I remember when I first started teaching 18 years ago, just mentioning the word “gay” in a grade 6 or 7 class would bring on swarms of laughter, snickering and barfing noises from students. But thanks in part to national awareness campaigns like Pink Shirt Day we’ve come a long way in the past decade when it comes to people understanding that homophobia isn’t OK.
On February 2, 2016 I was asked to be a guest on CTV Morning Live to discuss some videos that had just been uploaded to YouTube. The videos featured girls engaging in physical fighting on high school grounds during lunch. Their male peers filmed the fighting and egged them on as they did. The videos were quickly removed, but the damage had already been done. Thousands of people watched them and many, like me, were left feeling sad, angry and discouraged.
Parental consent for a fieldtrip. Informed consent to participate in a study. We throw the word consent around without thinking about it too much, but what about sexual consent? What is it and what do we need to teach our kids about it?
Did you know that your teenage child’s ability to make decisions has not fully developed until they reach 25 years of age? Their frontal cortex which is yet to form completely makes it difficult for them to make rational and disciplined decisions.
I recently came across a Canadian study that explored the characteristics of victims of sexual coercion. Sexual coercion is a broad category often used by contemporary researchers to refer to the spectrum of people (men, women and transgender folks) whose experiences range from being pressured in some way either implicitly or explicitly to engage in sexual contact to people that have experienced overt violence and sexual assault.
The majority of parents understand that the internet is a valuable, yet dangerous place for teenagers. But because cyberspace wasn't around when we were growing up (wow, our parents had it easy!) it's often difficult for parents to know how to navigate what their teens are doing online, how to monitor it, how much to monitor it, and how to help their teens generally to make smart decisions on the internet. The good news is that there are several basic things parents can do to keep their teens safe online.