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Pornification and why our children are in trouble

By Gillan Scott, God and Politics in the UK

Over the last week or so I’ve read several articles on the sexualisation of children and teenagers in the press. Most of it appears to have been driven by comments made by two MPs; Claire Perry and Diane Abbott. Mrs Perry in her new role as David Cameron’s adviser on the sexualisation and commercialisation of childhood made the headlines by suggesting that Parents should insist on seeing their children’s texts and internet exchanges to check on what they’ve been up to. Ms Abbott has been talking about the need for a revolution in sex education in order to tackle the problem of sexual bullying. Their remarks have led to articles suggesting that they are in a battle to become the next Mary Whitehouse.
This comparison feels a bit harsh. Although it was before my time, Mary Whitehouse’s crusading to maintain standards of decency in the media and public life always gave the impression of being out of touch with public opinion and trying to cling on to a form of society that no longer existed. In comparison both Claire Perry and Diane Abbott are talking about issues that the majority of people agree are a problem and need addressing in some way. The pornification of British culture is a reality that we’re all aware of. Children are being exposed to sex in a way that no previous generation has. With the advances in technology, sexually explicit imagery is easily available for teenagers and the phenomena of sexting is now common in our schools. At the same time it is becoming harder for parents to keep track of what their children are seeing and sharing through their mobile devices.
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