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IOE Blog


Expert opinion from IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society


Banning porn won’t work. So how can we best support young people’s digital intimacies?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 25 April 2019

Jessica Ringrose, Amelia Jenkinson and Sophie Whitehead.

In recent weeks, conversation has been reignited around the UK’s porn block for under 18s. The plan to prevent teens from accessing porn has been long delayed, but the government recently reiterated that it is soon to come into effect.

Concerns have focused primarily on privacy: there is a particular danger that data breaches and data mining could occur because users will have to submit identity data so their age can be verified. The dilemmas for children and their parents and carers are vast.

But many experts who advocate for young people’s online rights and digital literacy do not believe that simply banning porn or mobile technologies will solve anything. Rather (more…)

10 years on: why we still need better sex education for the digital world

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 17 March 2019


Jessica Ringrose with Amelia Jenkinson and Sophie Whitehead of Sexplain. 

Last month new guidance  for Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education for England was put out for consultation by the Department for Education. This draft statutory guidance is intended to upgrade the nearly twenty-year-old previous advice from the year 2000. eb-digital-2-e1552856549265

It highlights the current challenges of the digital context and the essential fact that “for many young people the distinction between the online world and other aspects of life is less marked than for some adults” (page 9). This is referenced throughout, in the context of healthy relationships, respectful behaviour and consent. The importance of digital literacy skills is emphasised for both primary and secondary (see paragraphs 58, 62 and ‘Online and Media’ section of secondary table, p28).

While I (Jessica Ringrose) told the New York Times last month that the guidelines looked promising and, “It will be really great if they will be able to tackle all these issues” we, the three authors of this blog post, remain concerned that there are serious omissions and that the guidelines fail to address important (more…)