Mon, Jun 08, 2009
The New Paper
Boys taking porn to school - in handphones?

WATCH porn in school? Who? Us? No way.

That was the reaction from a number of secondary school students when The New Paper asked.

Only one of the 10 students we spoke to admitted to watching pornographic materials on handphones or media players in school.

But it was different when we put the same question to those who have finished secondary school.

We spoke to 10 of them and all said they had watched porn when they were in school.

They would huddle together in groups of five or six in between lessons or during lunch breaks. And it seems their teachers had no clue what they were up to.

Interestingly, the only secondary student who admitted to watching porn also said that it was in his former school that he had done it.

Said the 13-year-old Secondary 1 student, who declined to be named: 'We did it five or six times when I was in Primary 6.' He had been in a boys' school then and is now in a mixed school.

Undergraduate Nick Lie, 22, who was from a co-ed secondary school, said three-quarters of the 20 boys in his class watched porn.

Mr Lie told The New Paper: 'I guess there would be a herd mentality when there's a large group of boys, and they would tend to follow each other.'

Full-time national serviceman Wee Hui Neng, 18, who was from a boys' school, said: 'Sex is glamorised, so it's not surprising that pornography is making its way into the schools.'

A recent survey of 397 adults above the age of 20 and 35 children aged 15 to 19 conducted by software giant Symantec revealed that Singapore teenagers are spending an average of 18 hours a week online. The results were released yesterday.

This is about two times more than the time parents think their children are spending on the Internet.

The survey showed that one in five teens accesses illegal or unlicensed materials, including pornography.

But these boys do not just download the pornographic material for their own viewing.

One of them, Tim (not his real name), 19, a polytechnic student, said the boys would connect the media player with the videos to the school computer during free periods or lunch breaks, and watch on the bigger screen.

He said they had never been caught by teachers.

Growing trend

Mr Daniel Koh, 37, a psychologist in private practice, said it is an increasing trend that children now are more aware of their sexuality and sexual relationships.

'With modern technology, it is easier for (teens) to seek out and take such information around with them,' he noted. 'Therefore, wherever there is interest for such information or visual gratification, such things would surface.'

Parents are concerned.

Housewife Koh Huang Yee, 47, said : 'It's important that there is adult supervision to stop them from indulging further.'

Some students do get caught.

Bobby, 19, who from a co-ed school, recalled that he and a classmate were caned for drawing pornographic pictures in class. He said his teacher had caught him drawing on his worksheets, but he claimed his classmate was the culprit.

Both ended up getting two strokes of the cane each.

Bobby said with a laugh: 'Actually I was supposed to be given three strokes, but the cane broke.'

Mr Sim Joo Jin, spokesman of St Andrew's Secondary School said the student might be caned in public or in the classroom, depending on the severity of the case.

He added that if a student is deemed to be hooked on pornography, the school would suggest to his parents to get help from a Family Service Centre.

'This is because we recognise that the family offers the most important support structure to youths in need of guidance,' he said.

A secondary school vice-principal, who declined to be named, said that though he has yet to come across such cases, there are measures in place to lessen the chances of them occurring.

He said : 'Our teachers are punctual for their lessons, so with the packed schedule of the students, there would be less time for them to 'explore'.'

Mr Effendy Ibrahim, 36, the consumer business lead (Asia South Region) for Symantec and a father of four boys, said relying on technology to control porn is not enough.

'The best thing would be for parents to get involved - to impart the right values so children would carry on with them no matter where they are,' he said.

Audrey Tan Ruiping and Han Su-ying, newsroom interns

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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