This week’s post has been a difficult one for me to write. I have an idea of side effects of the internet in today’s world especially on our young generation but don’t know much detail about it. Why I don’t know much about side effects of the internet, there are few factors to me, Some of them can be: I am relatively a new immigrant in Canada and the region where I originally belong to is not as affected by media and the internet (I think). Another reason could be since I am old school and did not have much interaction before with digital world in my life.
I am gaining so much knowledge, goods & bads of the internet and social media, through ECMP classes. Most of the things are very new and eye-opening for me. Sometimes, I think where have I been living before? The internet and the social media is a vast network around me and I was ignorant. For the sake of this post and for the sake of ECMP classes in general, I have to research most of the things to get knowledge about them. Please let me confess, I feel that I am the most ignorant amongst all.
In spite of all the research in general for ECMP classes, I am only choosing two issues “sexting” and “child pornography” to talk about. These two terms were like brand new for me. The reason could be that I am an ELL (English Language Learner) and did not have an exposure to these terms before.
What do I know about these issues:
Well, I knew nothing about “sexting” and “pornography” in any context before. Perhaps, these are two new words in my English Language vocabulary. I heard the word “sexting” first time from Katia in ECMP355 class and I had to google it to know what it is. I did not want to open anything returned by the google search, except this Wikipedia article. It says “Sexting is sending, receiving, or forwarding sexually explicit messages, photographs or images, primarily between mobile phones. It may also include the use of a computer or any digital device. The term was first popularized in the early 21st century, and is a portmanteau of sex and texting, where the latter is meant in the wide sense of sending a text possibly with images.”
Sexting is known as a high-tech way of flirting, it’s the latest teen trend, sending explicit messages, photos, and/or videos via cell phones. I was listening to many TEDx Talks surrounding sexting and pornography and Gail Dines said that sexting is “a perfect storm of technology and the hormones”. I was quite impressed by these definitions. They show exactly how much technology like cell phones, social media, and the internet has been penetrated into our lives and culture. Not only internet and technology are at the back of these issues but large businesses and current marketing trends are also playing a vital role in producing sext-up-kids.
Pornography has also become one of the issues of our society since the popularity and accessibility of the internet. The Internet has made it affordable and also anonymous. Kids as young as 12 years of age are using online pornography.
Child pornography is a form of child sexual exploitation. Federal law defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (persons less than 18 years old). Images of child pornography are also referred to as child sexual abuse images. I really liked this video which is on Sexting and Child Pornography. This girl accumulated really good facts and information on “Should Sexting Between Minors Be Considered Child Pornography”.
Why it is an important issue to address in education:
Being a mother and a future educator, I am feeling so sad by getting to know these issues. Our kids and teens are more vulnerable to these diseases. Their intellectual capacity is not enough to make wise and correct decisions. Amanda Todd and several other stories are out there showing the severity of the consequences. These issues can lead towards more bigger problems which, in turn, will create more sick adults and hence it will influence badly in our society. Our children are worth more, our culture is worth more and I can not emphasize enough that awareness and education can be the best antibiotics against these diseases. Children should know the consequences of what they are doing. All aspects of technology should be introduced in the education. Proper rules and boundaries should be made as part of the law and they should be taught in schools as part of an enforcement of these laws. As described by the website FindLaw, For teens sending or exchanging risqué pictures, their concern can no longer be limited to whether it may bring embarrassment or even parental and academic discipline. Instead, they need to also consider whether that sexually explicit selfie can get them prosecuted under child pornography laws.
How you might address the issue in your future classroom:
By coming from a different culture and perspective, and being a mom of little boys, I am frightened, in real. I think teachers and parents are the most responsible people for their kids. They must share, communicate, and collaborate to perform this responsibility in a succeeding way. As Gail Dines said in her TEDx Talk that there is a need to reframe the culture – take the public health model. Build programs for parents, professional, and for students.
In early childhood and childhood, we as teachers and parents teach our kids what’s good and bad, what’s appropriate and inappropriate, what’s acceptable and unacceptable, what’s expected and what’s not, what’s good behavior and what’s bad. And we try to bring up our children with the best possible practices. At times, we are strict and angry with our children, and we don’t listen to them if they don’t listen to us. I think we should keep this attitude and practice with them even at a later stage of their lives as we, being experienced adults, know better what is good for them.
The Dangers of Teen Sexting by Raychelle Cassada Lohmann is a great article to read about the issue, why are they doing it, the legal and emotional consequences, and how do you protect your teen. I hope all of you would find it worth reading.