“Of all activities on the internet, porn has the most potential to become addictive,” say Dutch neuroscientists Meerkerk et al.Our unique approach focuses on the effects of internet pornography on the adolescent brain. The charity has been accredited by the Royal College of General Practitioners (family doctors) in London as a recognised training organisation for teaching about the impact of internet pornography on mental and physical health. For the past 8 years The Reward Foundation has been teaching in state and independent schools about the impact of internet pornography on mental and physical health and listening to what pupils want to learn and discuss. Most are fascinated by the workings of their brain and how their internet activities can affect their health, behaviour and motivation. We’ve also been listening to what teachers need to feel confident teaching this contentious subject matter. By focusing on the science and practical life experience, teachers will be in a good position to help pupils think through the challenges they face in today’s pornography-saturated internet environment. According to psychiatrist Dr John Ratey, “Your life changes when you have a working knowledge of your brain. It takes guilt out of the equation when you recognize that there’s a biological basis for certain emotional issues.” (P6 Introduction to book “Spark!”).
Expert InputWe have worked with the assistance of a range of experts including more than 20 teachers, many experienced in developing training materials for schools, lawyers, police officers, youth and community leaders, doctors, psychologists and many parents. We have piloted the lessons in schools across the UK. The materials are diversity friendly and porn-free.
- The lessons went really well. Pupils were fully engaged. There was enough information in the lesson plans to let teachers feel prepared. Would definitely teach it again.
- Re: Sexting, the Law and You: It was very helpful. They liked the stories, and these stimulated a lot of discussion. And we discussed the legalities that had to be seriously considered. Pupils said they weren’t too phased about receiving any sexting / photos as “it’s happening all the time”. They said they ignored it as it wasn’t such a big deal. We found that quite surprising. (From 3 teachers at St Augustine’s RC School, Edinburgh.
- “I believe that our pupils need a safe space where they can freely discuss a range of issues related to sex, relationships and the accessibility of online pornography in the digital age.” Liz Langley, Head of Personal and Social Education, Dollar Academy
- “Mary gave a superb talk to our boys on the topic of pornography: it was balanced, non-judgemental and highly informative, helping to equip our students with the knowledge they need in order to make informed choices in their lives.” Stefan J. Hargreaves, Master in Charge of Seminar, Tonbridge School, Tonbridge