‘Have Sex Online'
‘Have Sex Online', is the new initiative launched over the weekend by the HSE and the Irish Pharmacy Union. Essentially young Irish people are being asked to choose having sex online, or over the phone, to stop the spread of Covid-19. This is exceptionally reckless advice from the HSE, (Health Service Executive) in Ireland.
Promoting an alternative to physical contact with a partner, alternatives such as masturbating, having ‘phone sex' or ‘internet sex', are intended to prevent the spread of Covid-19. As reported in the Irish Independent today. “In a letter to pharmacies this weekend, the HSE's safe sex and crisis pregnancy programme, and the IPU, said that “while sexual health may not be a primary healthcare focus in the current environment, as restrictions ease there is a strong possibility that heightened sexual risk-taking will occur and people's sexual health and wellbeing will be affected”.
Good Intentions, But Reckless Advice
The advice broadcasted across the national media today does have good intentions, along with an important message. However, it failed dismally to account for the enormous risk of harm to young people, teens and children online. Normalising the exchange of self-generated sexual content is not something the Irish National Health Service Executive, should be doing. By promoting ‘Have sex online', the HSE has done enormous damage to the online safety of the very people the message is intended for.
Dramatic Increase in Online Sexual Predator Activity
Recently, almost all media outlets have reported on the formidable increase in active online sexual predators, during the Covid-19 crisis. The number of victims of online sexual exploitation, abuse and revenge porn are increasing at levels never before witnessed. Self-generated sexual content created by teens and children is posted and shared online faster than it can be removed. Law enforcement globally are beginning to reach a point where they will not be able to cope with the number of incidents to investigate. The last thing needed, was the Irish Health Service Executive to advice young people to ‘Have sex online'.
Encouraging Teens to Exchange Sexual Content is Illegal
There must have been little by way of consultation by the HSE, and those who understand the potential for harm online. Had there been, then from a legal perspective the advice would have to be, you can't tell young people to self-generate child sexual abuse or exploitation material. Generating, possessing or sharing this content is illegal under Irish statute. In fact, it's even a criminal offence to encourage a person underage to engage in such activity. How can the HSE say to a whole age demographic, “hay it's ok for you folk to have sex online. In fact we would prefer if you did that” Meanwhile, “the rest of you older people will be probably be horrified by this. Also, if you're legally too young to do it, we as the HSE don't condone that”.
There is No Delete
From an online safety perspective, under no circumstances should any official Government body promote engaging in sexual activity online. For starters any content generated good or bad, can be difficult to remove from digital devices. Content is almost impossible to remove online once shared. Content can be taken from a device if infected by malware. The platform being used may suffer a data breach. Devices are lost, stolen, or handed in for upgrades. There are several ways the content can end up in the hands of those who will do serious harm to the sender.
The release of self-generated sexual content destroys people. So the HSE advice, will undoubtedly have a negative impact on many. It may even permanently damage an individual's digital footprint, to such an extent as it impacts future college access or employment opportunities. It will have serious consequences for an individual's mental health. Countless people have taken their own lives, as a result of sharing self-generated sexual content that goes viral.
Advocates for Women and Children
Now consider the advice from the perspective of those who advocate for the protection of women and children. Agents who try to prevent sexual exploitation and human trafficking. The HSE advice only serves to generate many new victims. Had the HSE any understanding of how easily it is to become a victim of online sexual exploitation, it may have settled on very different advice. A victim does not have to be physically trafficked, to be sexually exploited and abused. That can occur following the exchange of a single compromising image. Victims of sexual abuse and exploitation are frequently trafficked through live streaming platform for the sexual gratification of people all over the world.
The number one category, on the most popular pornography websites at present is amateur, followed by teen. Sexual content being exchanged by trusting young people is now ending up on pornography websites, without the knowledge of the victim. If any member of the HSE had cared to examine one of these sites, they would have seen what displayed on the home pages. It's content that promotes incest. Content that can only best be described as something that is striping the young women featured of their dignity and humanity. So advising the Irish nation of young people to masturbate to online sex, is exceptionally bad advice.
This will absolutely ensure the further dehumanisation of females and the promotion of sexual violence and aggression by males. It will also bring some down a path to commit acts of sexual violence or aggression in the real world, and possibly even murder. This is something Ireland has already born witness to, with the murder of Anna Kreigel. At the very least, there will be a significant number who will go on to develop an addiction to pornography.
Government Body Promotes Self-Gratification
The last thing that any child or women's advocate needs right now, is a Government body promoting self-gratification through online means. Doing so only reduces the individual who shares self-generated content, to the sum of their genitalia. It also puts further pressure on people who haven't, to now start sharing self-generated content themselves. Teen female are already under enough pressure, without the Health Service Executive telling them to take sex online. What is the intended message here? Protect yourself from Covid-19 by becoming a porn star and exposing yourself to the entire planet online.
Already, we see serious dysfunction with males engaging in exhibitionism on dating platforms. There are huge amounts of females, of all ages who are reporting harassing behaviour from males who are sending unsolicited Dick Pics. Now the Health Service Executive has stepped in to this by essentially saying this is acceptable behaviour. “Take your sex online”. What is the message here? It's clearly being implied that the online world is now a safe place for sexual interaction.
Genie is out of the bottle
The Genie is out of the bottle now, and it very regrettable to see such poorly thought out advice, specifically being directed at young people. Cameras and video cameras have been around for a long time. Incredibly humanity has survived countless atrocities, wars, diseases and more besides. Yet throughout all that hardship, it has never been suggested to young people they should masturbate themselves to protect others. That they should exchange sexual imagery of themselves with others. There genuinely is something greatly unsettling about the message intended for young people. Almost as if they are perceived as animals, incapable of self control. This does them an injustice.
Perhaps, this calamity might serve as an example to others internationally. This is the type of advice that you don't give to young people during Covid-19. Hopefully, any future advice from the HSE will take the safety and welfare of every citizen in to account. Rather than attempting to appear cool and hip.
Online Safety and Parental Control Guide
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