Our children are having sex from as early as 12 years of age, to deny this fact is to bury our heads in the sand. It was sad last week the way parents received the condoms debate triggered by a suggestion that this useful tool in the fight against the spread of STIs and unwanted pregnancies should be made available to our children from as early as 10 years.
From the editor’s desk by Nevanji Madanhire
Whether we like it or not, thousands of our children are already using condoms, while thousands of others are not. The difference is information; those who are informed are using condoms, while those without it are indulging in unsafe sex. The question, therefore, is not whether we should give our children condoms, but how we can change their attitudes towards premarital sex!
Last week’s debate should not have ended the way it did, that is, with a ministerial decree that condoms would not be made available to schoolchildren. It should have opened a robust debate on what should be done to change our children’s sexual behaviour.
Parents found it repugnant that their children should have easy access to condoms, but they did not introspect and come up with reasons why sexual attitudes have gone so terribly awry. The debate must have been a wake-up call on the whole subject of sex and sexuality in homes and schools; at what stage should parents and schools begin to teach about sex?
Parents and teachers are not teaching their children this important subject, so the children get their information from the wrong sources especially the internet and direct satellite television. One only has to tune in to the popular music channels on DStv such as Trace to see where our children are getting information on sex from.
The most successful musicians are those who are prepared to go on stage naked; they sell sex rather than musical talent. Their highly sexualised performances are infectious to the youths. The youths, especially the impressionable girls, adore Barbadian singer Rihanna and American Beyonce, when it’s not these two’s music that they admire but the extent to which they are prepared to go in their nakedness.
As a result our schoolgirls have also been sexualised, hence you see the hemlines have receded on school skirts. It is amazing to see the extent to which our schoolgirls go to accentuate their looks. A visit to teenage fashion shows in the cities will shock anyone conservative enough to hate condoms.
Our children — some as young as 10 — have watched the Pokello Nare sex tape; they have also watched the Tinopona Katsande one! Yes, ask them, they will tell you they did! Tinopona talks to them daily on radio (at least she used to) and they adored her when she appeared on the soap Studio 263. She is a role model for many, so her sex tape must have attracted considerable interest from the youths.
Those are not the only sex tapes they have watched. Because they have unlimited access to the internet, they have also watched the sex tapes of their international idols such as Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Tulisa Contostavlos and Katie Price. These are women who have become very rich and famous through public sex displays.
Our children now have smart phones by which they exchange porn. WhatsApp has made porn not only easier to watch, but also easier to share. Other social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, which parents cannot police, also ensure easy access to porn.
But let’s look at what a single sex tape can do to the impressionable girl. Pokello had sex with her boyfriend Stunner, who was a celebrity of sorts. First message: sex gives you access to celebrities! Second message: sex with celebrities does not have to be safe; Pokello did it without a condom, so it’s fine. Third message: sex is a passport to stardom! Pokello went on Big Brother and found fame and a boyfriend because of sex. And, fourth message: Pokello’s parents did not condemn her behaviour, in fact they are revelling in her newfound stardom. So, it’s okay, parents accept premarital sex.
It’s easy to see that all the information our children got from the Pokello and Tino sex tapes is wrong and dangerous.
According to reports, in the United Kingdom “a third of children have accessed online pornography by the time they are 10 years old.
“And more than eight in 10 children aged 14 to 16 say they regularly access hard-core photographs and footage on their home computers, while two-thirds watch it on their mobile phones.
“Parents appear to be unaware of the risk to their children as three-quarters of the children surveyed confirmed their families had never discussed online porn with them.” (The Daily Mail)
Many local parents will dismiss this as something peculiar to the United Kingdom and other developed countries, but the internet knows no boundaries. It’s amazing how much more techno-savvy our children are than we. They will access the same videos as easily as their UK counterparts. They view the same sex games viewed by children in more developed countries.
The result, as Sonia Poulton said writing for The Daily Mail, “Our children’s worldview tells them that it is no longer enough for young girls to have talent. They also must be prepared to strip to their undies while bumping and grinding for the wide-eyed young audience before them. They don’t know pop music without the pornographic influences.”
This puts our children under pressure to have sex early. That is where good parenting comes in. Instead of living in denial that children are not having sex early, thereby exposing themselves to disease and unwanted pregnancies, parents should take the bull by the horns and begin to do more for their children’s sex education.
As a start, parents should take an interest in the things their children watch. The children will obviously find ways to evade parental policing, but if the parents are more open with their children and begin to convince them that what they see in the movies or on videos on the internet is not reality; that in reality sex is much more spiritual than the commercialised acts they watch, they may begin to see sex differently and behave in an appropriate manner.
For parents the choice is stark; give your children information on sex, or, give them condoms!