Youth organization hopes B.C. schools will incorporate its anti-porn curriculum

Designed by the Youth Well-Being Project, the curriculum was designed to encourage healthy sexuality

Although the school year just ended, an international youth organization is rallying to encourage public educators to include its anti-porn curriculum in classrooms come September.

Nadine Willis, programs manager for Youth Wellbeing Project Canada—a grassroots organization offering a holistic, whole school approach to counteract porn culture—says free access to technology and a porn-rich culture are leaving our children vulnerable to the pornography industry’s nefarious marketing schemes and negative consequences.

“The porn industry targets kids,” explained Willis. “If they catch them when they’re young, they have a guaranteed life-time customer.”

And not just “big kids, but little kids,” continued Willis. Using popular culture as a jumping off point, many adult films use current themes and keywords—such as fidget spinners—that are designed to catch the attention of children.

The problem with this behaviour, says Willis, is it hijacks healthy sexual exploration and replaces it with pornification: the increasing acceptance of sexual themes and explicit imagery derived from the consumption of pornography.

“That’s just the saddest thing to me, that kids are being robbed of their own sexual journeys,” said Willis. “Curiosity is developmentally normal, however, being able to go on the internet and type in (keywords is relatively new, so) … within seconds they’re watching pornography, and what do they do now that they’ve been awakened,” she asked rhetorically.

Unfortunately, they act it out. “The stats out of the UK show that peer-on-peer sexual abuse has increased by 400 per cent.”

READ MORE: Expert on porn’s damaging effects speaking in Chilliwack

And while these numbers hail from far away, they still hit close to home as the nation’s youth account for almost 60 per cent of all victims of police-reported sexual offences.

“Pornography is used to groom children for exploitation,” said Willis. “It has negative neurological effects, and it can lead to acting out traumatic situations.”

However, to combat that, the Youth Wellbeing Project, which got its start in Australia, has created an anti-porn curriculum designed to take the power of sexual awakening away from the porn industry and give it back to our youth.

In British Columbia, the Ministry of Education plans the academic outcomes for every grade, but it’s the teachers who decide how to get the students to the end goal, so Willis says she hopes the school district will adopt the programming as a way to fill the current void.

“We have a (sex education) program (in B.C.)—I think we barely have a program, as I don’t even think they’re offering it to older kids. So this full curriculum (we) have would really help.

“It’s extensive and fully detailed,” continued Willis. “It even has the wording and the lesson plans to integrate into many subjects. And I know I’m the only one offering this comprehensive of teaching in British Columbia.”

Designed for each stage of public education, Willis explains how the IQ Program curriculum incorporates four parts: prevention, safety, body, and relationship.

“One of the programs I’m working on is art, and for example, we ask (them to draw) what intimacy looks like. We’re focusing on the positive … and healthy alternatives (to pornography).”

And although Willis admits it may take some time to see the type of progressive action the Youth Wellbeing Project’s curriculum is aiming for, she says there are plenty of ways parents can help.

“Talk to your children’s school and express your worries, having a lot discussions about what a healthy life and relationships look like, keeping communication open, talk about what healthy sexuality actually is, and starting younger than you think you should.”

“A letter-writing campaign would also help,” Willis continued. “They want to do what people care about, so we need to let them know we care about this.

“One letter to your MP equals 5,000 constituents. If people begin to (write letters), as we approach them at the upper levels they’re going to be aware that their constituents are worried about this.”

Willis also encourages parents to check out the free Culture Reframed program, which provides resources to help parents build “resilience and resistance to porn culture, while promoting healthy (sexual) development” in their children.

“We just want our kids to be the best they can be,” said Willis. “And it starts here.”

For more information, or to volunteer to Youth Wellbeing Project Canada, visit YouthWellbeingPproject.com.au, or email Nadine Willis at TinaMonk@hotmail.com.


@SarahGawdin
Sarah.Gawdin@theprogress.com

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