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Sex: Is your child getting exposed too early?

By Vision Reporter

Added 7th May 2013 06:58 PM

Recently, six pupils were expelled from Gayaza Junior School over improper sexual behaviour. This shocked many parents as children are thought to be too innocent to know anything about sex.

Sex: Is your child getting exposed too early?

Recently, six pupils were expelled from Gayaza Junior School over improper sexual behaviour. This shocked many parents as children are thought to be too innocent to know anything about sex.

Recently, six pupils were expelled from Gayaza Junior School over improper sexual behaviour. This shocked many parents as children are thought to be too innocent to know anything about sex.
 
However, in this information age where they can easily access the internet and watch programmes with sexual content on TV, it is inevitable that without parental guidance, they are bound to copy inappropriate behaviour, writes Frank Isabirye    
 
The drama that ensued after the dismissal of six P3 pupils from Gayaza Junior School three weeks ago is still causing waves. Naturally, parents cannot help but feel for those whose children were dismissed. But looking at the bigger picture, the incident is an eye-opener to parents in regard to the exposure of their young children to pornography and other sexual depravities. 
 
Herbert, an IT consultant, comes clean. “I went to a single sex boarding school. During my time there, I witnessed how one boy destroyed the lives of over 10 innocent boys by indulging them in sexual acts. Since we were in P7, we took responsibility and questioned this P4 boy. Besides confessing that he could not control his sexual urges, we also learnt that he got the exposure to pornography and other abominable sexual acts from home,” he says.
 
This is proof that children are exposed to pornography and other sexual content or activities away from school. This is where the parents of the dismissed pupils passionately disagree. Many concerned parents of Gayaza Junior School accused the school administration of failing to take responsibility since the children spend most of their time at school.
 
“This is total nonsense, a sign that the school is failing to mentor the children. How do you expel a P3 pupil over such allegations? These are babies,” a father to one of the dismissed pupils complained.  
 
But so many questions arise about how these children formed this habit. Was it through the internet? What do they watch on TV at home? Do their parents exercise viewer discretion when they watch programmes with strong sexual content? What is their caretaker exposing them to when the parents are away from home? Could it be their older siblings exposing them? If they are allowed to go to the neighbour’s home, what happens there? 
 
“While in primary school, I still remember vividly the different levels of exposure among the pupils. There was a certain clique of pupils who were so familiar with adult movies and were always sharing what they saw, yet some of us had no idea what the words “blue movies” meant. 
 
“To me, this was proof that the levels of sexual exposure vary from child to child, and it draws from what they are exposed to while at home,” Herbert says.
 
Margaret Dhafa, a mother, says: “During our childhood, we were much better off because there was no exposure to sexual content. There were no TVs; there was no internet and our parents were always at hand to be sure of everything we had access to. 
 
“Today, parents are so busy working that they hardly spare time to keep an eye on their children and what they get exposed to. Our children now access the internet, which is a source of sexual content and the signs are clear that our children are getting exposed to the wrong things right under our noses.” 
 
Dhafa adds that in this information age, where the internet and TV are unavoidable, the absence of parents to regulate what their children watch puts them at a disadvantage. 
 
Expert Opinion
What kind of help would you give to a child who has been expelled from school due to sexual misconduct? 
In the first place, these children (the six P3 pupils) have been traumatised.
 
Such a dismissal, coupled with the acts that they are alleged to have engaged in, will definitely leave permanent psychological scars in their life, unless immediate professional psychotherapy is availed to them.
 
Consequently, a child this young needs to be taken to a child specialist or child counsellor immediately. 
 
How do you counsel such a child?
You need to have a deep understanding of the psyche of a child. That is why it is best if these children are particularly counselled by a child counsellor. The age at which these children are is very critical because this is the age of character formation. 
 
A child counsellor can use clay, art or sand therapy, among others, to help the child. Under sand therapy, the counsellor can use a tray full of sand, which the child is tasked to make as many drawings as possible using their hands.
 
The child can also play with the sand in any way they want. This helps the child reconnect with that “child” deep within them that sexual exposure may have suppressed. 
 
What are some of the parental tips on how to avoid exposing your child to sexual content?
We all have different parenting skills. But this being the information age where TV and internet are babysitting our children, there is an urgent need for parents to manage what their children take in. This can be done in several ways:
nParents need to know and control TV programmes that their children watch.
 
nParents have to be aware of their house helpers’ behaviour and actions in the presence of their children.
nWith a lot of scandalous literature on the market and in circulation like pornographic magazines, parents need to be on the lookout for what literature their children are reading.  
 
nThe internet poses the biggest threat to the children. Parents need to be very vigilant about what their children access on the internet, which is quite a challenge because unlike TV, parents have little control over the internet.
 
nAs a parent, you need to be sure of the people you leave your children with.
nIntroduce early sex education to your child.
 
This will help them in the long run because if responsibly done, it will empower them. But when you leave the child to discover about sex-related issues on their own, they will end up doing the wrong things. 
Joseph Musaalo, family counsellor
 

Sex: Is your child getting exposed too early?

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