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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 17-Feb-06


Friday 17-Feb-06 

Rude courage and values

When I was a hormonal teenager, the height of pornography was a naturist magazine entitled Health and Efficiency and the height of bravery was buying a copy. In a small town, you knew that pretty much anything you did could easily get back to your mother, where punishment would be swift and direct.

The whole thing was more of a teenage rite of passage than base corruption. After a military-style surreptitious purchase and a long trek out into the countryside where snooping eyes couldn't reach, we goggled at the pictures of naked people playing tennis with their naughty bits blurred out.

Today, hard porn and worse is just a click away on the internet and, as a parent, I wonder and worry. But I also know that parents have always worried, and that chances are that things will turn out ok.

Whilst society is now more liberal, it is also far stricter. Whilst rude images and more are easily available, the social rights and rules of political correctness are much stronger. Communication is a two-way street, and with information access comes observation. Big brother is watching. Parental controls and system log files are also just a click away.

Growing up today is a minefield of opportunity, where temptation may be high, but detection and consequences can be greater still. Teenagers must either bite the bullet and conform or get smarter still.

Where I have detected transgressions with my son, rather than descending into anger I have used these as an opportunity to open his eyes. We discuss trust, decency and what is right and wrong, nudging the penny of adult responsibility closer to where it drops.

As our parents and their parents before them, we still teach our children values of respect and integrity. They still do things we'd rather they didn't, but we know they eventually will return to those core values that are at the heart of social and personal success.

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