Malorie Blackman, recently crowned Children’s laureate, has made the claim that sex should be depicted in children’s fiction in a more honest way, so as to prevent them from exposure to “brutalising” porn.
Although I think this is definitely a smart move, I can’t help but think that children just aren’t into books anymore. Authors will spend their time writing and trying to make sex more realistic than the somewhat disgusting portrayals on the internet, but it will probably amount to nothing considering that children won’t read those books anyway. I suggest that before authors spend their time writing these more positive depictions of sex and therefore create a more wholesome perspective on it, it’s important that we begin to make children aware of how important reading still is, and even more important, perhaps polish up on sex education lessons too.
Now this might be an assumption of mine, but I believe that the growing technology around teenagers has corrupted their minds to the point where they idolise video games and the internet, seeing it as their main source of entertainment. Reading just isn’t that valued anymore. Why would a child pick up a book and read about a loving, sexual relationship when they could type in a few keywords in Google search and find themselves in a world full of boundless, vile and quite frankly, wrong sexual information? In their minds, this is definitely the easier and more convenient option. It’s going to be quite a difficult task attempting to steer children away from their beloved laptops or iPads which allow them instant access to information such as this.
Despite this battle between technology vs reading as a pastime, I guess having more realistic and appropriate portrayals of sex in children’s fiction is a far better way to combat the ever-increasing pornographic material so readily available to children in this day and age. Parents can have the satisfaction of knowing that their child is learning such information in a more controlled and safe manner, and children receive the benefit of having better knowledge about sex.
Malorie Blackman definitely has the right intentions, but it would be a shame for the work of authors to go to waste when children are far more obsessed with the internet than holding a book in their hand and diving into a good read.