Human sexuality 101
Wednesday April 01st 2009, 12:02 pm

Neil Mitchell from radio 3AW addresses the child-produced porn problem from an unfortunately wowserish position.


Parents are generally ignorant and even the most computer literate will be outpaced by their children.

A starting point is to recognise that pornography is now a significant part of Western culture and will not go away.

Children will be exposed to it early and increasingly will be invited and encouraged to become part of it.

If parents, police and teachers confront that and then set out systematically to warn and educate families, at least they can be prepared for the inevitable and perhaps minimise the damage.

There is a role for police here, but schools must be involved and so, too, must parents and politicians.

There is massive ignorance around the dangers and the reach of internet pornography and the industry is breaking new ground daily.

It is time the real world tried harder to catch up.

First things first. The internet and mobile phones are not the problem. It’s the behaviour of the kid that’s the problem. Sexually precocious behaviours have been around as long as there have been children who have discovered the difference between girls and boys. How parents respond to that sort of behaviour is a cultural matter, but expression of human sexuality under no circumstances begins when we turn 18, with asexuality as normal until age 17 years, 364 days. Sub-18-agers canoodle and lots more, often rather enthusiastically.

Pornography certainly is more instantaneously available with the current internet, but it certainly was available long before. In the late 1960s, boys in my neighbourhood swapped highly coveted copies of Playboy nicked from their fathers’ stashes. Long before then, dog-eared Tijuana Bibles made the rounds. Remarkably few boys exposed to Playboy or cartoon porn turned into murderous child sexual predators.

The recent moral panic over child pornography on the internet has gone way over the top. Even the creator of Megan’s Law insists that minors found to be making porn of themselves should in no way be accountable under the stringent penalties of that anti-child predator statute.

The upshot to normal kids is that if their ordinary if unacceptably youthful sexual expression, ie. sharing nudie pics with a boy/girlfriend with no initial intent for the images to go further than that, goes awry, they can find themselves convicted of child porn offences, with all the future-destruction that entails, such as registration on child sex offenders’ lists. This can block employment and educational opportunities for kids who are really guilty of no more than some inappropriate expression of normal human sexuality, needing nothing more than a parental intervention and admonishment. There’s no place for police intervention unless there has been coercion to produce intimate self-portraits.

As technology makes inappropriate sexual expressions easier, kids need to know the risks of unintended redistribution of their private pics, but at the same time, should not be taught their sexuality is a crime.

Clearly, this entails an open and honest dialogue with your kids about sex and sexuality, not insulating them from it or pretending it doesn’t exist until age 18. It means understanding human sexuality, acting like a parent and protecting your kids with the very best information you can muster.


6 Comments so far
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Puritan insane America is setting the trend. Nude or part nude pictures of yourself or your children are now considered porn and an offense at the whim of some minor anal retentive twisted law enforcer. No matter if the images are stored on your private phone or PC. It seems just matter of time before some unfortunate teen will be charged with ‘sexual misconduct with a minor’ for masturbating him/herself.

Comment by melchior 04.01.09 @ 12:39 pm

It seems just matter of time before some unfortunate teen will be charged with ’sexual misconduct with a minor’ for masturbating him/herself.

I don’t doubt that’s already happened.

Comment by weez 04.01.09 @ 12:43 pm

The yanks may be leading the way, but David Marr reckons we’re not far behind in the moral panic sweepstakes.

Tyranny, the price paid for not giving offence

Comment by weez 04.01.09 @ 12:57 pm

We’ll setup another children protection agency. Next we apply for a grant to prove a link between minors, sex and marijuana. We appoint ourselves a prominent position in the organisation on a generous fee and a matching travel allowance. We don’t have to do much besides writing press-releases to fan the hysteria and to keep the donations rolling in. Headlines like:’2 in 3 underage girls who smoke marijuana go down as drug crazed prostitutes’ will have the public and current affairs TV salivating no-end. There won’t be many people who dare to question our research either except the usual suspects who, we all know, have something to hide. And for us: cosy employment with a good wage and expensive everything paid study tours to Bhutan, Bali, California… and wherever there is some kind of conference.

Comment by melchior 04.01.09 @ 3:15 pm

Great Zarquon, mel… sounds like work. 😀

Comment by weez 04.01.09 @ 7:29 pm

Well, how bout this! 1st Amendment to the rescue.

US judge bars teen ‘sexting’ charges

A federal judge has temporarily barred a Pennsylvania prosecutor from filing child pornography charges against three teenage girls who took nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves.

The decision is the latest wrinkle in a nationwide phenomenon known as “sexting,” in which teenagers armed with cell phones photograph themselves in various states of undress and zap the images to world+dog. Over the past 18 months, cases have popped up with increasing frequency in which juveniles accused of engaging in the practice are threatened with felony prosecutions under tough child-pornography statutes.

The three girls in this case were threatened with prosecution for two pictures, one that showed two of them in bras and one depicting a girl getting in the shower with her breasts bared. Prosecutors with Pennsylvania’s Wyoming County District Attorney’s office promised to dismiss any charges if the girls attended a “re-education” program that included nine months of classes and six months of probation.

The girls’ parents sued in federal court, arguing that because the pictures weren’t obscene and didn’t depict sexual acts, they were protected by the US Constitution. In a preliminary decision, the judge hearing the case sided with the parents and temporarily blocked prosecutors from filing charges.

Comment by weez 04.02.09 @ 3:55 pm

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