Ford government takes aim at Internet porn in new sex-ed curriculum

By Jonathon Van Maren

As I noted back in March, the Ford government’s reboot of the sex education curriculum came with some good news and some bad news. I more or less concurred with the analysis put out by ARPA Canada at the time, which noted that this new system puts far more power in the hands of parents than the old curriculum under Premier Kathleen Wynne did, despite the fact that there were some obvious disappointments (gender ideology was delayed, for example, but not removed from the curriculum entirely.) Gender ideology is profoundly poisonous, and thus this curriculum is in many ways genuinely dangerous, as Barbara Kay’s recent analysis of the impact it is having on Canadian youth clearly illustrates.

With that said, I suspect that sadly, this is probably the best curriculum we can hope for from a government serving an aggressively secular public school system—and as I’ve said dozens of times on this blog, parents who wish to pass their values on to their children should not be sending their children to public school in the first place. The fact is that this curriculum is a direct result of feedback from parents across the province, and many of those parents have far more liberal views on these issues than social conservatives do. The premier himself is not a social conservative, and Patrick Brown successfully purged most of the social conservatives from the party before his own ignominious departure. Thus, the handful of improvements speak to the hard work of those social conservatives who are currently working at Queen’s Park.

The sex education curriculum was released today, and I had the chance to go through it in more detail this afternoon. The opt-out option for parents, which the Ford government is providing so that parents can avoid any part of the curriculum that they disagree with, can be found here—feel free to read it for yourself. (Tanya Granic Allen of PAFE has been pointing out since the rollout out that if teachers are permitted to teach whatever they like at whatever age, as Ministry of Education lawyers claimed in court back in January, the opt-out could be largely futile, and the two-year delay in regard to gender ideology could be simply ignored by agenda-driven teachers.)

But I do want to draw attention to a couple of sections in the curriculum that were very badly needed, especially those on Internet pornography, which has been mainstreaming sexual violence among young people and purveying a poisonous ideology of sexuality for some time (a new study says that teenage boys are two to three times more likely commit sexual violence if they are consistently exposed to porn). This passage, for example, is excellent:

Teacher prompt: “Sexually explicit material is easily accessible and can be found in a variety of media, including social media, online games, music videos, movies, and pornography. This content can portray people and relationships in ways that are misleading and inaccurate, and can promote harmful gender stereotypes. It may not show people behaving with respect for themselves or their partners, or giving or respecting consent. What are some other ways in which viewing sexually explicit media can affect healthy development?”

This section, which also highlights the impact pornography has on young minds, is also quite good, especially considering the growing influence of what scholars call “porn myth,” which is an ideology porn users imbibe that persuades them that women and girls can be pushed after they have refused to engage sexually because that is what they “really want”:

Issues with the content of pornography include that it often portrays sexuality and relationships in unrealistic and harmful ways. It reduces people to sexual objects and is often disrespectful to women. This can also be true of video and online games. Also, pornography often shows sexual behaviours that are high risk for STBBIs. If a person sees pornography, it is important for them to understand that it may be showing things that are unrealistic, unhealthy, or harmful.”

Internet pornography is one of the primary threats to the health—especially the sexual health—of young people today. The fact that this curriculum addresses the threat of porn is a much-needed measure that will, hopefully, help to protect teens from the influence of this poisonous material. Again, this curriculum is obviously a disappointment to those who expected Ford to actually repeal and replace the Wynne curriculum. However, I do think we should recognize that it is an improvement on the Kathleen Wynne curriculum on several key issues that will likely have a real impact on the health of students.

FacebooktwitterFacebooktwitter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *