Resources and Information

Education, the best defense against online exposure

Auther: Miss Nicole Sacre - Year 10 Coordinator

It’s time we talked. Sex Ed through Pornography

Never before in human history have we had the kind of material that is available nor the volume. Overwhelming statistics show that students are learning about sex through pornography and not from the adults in their lives. Dr Michael Carr-Gregg (School TV) highlights that parents feel ill equipped to have conversations around pornography with their kids and states that what kids are seeing distorts their idea of sexuality and intimacy.

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In this digital age, online pornography is almost impossible to avoid.  A 2006 study showed that more than 90% of boys and 60% of girls have viewed pornography online (Fleming, Greentree, Cocotti-Muller, Elias & Morrison, 2006) and this was before the prevalence of smart phones and tablets. The world’s biggest pornography site has 92 million visitors each day and one particular site was the 23rd most popular website in the world (ahead of Netflix and Ebay).

Young people and their views on pornography are highly gendered.  Young men are more likely to view pornography in a positive manner, whereas women are more likely to describe pornography as unwelcome, distasteful and degrading.  Many young women report that they feel uncomfortable when viewing it and express concern that it creates demands and often feel pressured to perform what young men expect.

There have been documented links between the aggression and degradation in pornography to violence against women with a 2010 study showing that 95% of aggression was met with a neutral or positive response (Bridges et al, 2010). Overwhelmingly, the message that young people are getting is that:

·         These experiences will be unpleasant for your partner but that is to be expected and is acceptable

·         Consent can be negotiated

 A genuine concern is that the voice of pornography is educating our young people about sex and this drowns out the more reasonable voices in their lives.  Just as we can acquire a taste for a particular food or drink, repeated exposure has shown that it is possible to develop sexual tastes and preferences from the material viewed.

Teenagers response to their sexual education is that it is too little, too late and too biological.  So, what can we do about pornography?

1.       Limit young people’s exposure and access to pornography.  Whilst this is incredibly difficult, it is about managing technology, through supervised access, time restrictions and through the use of filters

2.       Equip and encourage young people to critique what they see. The ability to read imagery and develop critical media literacy is key

3.       Help young people develop skills required to resist pornography’s influence. How to our kids respond to peer pressure or the pressure they receive from their partner to replicate what is being viewed.

4.       Finding creative and compelling ways to explore the issues and have the conversations as a society.

 A recommendation from the Children’s Commissioner for England’s Report (2013), states that the curriculum content should cover ‘access and exposure to pornography, and sexual practices that are relevant to young people’s lives and experiences, as a means of building young people’s resilience.

Through Year Level sessions students will be able to explore the issues surrounding pornography through age appropriate activities.  However, you at home are able to have the conversation surrounding pornography and can learn more information by viewing “Online Pornography” on School TV by visiting https://faithlc.qld.schooltv.me/newsletter/pornography or by reading the information and tips provided on http://www.itstimewetalked.com.au/parents/.

 

References

 Bridges, A, Wosnitzer, R, Scharrer, E, Sun, C & Liberman, R 2010, ‘Aggression and Sexual Behaviour in Best-Selling Pornography Videos: A constent Analysis Update’, Violence against women, 16(10), pp. 1065-1085.

 MJ Fleming, S Greentree, D Cocotti-Muller, K A Elias & S Morrison, ‘Safety in cyberspace: Adolescents’ safety and exposure online’, Youth and Society, vol. 38, no. 2, 2006, pp. 135–54.

 

 

Mindfulness

Author: Miss Chloe Yates, Year 11 Coordinator

As we reach the peak assessment period of the term, many students can become stressed and anxious about their building workload. It is imperative that students have appropriate and effective ways of managing stress and anxiety to maintain positive mental health and wellbeing. Recent research has shown that practising mindfulness can have positive impacts on reducing stress and anxiety and building students’ resilience. Mindfulness is the practice of being present and focussing on what is happening in the moment, which in turn can help to manage negative or anxious thoughts entering the mind.

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Mindfulness refers to present-moment, nonjudgmental awareness and practice of the technique has increased over recent years as a stress management strategy for young children through to the elderly. Some benefits of practising mindfulness include improved sleep, stronger relationship and increased self-awareness and self-regulation. Research suggests that mindfulness is a much more effective stress management tool than playing video games, surfing the internet or hanging out with friends – some of the most common stress and anxiety outlets for young people. Mindfulness also helps students to recognise their negative feelings and emotions and let them go. Mindfulness practice is a great way for young people to escape from the over-stimulation of the modern world and the media saturation of their daily lives.

Three beginner mindfulness techniques that students can use to help manage stress and anxiety are:

One-minute breathing exercise

Sit with your back straight but relaxed. For the next minute, focus your entire attention on your breathing in and out, how air passes in and out of your nostrils, and how your abdomen rises and goes down with each breath. If thoughts start crowding in, gently let them go and refocus on your breathing.

Check in with yourself

Bring yourself into the present moment by asking yourself, ‘What is going on with me at the moment?’ You can label your thoughts and feelings - for example, ‘that’s an anxious feeling’ - and let them go. You may start to feel more of an observer instead of someone reacting to thoughts and feelings.

Eat mindfully

When you’re having a meal, focus on your eating. Don’t read or watch TV at the same time. Pay attention to how the food looks, smells and tastes. You may find you enjoy your food more, and stop eating when you’re full instead of automatically finishing what’s on your plate

There are also apps such as Reachout Breathe, that helps students to regulate their breathing and heartrate in moments of stress and anxiety and Smiling Mind which has guided mindfulness meditation exercises for teens. School TV has a range of valuable resources including interviews with experts and mindfulness relaxation techniques for parents/carers and children.

Click here to access SchoolTV

It's Time We Talked...

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.

An alarming number of young people are coming across explicit content online, whether intentionally or accidentally.

An alarming number of young people are coming across explicit content online, whether 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.