Authors: Mrs Lisbeth Goldston and Mrs Nikita Weal , Year 8 Coordinators
Last week, some of our parents/carers and teachers attended an information evening in Toowoomba called ‘It’s Time We Talked.’ Dr Marie Crabbe navigated the murky waters, and alarming actuality facing many of our young people today; explicit online content. The reality is, if your student has access to an internet-enabled device, it is very likely that at some point they will see pornography, either intentionally or accidentally.
For many parents and carers, this is no doubt confronting as it strikes at the core of their role in protecting the innocence of their young person. Overwhelmingly though, the evidence suggests that the warnings from reasonable sources like parents, carers and teachers are being drowned out by the pervasive voice of explicit content.
So where do we begin? As the adults, it is critical we arm ourselves with the tactics necessary for the tough talks. School TV is an excellent source of information in addition to the It’s Time We Talked website: http://www.itstimewetalked.com.au.
If you have a junior student, you may find your conversations begin more generally about being media aware and cyber smart. You could also encourage them to use Kiddle: https://www.kiddle.co/. This is a search engine generated by Google which applies safe search filters.
Ultimately, our purpose in all we do is to create a safe and supportive learning environment that fosters healthy relationships. We know that explicit online content is harmful and is unfortunately becoming normalised. When television, advertising and internet pop-ups increasingly desensitise us to imagery that was once censored, it becomes ever-important that we prepare young people to engage safely in the online world and think critically about the content they view.