I’ve mentioned before I have been readying my tween nieces for the onslaught of cyber relationships and hazards, as much as it pained me to perhaps get them to look at ulterior motives and maybe lose a little bit of innocence. Well, the last week has proven this has been a good thing to educate them.
I may never be a biological mama, but it doesn’t take a woman to give birth physically to become the afore mentioned protectress of her kin. In the words of Gary Coleman’s famous character ‘What you talkin’ about Willis’ was pretty much my feeling this week and I pity the fool who thinks it’s appropriate to sleaze upon my girls. I totally get the psychology of mamas in the animal kingdom that go from placid to the most fear inspiring creatures if you dare try to harm their offspring. I felt like that with my nails outstretched and the want to rip shreds verbally.
An eleven year old boy at their primary school put on his facebook page a request for the older niece (who is twelve) to upload a picture of her boobs and digitally send to him. Eleven year olds should be utterly embarrassed to even contemplate boobs, and honestly girls at that age have next to nothing to proudly display anyway. Trust me, at twelve I thought having huge bazongas would make me a woman and I wanted nothing more than to grow up quickly but if it had meant being open to my class mates and older men leering at me or asking to see them I would have been disgusted. Hell, at twelve I proudly proclaimed to anyone in ear shot I was never having sex. How little did I know…
So, upon dealing with the feeling of not being there and failing to protect my nieces (which is strange in itself for me to contend with) I’ve been pondering what we, what do you and I do to combat this behaviour? Can we even teach ethics to tweens who have all the information in the world but not the comprehension to get respect as opposed to ‘fun’. Youth is the reason we used to send young men to war, it’s the blessing and the curse of thinking you know everything and are invincible.
I am heartened that both girls knew the action was degrading and reported it to an adult, who then notified the school and the boy involved was spoken to and suspended. At least it was taken seriously and the school may now rethink their sexual education policy/program as currently in my state Police Officers from cyber crime units and sexual crimes speak to high school students to combat sexting and educate on the illegal nature of it in Australia. What is scary is that teenagers are at high risk of being put on a sex offender registry for life because they ask , receive or disseminate child pornography. What is scarier, after these information sessions it doesn’t seem to stop a lot of students from going straight back onto facebook and asking for more photos despite now knowing the risk.
So that’s where my mind is currently, contemplative, protective and more than a little bit sad that a lot of the simple joys I had growing up have been eradicated or dullified by the digital age. Being a mama Bear is also an interesting experience, which makes me wonder how am I going to be when they’re dating????
Growing up is never easy, but give me a time when computers were simply fun and trees in the backyard were made for climbing.