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Do you know who your children are sharing their mobile ‘sexting’ with?

Matilda, in her early 40s, is the principal of a high-brow private secondary school and her teeth are really on edge because of what she sees as a dangerous increase in ‘sexting’ among teenagers. According to her, “Curiosity about the sexual organs starts well before children know what their ‘bits’ are actually for, and the whispered exchange, ‘you show me yours and I’ll show you mine’ was always a secret rite of passage for kids.  So, there’s nothing new about kids being fascinated by sex; sexual inquisitiveness is a natural part of growing up. But today, sadly, the innocence has been stripped away and it’s become something base and far more sinister.

“For when children start `showing’ each other their private parts on mobile phones, footage that these friends then share with other friends, what does it become but home-made porn? What’s more, if those videos are then used to blackmail and bully, isn’t that effectively criminal behaviour?  A lot of principals are now deeply concerned with an increase in sexual bullying and `sexting’ on smart phones. They alleged girls as young as 13 are taking part in home-porn movies, while there had been an increase in complaints by girls who are victims of sexual violence. They are `persuaded’ by boys to `sext’ (send an explicit text including nudity) and then to take part in sex acts that are secretly filmed and shared.

“Do the girls want them shared?  Of course not.  This increasingly common behaviour is a course of terrible distress and can lead to depression and suicide. A few days ago, a girl stabbed her three-year-old son to death because he was a product of an incestuous act with father!

fone-texting“It’s been alleged that the increased sexualisation of society is fuelled by internet pornography and is the likely cause of these appalling increase”. There’s no doubt that online pornography is a significant factor behind those shocking school statistics, and the weapon of choice is the mobile phone. What modern child can possibly retain the old, natural curiosity about sex in this era of explicit pornography on-tap?  It was always a process of discovery, but what is left for the children to find out, when some have viewed online porn by the age of ten?

“Playing `mummies and daddies` is a billion miles away from watching women crying and gagging as they are gang-raped. Increasingly, online pornography at one click is violent, even brutal. This stuff is vile, ugly and degrading. The question is, don’t we need to ask what parents are doing about it?  After all, who is putting the phones – the main tool that enables this to happen – into young hands? It may seem incredible that any sensible parent would buy a ten-year-old an expensive smart-phone, yet they do. Lots of them. Parents who spend money on smart-phones (saying the games are educational) insist they restrict their use. But how? Children are so media-savvy it must be impossible to know what sites they’re accessing.

“My advise is not to indulge them. Porn aside, child psychologists are worried about the effect of `screen-time’ – televisions, computers and phones – because of its negative effect on developing brains and the way it impacts on a child’s ability to socialise and think. Children use their phones to get online and insist that this is the device they would miss the most if it were taken away from them. Might this have something to do with the fact that the smart-phone is the most difficult for parents to police? If your ten-year-old is at a friend’s or your 12-year-old in the football field with mates – who knows what they are watching online.  Or what pictures they are taking themselves?

“If government is sluggish and opinion-formers are wilfully blind to the evils of porn, then it’s time for parents and teachers to mobilise to fight `raunchy culture’ which treats women as sexual objects and encourage children to mimic the worst behaviour. For a start, I have no idea why any child should need to have mobile phone (smart or not) while in school. All phones should be handed in at morning registration and collected at the end of the day. Children have no business texting, let alone accessing the internet privately in school hours.

“I believe parents need to read some of these shocking school statistics and accept some responsibility for the way their children behave. Don’t give your children a smart-phone because they say their friends have them. They must learn to say `No’. And that way help the next generation understand that real women are strong and know how to say `No’ too”.

Why plain girls fare better at job interviews

A beautiful woman can use her looks for many things – but getting a job, it seems, is not one of them. Including a photo with a job application is less likely to lead to an interview for a pretty woman than it is for a plain Jane – or someone who sends no picture at all, research suggests.  In contrast, a handsome man boosts his chances of getting to the next stage of the selection process if he includes a photo.

The researchers say it is likely that women who already work in the company are jealous of beautiful rivals moving on to their territory. The Canadian and Israeli researchers submitted pairs of CVs to more than 2,500 jobs advertised over an 18-month period. The CVs contained fictional personal details, were designed to make the candidates sound appealing and included god qualifications and work experience. One CV from each pair contained a photo someone judged to be attractive or plain – with research showing that the attractive ‘candidates’ were ‘unmistakably better looking’ than the plain ones.

Previous studies have found evidence of a ‘beautiful premium’, with good-looking people judged to be brainier and more trustworthy. They also tend to hold more prestigious jobs and be paid more.  In this study, for the female ‘candidates’ the CVs without pictures were most likely to lead to an interview.  The applications with photos or plain women were the next most successful, but the beautiful women fared worst.  The findings could not be explained by the jobs, qualifications or amount of public-facing work involved. Researcher Bradley Ruffle, of Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada, believes good-looking women are being penalised for their beauty.  And with his research showing that most of those doing the recruits were young, single females,  he thinks jealousy is to blame.

He said: ‘Females in charge of hiring may well be jealous of prospective female employees who are attractive and compete with them for mates, or at least for the attention of male-co-workers.’ He said it is also possible that attractive women are seen as ‘social magnets’ who lower productivity. Or, he suggested, men may be deterred from hiring them over fear of a backlash from their spouses. When it came to the chaps, CVs that included pictures of someone males were the most successful, while CVs without a photo did next best and plain males fared worst.

Dr. Ruffle said: ‘A plain male needs to send over twice as many CVs as an attractive male for an equal chance at a callback#’. He said that recruitment agencies, in particular, may be relying on phones to choose between identically qualified candidates. Keen to make a good impression with the company using them, they may avoid putting forward unattractive applicants.


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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.