Posts Tagged ‘UniSA’

Sexting Reaches our Primary Schools

May 28, 2012

We don’t need another useless educational program preaching to children about the dangers of sexting. They are preachy, don’t work and make children uncomfortable. What we need is a strong approach consisting of two important elements.

1. Clear and unambiguous consequences for those involved in sexting; and

2. Schools need to focus more squarely on setting up an environment that encourages its students to respect themselves. This kind of behaviour comes about from an abject lack of respect for one’s self. Schools should work on their culture and environment to ensure that their students are best placed to make good decisions, not just because they are sensible, but because they have an inbuilt sense of self and a regard for who they are and what they do with their lives.

Without this approach, nothing will properly discourage children from this potentially dangerous practice:

PRIMARY school children are engaging in “sexting” and experts believe parents are at a loss as to what to do about it.

UniSA academic Lesley-Anne Ey says research shows some pre-teens are taking and sending out sexually explicit photographs.

“There’s research saying the phenomenon is out there for children at primary school and I think parents might be a bit uninformed about it,” she said.

“They may think it is a risk when their children are adolescents but it’s unlikely they would think younger children would engage or be aware of that kind of behaviour.”

Ms Ey said educating children about the dangers of “sexting”, either by mobile phone or internet, had reached a point where it must be dealt with before they reached puberty.

“We need to start addressing this at primary school,” she said. “I think it’s too late when you start going into school at Years 8 or 9.”

Child protection expert Professor Freda Briggs said potential young offenders needed to be made more aware of the repercussions.

“Parents and schools need to be making young people aware that this is a criminal offence,” she said. “It’s a huge community issue and most parents don’t know what they can do about it. I think a lot of people have given up.”

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