Technology has come such a long way since the 1990s. Armed with Ipod Videos, laptops, smart phones, blogs, it not only equip road warriors with the tools for their trade, it also arms our young with weapons of mass distraction, not to mention weapons of mass destruction. These mass-media communication tools draw our young to sorts of messages - good and bad.
Does that mean we should confiscate all tools of communication from them? May be... But that would be the easy answer. The tougher answer really is one that we already know... that we need to get involved. For example. Have you read your child's blog recently? Do you even know her URL? Well, just for your information - the rest of the world is reading her blog. She might be exposing secrets that might harm you.. no, I am not suggesting her body - I am suggesting your financial, office, home information that might just crush you. Did that grab your attention yet?
When we were kids, we wished our parents got involved with us... some of us even swore that we would never be like our parents. Yet, now, with our own brood, we find ourselves singing the same tune - that we managed during our time and so will they. Will they? Can they? If you and I were armed with the same weapons of mass distraction during our time, how would we have turned out then?
We cannot minimize our responsibilities simply by saying that we didn't know that phones can do such recordings. Decide today if you rather spend the time guiding them now or alternatively spend the time rehabilitating them back to health later. I seriously believe the second option is much more time consuming and emotionally draining. The choice is really ours, simply because the price or rather, the cost also belongs to us.
A friend once said to me.. "Who's teaching your kid? If it isn't you then it is someone else. Have you checked his or her credentials lately? Don't blame your kid - she is waiting for you to teach her.
Below is an article published on 26 Feb 2006 from the Straits Times.
Experts express concern over such behaviour and say parents must get involved in kids' moral and sex education
By Jeremy Au Yong and Nur Dianah Suhaimi
KITCHEN-HAND Coco, 22, sleeps with her mobile phone securely tucked under her pillow. She cannot risk it being stolen, because the contents of her Nokia N70 are especially sensitive. In her phone are 45 raunchy videos and pictures of herself and her boyfriend having sex, taken with the phone's camera.
'I am very careful with this phone,' she said, cradling it in her hand. 'I once lost my old phone, but luckily the thief didn't do anything with the contents.' Coco, who did not want to reveal her surname, has been having sex since she was 17. In four years, she has had nearly 20 partners.
Jaw-dropping stories like hers are now the talk of the town, triggered by the case of a 17-year-old Nanyang Polytechnic student, who lost her cellphone containing a steamy 10-minute film of herself and her boyfriend having sex, which ended up on the Internet.
The case - labelled by netizens as the 'Tammy' saga - turned the spotlight on a little known subculture among a small group of young Singaporeans.
There have been telltale signs of its existence. Last year, three
A discipline teacher at a junior college said that in the past six months he had found
two students with revealing pictures of their partners in their phones. In online forum
sammyboyforum, one section is dedicated to men who want to share nude pictures of their
Many parents, educators, psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors and sociologists are concerned that this behaviour underscores a gradual erosion of the basic moral values in the young - and highlights the need for something to be done.
The Sunday Times spoke to six young people who admitted to making their own videos.
Samantha, an 18-year-old poly student, said: 'I record myself for fun. It's actually quite exciting to watch myself having sex on camera.'
Her only precaution is to delete the videos every three days. Like her, 19-year-old Eddy, who is waiting to enter the Institute of Technical Education, and 17-year-old poly student May think nothing of playing at porn stars.
Both of them had their respective sexual experiences - taped ones at that - before they were out of secondary school.
Said May: 'It's not like we planned anything. The phone was there when we were doing it and so we just said, why not? It's no big deal.'
This cavalier attitude has some teen experts grappling for explanations.
A broad range of possible causes has been suggested, including the desire to have the recordings as an intimate keepsake, a sense of curiosity and a means of gaining popularity.
'Instead of watching pornography, these teenagers want to try being porn stars for a while. They want to feel what it is like to act like porn stars,' said Ms Susan Lotha, a child counsellor at Andrew and Grace Home.
Dr Brian Yeo, consultant psychiatrist at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, pointed out the accessibility and affordability of video recording. 'People have been making these sorts of videos for a long time, but now anyone can do it. Everyone has a mobile phone,' he said.
Teens described how easy it was to make recordings. They could just set the cellphone down on a table or even hold it themselves. Some newer models can record up to an hour of high-quality video at one go.
Experts agree that regardless of why teens do it, overly lax values lie at the heart of it.
'If the youths have reached a stage where they are already prepared to have sex, then recording it is not much more of a stretch. The question is how they got to that stage in the first place,' said Singapore Planned Parenthood Association's John Vijayan Vasavan. Sociologist Tan Ern Ser suspects that a change in parenting could be blamed.
'Parents do give their children a lot of leeway these days. Now they believe we should give them more space. Top that off with the exposure teens are getting to sex from the media and you have a group of young people who are then desensitised to it,' he said.
All agree that parents hold the solution - though it does not necessarily mean being strict. Mr Vasavan urged parents to speak frankly to their children about morality and sex instead, but without preaching.
This view is shared by Reverend Kong Hee of the City Harvest Church and educationist Carmee Lim. Rev Kong advised parents to be more involved in their children's lives to help 'define their moral out-of-bounds markers'.
Mrs Lim added: 'Parents are not spending enough time talking about moral values with their kids. What we need is to instil in them the right values, give them a good moral compass.'
For some teens though, the Nanyang Polytechnic saga is enough of a lesson.
Said Eddy, who has now downgraded his phone to one that cannot record video: 'I heard many stories about Tammy and I realise I could have been in her shoes. I'm very thankful that my videos did not fall into other hands. That would have been very, very embarrassing.'