Britain expects the worst of its teenagers

I’ve long despaired of Britain.. The Press Association reports that “six Oxfordshire schools are to take part in the project after a rise in the number of teenage pregnancies in the county. Any girl at the four schools in Oxford and two in Banbury will be given the opportunity to ask for emergency contraception if they have had unprotected sex, or their contraception has failed. 

Child protection staff will step in if any girl aged between 11 and 13 uses the service. The text message service will be introduced in July by Oxfordshire County Council and the Oxfordshire Primary Care Trust, which have refused to name the schools involved.” 

Look at any public service ad campaign (a service to whom, I ask you) about the spread of STDs, the rise of teenage pregnancies, and alcohol-related violence. What are the messages? Use a condom. Check. Take the Pill. Check. In case of emergency, get yourself the morning after pill. Check. Report domestic violence. Check. 

What is missing here are simple, yet terribly unfashionable, questions: is it a good idea to have sex in your teens – or earlier? Are you ready? What does “ready” mean, anyway? 

If you want to talk about messages, this is what is seen. Sex feels good. Sex and love can go together, but who needs the strings attached? As soon as you are physically capable of performing the act, you’re likely to want to, so here are a few tips. 

In short, sex is reduced to a display of primitive hedonism for all those physically able to perform it. So, while an 8-year-old has the physical capability to drive, yet most adults don’t believe it’s the best idea to give him the keys, many parents – aided by public health officials – do quite the opposite when it comes to their children having sex. Sex becomes all about practicalities – “she’s going to be having sex anyway, so it might as well be in the safety of my home” – and nothing about the moral, emotional and psychological impact. 

Still, what would you expect? Is it not terribly uncool to put boundaries around our children? Aren’t children so much more mature than we were when we were teens? And, lest we forget, do we not employ experts to develop a safe environment – from schools to hospitals – in which we place our children? 

Let’s see what happens to the next parent in the UK who tries to deny their child the “right” to the morning after pill; let’s see who is parent of the child, then. In true Deweyian style, the roles of those who look after our children expand and expand according to the political philosophy of the age. Watch out.

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