The Government’s most recent guidelines on SRE were released nearly two decades ago, in 2000. This was long before iPhones, WhatsApp, the rise of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, all which make communication quick and easy, but not necessarily painless, for teenagers today, as the recent news about Alistair Wilson and his ”˜sexting’ blackmail tactics clearly demonstrate. A case like this, involving several humiliated parties and violated privacy, could potentially have been prevented if the people implicated had been more fully educated as to the risks involved in their behaviour, on both sides.
In an era where young people can access anything and everything at the click of a mouse or casual scroll of a smartphone, the people in positions of power have a duty. Not to control or limit young people or to promote their ignorance of mature topics, as nowadays they will inevitably come into contact with explicit material, peer pressure and sexually orientated media influence, but to educate them. However many locks and child-protecting passwords you set up, young people will still eventually be exposed to sexual imagery, that they can’t ”˜unsee’, or even understand.
Lessons on the consequences of sexual pressure and of the exchange of explicit photos, to name just a couple, would be hugely beneficial to the next generation of millennials.