Pornography is not well taught in English schools according to Ofsted (the body that inspects them). In general, 60% of schools are good or outstanding in PSHE (Personal Social Health & Economic Education), but when it comes specifically to pornography almost no schools are up to scratch.
Now you may not think it’s the job of schools to teach pornography. But pornography is something even young children have to deal with.
According to my dictionary, pornography is books, pictures, films and the like ‘designed to stimulate sexual excitement’. So we’re talking about a pretty wide range of material. In fact, it’s far too wide a term to be of much use when it comes to framing policies.
I certainly have nothing against material designed to stimulate sexual excitement. Pornography is a fact of life and has been ever since men fashioned representations of naked women and their vulvas from bits of stone and painted them on the walls of caves. Is sex wrong? No. Is it wrong to be sexually excited? No. So is it wrong for anyone to produce material with the intention of causing sexual excitement? Logically, no.
But there definitely is a worry when it comes to certain pornography being seen by children. What are nine year-olds to make of a scene, for example, where a man ties a naked woman to a cross and beats her with a whip? Or in which a girl is raped? There’s no way nine year-olds have the resources to evaluate those images. What will they make of sex? What will their own sex lives be like?
I don’t have the answer. But I’m quite certain it’s important to give children the tools they need to be able to deal with the pornography they’re inevitably going to see. I think Ofsted is right about this. I hope schools will improve.
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