The RespectYourself website has been widely condemned in the media this week.
We strongly support it.
It is a sad, sad fact that children live in an over-sexualised society; it is inescapable.
Those who believe that this website introduces kids to things that they don’t already know are in my view, a bit optimistic or naive, depending on how you look at it. 53 per cent of ten-year-olds have accessed some kind of porn on the internet, according to the charity Respect Yourself.
According to a study of 1,000 young people by Plymouth University, children as young as 11 are encountering online porn. The study also reported that by age 14, a majority of kids have viewed pornographic imagery.
Kids need sensible, reliable, safe information they can trust. It empowers them to make safe, sensible choices independently.
The things on this website are EVIDENCE BASED – they chose the content based on what teenagers are asking.
This site is based on a model from Holland, where they are OPEN and HONEST with kids, and where the teen-pregnancy rates is one of the lowest in Europe. Compare that to hear in the UK, where the rate of teen pregnancy is over 5 times higher than Holland and among the highest in Europe.
Clearly what we have been doing is not working.
Sticking our heads in the sand won’t change this. It won’t give young people the tools they need to make informed, safe decisions. Maybe being open with them will.