Friday, 6 July 2012

Consent, boundaries, love and social media

Over the last couple of days there has been a lot in the press about internet porn and its impact on young people's behaviours - the behaviours of some individuals have always been and continue to be abhorrent. Now we have pornography and social media to blame and it can be easy to think there is a magic bullet solution. There isn't, but a big contributor is good quality relationships and sex education at home and school. Whatever your view on opt in controls for pornography the heart of the public debate must centre around the issue of consent and how we teach young people about sexual consent.

Consent has always been, and will continue to be, the difference between sex that can be positive, pleasurable and healthy and sex that is harmful or exploitative.  That is why we must from an early age support children and young people's to understand, respect, give and get consent in all aspects of their lives.  At a very early age it starts with sharing toys and good and bad touch. As young people get older this early learning will be built on and include sexual consent.  As with all relationships and sex education it is important that we find ways to do this that are meaningful and engaging and can be applied to real live situations.  Real life stories, case studies and scenarios are a perfect way of doing this.  

I must have been away or had my head under the pillow when this story broke about Tulisa Constostavlos' ex-partner releasing a 'sex tape' on the internet.  Not the first and unfortunately certainly won't be the last.

Her response - a You Tube video - however in which she is clear her trust was betrayed offers a refreshing response to those shame filled apologies that often follow. Below is Eva Wiseman's article in the Guardian which gives more information, and Tulisa's You Tube video.

If I was still working with young people on a daily basis this would be my latest 'real life scenario and case study for exploring consent, boundaries, love, relationships and social media.

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