Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Protect our children from sexual images

How sad I felt to read about the initiation of Lizi Patch's 11-year-old son into the darkness of online porn. As a mother I can imagine how horrified she must feel at this loss of innocence.

How did this happen? Is Lizi a neglectful and uncaring mother or naive to the dark side of technology? I think not!

Rather she sounds just like many other mothers across the country, simply trying to protect and raise their children in an ever changing world.

However, it is not the violent sexual images of hardcore porn that worry me as much as the more subtle sexual images and messages our children are exposed to over and over again.

These are so much more difficult to filter and protect our children from.

The celebrities, family programmes, soaps, newspapers, adverts and even children's programmes swamp our children's vulnerable brains with messages that a woman's worth is measured by how much flesh she can show to men, how sexily she can dance or how quickly she can seduce a man into her bed.

The message sent out to boys is that women are objects, here simply to satisfy the male desire.

Adults and even teenagers watching porn is now accepted as normal and harmless, but is it really? Regardless of religious beliefs or values, common sense tells me that what we feed our minds on greatly affects how we think, relate to others and see the world around us.

If we really want to protect our children then we all need to carefully consider that what society has 'normalised' does not make it appropriate or safe for our children. We only get one chance at childhood and so I urge parents to not be afraid to stand out against the 'norm', be different, say 'No', and protect the wonderful innocence, fun, love and vulnerability of our children. If we don't, who will?

Joanne Morrison

Dromore

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