in dealing with distraught pupils who are victims of cyber bullying? Or dealing with inappropriate sexual behaviour?

Just one example: as a teaching assistant I was waiting with a Year 6 pupil along with 2 other Year 6 boys and 3 pupils from Years 1 and 2 to be given their Ritalin. The other two Year 6 kids were messing around and suddenly their conversation got quite graphic, with one asking the other to suck his cock. They then simulated a gay sex act in front of the other pupils whilst pretending to orgasm.

We then had to waste hours in dealing with the little kids who saw what happened and were asking questions. Punishing the older kids and also starting a investigation over their behaviour. Getting in touch with parents and reporting the incident to the appropriate people. It turned out they had seen pornographic material and were re-enacting that.

That's just ONE incident.

The reason why Heads of schools are suggesting this is because this type of behaviour is increasing, it is becoming a problem and school do not have the resources to deal with sexually aware children who are committing sexual acts in school, using sexually inappropriate language and who are sexually bullying other pupils.

Remember that schools also have to deal with the victims, the parents and possibly social services, all whilst trying to educate children.

So what do you suggest we do about it? Ignore it and hope it will go away? Blame the parents and hope that they take note and change their ways?

HongkongDreamer Tue 21-May-13 14:13:23

They should just ban porn altogether , then there wouldnt be any worries like this

THERhubarb Tue 21-May-13 14:25:45

Well yes HongkongDreamer, I wouldn't argue with that. Porn damages relationships, it leads to the abuse of women and girls, it objectifies women, it perverts sex and now it is responsible for corroding our children.

But it still has its defenders who believe that it represents nothing more than harmless fun.

HongkongDreamer Tue 21-May-13 14:34:16

It has alot more negatives.than benefits though so the people that want it to stay should just be over looked tbh, as bad as that sounds

amazingmumof6 Thu 20-Jun-13 09:11:48

say what?

No way, how ridiculous!

but if that ever becomes the norm it should be really done in a form of a school play about sex, drugs and rock'n'rollgrin

<rolls eyes>

will they also use the words in spelling tests? that would be fun!
"how do you spell porn? yes, it's p-o-r-n! good girl, yes you can go and watch CBBeebies! "

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