The Case Of Missing Innocence

By | January 26, 2014

It happened again. The ill combination of tech devices, hormones and bad judgment, plus a lack of boundaries has a handful of students from South Kamloops Secondary School (SKSS) in Kamloops in a painful knot.

Will there be charges of child pornography laid in the latest case of inappropriate content swapping among high school students? After all, an incident in Victoria ended up with a girl being charged.

wrote before about children nowadays having unrestricted access to online pornography. And how perhaps we should heed the British PM’s proposition that internet providers install filters to prevent access. I also said that my sons are still so young that I should not be personally concerned just yet, but when the time comes I will not shy from having ‘the talk.’

The reactions then and since went from ‘It’s OK to lighten up about the issue, it is the 21st century after all…’ to ‘Yes, this is a scary reality.’ Parents of children my oldest son’s age tell me their children are far from even knowing about online pornography let alone searching for it, yet my son hints to an alternate truth. He knows because he’s in the middle of it.

Children nowadays know more than we think they do, and they are, like all children, curious. Teens and preteens get to play grown-ups too soon and too aggressively; they act like adults and make many adults cringe. Then again, truth be told, many people who have subscribed to the new best-seller Fifty Shades of Gray  believe that being liberated is a desirable attitude in today’s world. Note: I will discuss the questionable nature of such claims spurred by the book in a later post.

Tempted to ask why children hurry and open the ill Pandora’s box all too soon? Because it’s there and it’s tempting and because even if you know you’re not supposed to, peer pressure is a huge factor in tweaking will power to the dark side…

In other words, you don’t want to be the one that is not up to speed when someone asks the question… So you go and look. And learn, wrong things included, and thus the dark secrets steal innocence and widen the gap between children and adults.

So they know porn is there, they know how to access it and they are also told through sexual education sessions that sexual explorations are OK as long as precautions are taken. And explore they do, with disastrous consequences.

From accessing online pornography which paints a skewed image of real sex, to snapping and exchanging indecent photos and thus hurting fellow classmates and friends, breeding a new form of bullying and pushing some towards terrible definitive decisions, to playing ‘relationship’ before they know what a relationship entails, children are hit by the sexual liberation tsunami harder than we can imagine and the consequences are worse that we might ever hope to find solutions to.

So we know all of that. We know what they can do and we’re getting to know what’s out there in cyber space. Lots of unfiltered information that can hurt.

Though sad, stunning stories of teenage suicide caused by sexual harassment and cyber bullying, as well as of stories of indecent photo swapping are darkening the horizon, I believe there is still time to act. Not by leaving it to others to address it as they see fit, but by finding the courage to look our children in the eye and call it as it is.

Knowing the truth provides solid ground to stand on and look for solutions. Or to start brainstorming at least.

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Fact: Children have tech devices that allows them to access a flurry of information online, pornography included.

Possible solution: If needed for communication purposes (as if) perhaps opting for the basic tech device rather than the latest model. With explanations as to why that is. Though they may pout, all children appreciate being taken care of and feel safe when they know boundaries are in place.

Fact: The said tech devices nowadays have cameras. Taking inappropriate photos just for fun is a mistake but it is not a deadly mistake. Or is it?

Solution: The explanation that any kind of indecent photo of anyone under the age of 16 that is sent, received or traded means possession and/or trafficking of child pornography and any association with such photos could lead to criminal charges. Which makes possession or swapping of inappropriate photos a deadly mistake.

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A certain expected disconnect between parents and their growing children has always been there, but we’re witnessing an all-new, all-engulfing generational gap nowadays. It’s a social experiment with no precedent and while we often hear of parents and children bonding over electronic games played on the family console, many of those kids will be sucked into the dark reality of playing naughty.

To that, no amount of talks at school or media awareness campaigns will help if the parents do not step up to the new, granted, overfull plate and have ‘the talk(s).’

Innocence lost is a crushingly sad reality. It is what my son wonders about. If we adults let our children be robbed of it so easily, how can they be expected to hold onto it? Most children are too young to even know that such things exist, let alone understand the wrongness of the crime once they are exposed to it.

Not taking the proverbial bull by the horns in this situation is akin to leaving our children in harm’s way hoping they will not be harmed simply because we’ve been imbued with too many happy ending scenarios along the way.

Life is real and we cannot eschew ourselves from any reality that comes our way. ‘Head in the sand’ leaves the rest exposed, and that includes the children we cradle so dearly to our hearts. No ‘I’m sorry’ can ever make up for it. Because there is no going back.

Which is why the time to act is now and not a second later.