No. 1 Rewarding News


There is a lot happening at The Reward Foundation, so we have decided to launch ‘Rewarding News’  as a round-up of news which will appear six times per year rather than quarterly. We tweet every day as far as possible and do weekly news stories too. If there is anything you would like to see us cover, just say so. All feedback is welcome to Mary Sharpe [email protected].

In this edition


Big Lottery Fund

The Reward Foundation is delighted to announce that it has received an award from the Investing In Ideas stream of the Big Lottery Fund. Our project has the ‘what-it-says-on-the-tin’ title Raising Awareness of Pornography Harms Amongst Youth in Scotland. The purpose is to develop lesson plans for schools as part of the Personal & Social Health Education (PSHE) programme.

We’ll focus on porn’s capacity to over-stimulate the brain with impacts on mental and physical health, attainment, relationships and criminality. We’ll also signpost ways to quit porn and build resilience. We are delighted to have the talents of a few teachers and pupils on hand to help us develop fun, interactive and age-appropriate materials.

“Apple, Google, Facebook? They are essentially drug dealers”

Read this excellent article about how Facebook is literally manipulating your brain. Tech insiders call out how the big boys take advantage of our emotional vulnerabilities to lure us in and keep us coming back. They make billions and we, especially adolescents, can end up depressed, anxious and dissatisfied with life.

Video interviews

We’ve been busy with our portfolio of video interviews. We did new ones with the up-and-coming young actor Robbie Gordon of the Scottish Wonder Foolstheatre company and with Christian McNeill, an inspiring resilience coach from Elements of Welling. We have also been starting the slow process of learning how to edit the videos. Our plan is to have some of these interviews on the website in the next few weeks.  We will tweet when they are online.

Self-Compassion: Book Review

We’d like to recommend an excellent book called Self Compassion – Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind by professor of human development Kristin Neff. We heard Kristen talk about her book at a conference last year and were impressed. She has had to overcome some real problems in her own life so it’s not just theory. The book offers a powerful solution for combating the depression, anxiety and self-criticism that come with living in a pressured and competitive culture. There are tried and tested exercises and audio downloads too available for free. It is an engaging and useful book.

So long, farewell

TRF said goodbye to Jamie Wright and David Martin, the two students placements from Napier University this year. They were helping us with our website development and we hope it gained them useful work experience. Good luck to them on the next stage of their careers.


Gentle Caressing

There is now evidence that being stroked by a partner is more pleasant than stroking either someone else or yourself.  Being stroked decelerates the heart rate. This is something for the NHS to consider as an alternative to the high costs and side effects of drugs.  It links well to what we know about bonding behaviours. See here for a fascinating article called “The Lazy Way to Stay in Love” that tells more about the magic of bonding behaviours.

Link between Porn and Loneliness 

Which comes first, the porn or the loneliness? In this research those who viewed pornography were more likely to experience loneliness, and those who were experiencing loneliness were more likely to view pornography.  These findings are consistent with research linking pornography use to negative affect/emotion.

Porn within Relationships

What is porn’s effect on couples? Here are some excerpts from an important new study led by Paul J. Wright:

  • “Preferring pornographic to partnered sexual excitement and devaluing sexual communication were both associated with less sexual satisfaction.”
  • “The more frequently pornography is used as an arousal tool for masturbation, the more an individual may become conditioned to pornographic as opposed to other sources of sexual arousal.”
  • “We found that the less men and women valued sexual communication, the less relative sexual satisfaction they reported.”


Revenge porn

In April 2017, the new law on revenge porn in Scotland came into force under the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm Act 2016. The maximum penalty for disclosing or threatening to disclose an intimate photo or video is 5 years’ imprisonment. The offence includes images taken in private where someone was nude or only in underwear or showing a person engaged in a sexual act. Read more here.

Scottish Parliament Education and Skills’ Paper on PSHE

The Scottish Parliament’s Education and Skills committee has just published its report on Sex and Relationship education. Pupils have said they want the lessons to go beyond biology and talk more about relationships. The Reward Foundation are poised to contribute to the solution. The award from The Big Lottery Fund will help us achieve that. (See above) More details on the committee’s paper can be seen here.

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