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The Page Scandal brings attention back to Teen Sexuality, the Internet and Media

smitchells Icon Posted by Shireen Mitchell

December 19th, 2007

If you spend your time outside the Washington DC political beltway you would not have known who the Pages of Congress were. The Foley incident made the program known to national news. Today every step these Pages take are scrutinized by the public. The recent incident included oral sex, one teen to the other, and shoplifting (better known as “stealing, theft, a criminal act which brands the defendant a thief”). Now that the sexual behavior did not involve an adult’s influence (predator), everyone is scrambling for an answer to explain teen sexuality. The Internet, pornography and music videos have become the main explanation for teen behaviors not the teens. Congresswoman Norton on “To the Contrary” was the first to ask if she dare say it “that this behavior is more main stream” and soon everyone chimes in. This is not an isolated case among the Pages or teens in general.

Should we be looking at broader issues? Accounting for the influences of teenagers has always been difficult for adults. Are they just rebellious, is it peer pressure, are they misunderstood, or do they just like breaking the rules?

Many of us have been teenagers, but Bonnie Erbe, host of “To the Contrary” talks about puberty in the era of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. In today’s era everything can be caught on video or pictures through cell phones. I pose the question: Has this been going on all along? Now that we can get pictures and videos are we now concerned about the lives of teenagers? To Erbe’s point of early puberty, I don’t agree, I went to school in the 70’s with eight to ten year olds in puberty. It is believed that certain cultures have been going to through puberty a lot earlier than the medical books have been reporting (more on that topic later).

Genarlow Wilson was sentenced to ten years for a public sexual act that strickingly resembles the activity of the public sexual act of the Pages. Would the sentencing be remotely the same? So far the only action has been the resignation of the congressional members who were on the board of the program.

The sexual act has only been discussed based on the view of the promiscuity of the girl as a reflection on all teen girls. The issue of teen sexuality should not rest solely on the girls involved but should include the boys. We should not take the road of the “Abstinence Only” program documentation, which tells the girls to be stronger by helping the boys to control their urges.

We need a full conscience view of what is really going on in the lives of today’s teenagers, from the teenagers point of view not the adults, the Internet or Media. Other wise the commercial by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children will be more the norm than we would expect.

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