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Monthly Archives: November 2015

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Rethinking media and sexuality education: executive summary

 

coverimage credit: George

Executive Summary

What’s the problem?

  • Parents, educators and policy makers are overwhelmed by the pace at which digital technologies (such as mobile phone and tablets) and platforms (such as Facebook and Snapchat) are evolving – and the increasing role they play in young people’s lives.
  • Practices such as sexting (the digital sharing of naked or semi-naked pictures) create complex legal and socio-cultural challenges for young people, schools and families.
  • To date, health promotion and education policy and practice have struggled to develop activities and messages that offer young people better guidance than ‘just say no’.

What we did

  • Four three-hour workshops were held in New South Wales and Queensland with secondary teachers, health promoters and youth workers (n=77). The workshops covered three relevant theories of media communications as well as practical activities adapted from The Selfie Course developed by Kath Albury, Terri Senft and colleagues. Follow-up surveys assessed the extent to which participants found this approach useful, relevant and applicable to their work.

What we found

  • There are both individual and institutional barriers to an asset-based approach to young people’s digital media practices. At best, an approach focused solely on risk will result in frustration for professionals and young people alike. At worst, it will actively undermine trust between young people and the services that wish to support them.
  • Educators and policy-makers need to move beyond asking ‘what does media do to young people?’ towards asking instead ‘what do young people do with media?’ The frameworks and activities piloted and evaluated in this study can support them to make this change.

Next steps

  • A majority of participants indicated a desire to engage further with critical theory and practice models for working with young people in the area of media and sexuality education.
  • This report presents data self-reported by participants. Future research could engage more closely with educators to better understand how the frameworks and activities piloted in this project are applied and translated in their practice.

The Rethinking media and sexuality education project 2015 was led by Kath Albury and Paul Byron, UNSW, with the support of True Relationships & Reproductive Health Queensland, and Family Planning NSW.

The preliminary research report is being launched this morning at AFSEH’s First National Conference, at Western Sydney University.

A full pdf  is available for download here.

Follow the AFSEH conference Twitter conversation at #afseh15.

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Planning to discuss the Essena O’Neill story with young people? Read this first…

 

Social Media Dress

(illustration credit: Anthony Stone)

 

Western Australian academic Crystal Abidin recently completed an ethnographic study of social media ‘influencers’. Her research tells us that the Essena O’Neill story is about A LOT more than the dangers of social media.

This blog post (and others on Crystal’s blog) offers an overview on mainstream media coverage of O’Neill’s story, and suggests  some ways to think about and discuss it, without blaming, or shaming young people’s social media practices. As Abidin provocatively puts it:

Dwelling on the micro-public actions of one 18-year-old (without taking into account nuances like her demographic, context, backstory, motivations, etc) and casting a blanket statement that WE NEED TO SAVE YOUNG PEOPLE or that YOUNG PEOPLE ARE NARCISSISTIC is

1) shallow albeit clickbaity,

2) prescriptive and not descriptive, and

3) just not productive. What is the value of another article describing how O’Neill cried through her video?

AFSEH members Kath Albury and Paul Byron have been conducting research into the ways that Australian sexuality educators and health promotion professionals engage with young people’s digital and mobile media practices. They will be launching their initial report on this project at the AFSEH National Conference at the University of Western Sydney in late November. You can check out a draft program here, and register for the conference here.

 

Young people, sexuality and diversity – evidence, entitlement and effectiveness

Simon Blake on Young people, sexuality and diversity – evidence, entitlement and effectiveness
When: 25 Nov 2015, 12:30pm – 1:30pm
Venue: CSRH, Level 2 John Goodsell Building, UNSW Kensington
Who: Simon Blake, Chief Executive of the National Union of Students in the UK
Simon Blake

This seminar will look at the way rights, values and evidence can come together to provide all young people with education and support that enables children and young people to develop the confidence, skills and knowledge to manage their relationships, choices and sexual lives as they move through puberty, adolescence and into adulthood.

Simon Blake OBE is Chief Executive of the National Union of Students in the UK, a confederation of 600 Students’ Unions. He is Deputy Chair of Stonewall, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender charity. Until May this year, all of Simon’s work had been solely focused on sex and relationships education, sexual health and well being for over 20 years. He was Chief Executive of Brook, the young people’s sexual health charity and Sex Education Forum.

To register: https://csrh.arts.unsw.edu.au/event/young-people-sexuality-and-diversity-evidence-entitlement-and-effectiveness/