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Opinions of Saturday, 26 February 2011

Columnist: Appiah, Gifty Andoh

May lay Point Of View: JHS Pornography?

When Joy
News on Tuesday, 22nd February, 2011 mentioned in the headlines that
mobile phone usage by non-tertiary students was going to be banned, I just
wandered and convinced myself that what may have caused the issuance of this
directive must be gruesome indeed.

My anxiety
was confirmed. About twelve (12) Junior High School students were said to have
been involved in a some kind of orgy, filmed with a mobile phone and was being
circulated somewhere in Kumasi. JHS students in a videoed orgy in Ghana? That is
gruesome indeed and certain drastic measures needed to be considered. To my
dismay on the other hand, this issue as crucial as it is has not generated as much
debates on how to deal with the problem than partisan politics has.

Come to
think of it, does the problem really have much to do with non- tertiary students
owning mobile phones? I beg to differ though I stand to be corrected. For me, putting
a ban on the use of mobile phones by non-tertiary students is not only unnecessary
but will do the feet of an ant in helping deal with the issue. If the source of
the problem which is the mentality of people is not dealt with, the next time, they
will resort to the use of more sophisticated material. Besides, if phones are
banned in schools, it
can definitely be used elsewhere. Therefore, the story remains the same. In any
case, I don’t even think the video was shot in school.

I think that
this video is a clear indication and hardcore evidence of what we already know
but have deliberately ignored; that our growing boys and girls are very
sexually active and need extreme attention. This video is only an escalation of
reality (because there could be many such cases that are not videoed). It provides
warning signs for us a people as to how far the uncontrolled sexual craze among
the youth of today and moral decadence can go.

Some years
ago, the word sex could hardly be mentioned with ease, children could hardly
look on when two adults were kissing even in a television programme. Some time
ago, the most appropriate way of portraying intimacy between two people in a
movie was through their conversation, a hug and perhaps a peg. Sometimes the
screen will black out for seconds and then show those two people lying beside
each other (covered of-course).

Today,
pornography and sex stares at you in the face everywhere you go, from the guy
selling video disks in the streets, to the trotro stations, to the most
respected news stands, to the universities, and the list goes on and on. Some
people make it look and sound as though sex is the reason why man exists. It
pursues you so much so that even if you do
not want, it gets stuck and plays back in your mind once you allow it.

Most of our
home made movies tell of nothing but sex, premarital, post marital and outside
marriage. In-fact, some of these acts are even portrayed as legitimate and
right so long as the individual thinks so. These acts are actually endorsed. As
we do best, we have “copied” and “pasted” from various parts of the world
certain social and cultural elements without “editing”. In effect, we have been
led into compromises we have had to live with as a people and these have been
diffused very effectively through person to person and group associations as
well as the media. Some of these practices have come to stay and there is
absolutely no turning back from them.

Today, we
crave for pictures and scenes that will mesmerize and ignite certain passions
on the inside of us, we want to see as real action as possible in our movies
and so producers and film makers only satisfy the demand on the market. Who is
to blame? People’s wives, husbands, fiancées and fiancés kiss passionately and
engage in heavy foreplay with others. Even when their immersion in the act can
be smelt rather than seen, they tell us it’s just acting. What can we say? We
will only listen and perhaps continue watching.

Today,
morality is no longer a virtue but a “relative” word which is applied according
to a person’s own views and beliefs. Wrong is right so long as an individual
perceives it as such and vice versa.
Perhaps we have bitten more than we can chew by importing without
editing.

I believe
the problem has emanated from parental neglect and the general break down of
moral values and systems and in the country and the world at large. Factors
like the breakdown of the external family system, the internet with all its
other benefits, busy schedules of parents and the lack of knowledge of a true
identity are but a few crucial contributors to the moral breakdown we
experience today.

Some of the
students may have decided to practice after being exposed to such videos, some
may have been influenced, some may have done it for the sake of it and others
may just have been tricked into it. Whatever the reason, the point is that at
their ages, they are experiencing sex, most probably unprotected.

The Solution

The solution
for me has nothing to do with the ownership of mobile phones but everything to
do with their mentalities, perceptions about themselves, moral values and the
content they either expose themselves, or are exposed to. These are some
crucial factors that can regulate succumbing to pressures and conflicting ideas
as well as one’s susceptibility to tricks.

Parents do
not seem to understand the teen of today and they make very little effort to
wake up to the realization of the times in which we are. They choose the easy
way of being unnecessarily strict or over-liberal instead of going through the
“hell” of understanding the complexities of the 21st century
teenager who has unlimited and uncontrolled access to sexual stimulants, sexual
objects as well as “sexual beings”.

The young person
growing in such an era of moral decadence has access to virtually everything. Their
body parts develop so fast making them look so elderly that they attempt
everything reserved for adults. Sadly however, they mostly lack the faculty to
understand and withstand the consequences of their actions. It is this faculty
that needs to be developed. In it lies their empowerment.

The problem
is deeply seated in values and morality. Parental attention, and a focus on
these areas of the lives of young people by all stakeholders including
religious bodies, corporate bodies, the media, the Ghana Education Service is
key in handling this problem. As for the sex scandals involving the very people
who are supposed to lead the youth on the path to high moral values, the least
said about them, the better. Whilst urging such people to revise their moral
and integrity notes, we also need to take another look at and develop our
Religious and Moral Education.

Conclusion

While I
vehemently condemn this embarrassing and degrading act which started from the
universities
and seem to be travelling, I would like to appeal to authorities to reconsider
the ban on mobile phones by non tertiary students because what these students
need is the appropriate mindset in order to take advantage of the enormous
benefits of the mobile phone especially during emergencies. The achievement of
such a mindset will not come on a silver platter especially considering the
kind of society in which we live today but progress is possible when all hands
are on deck.

In the 21st
century, I dare say that it is impossible to ban the use of mobile phones. In the
meantime, the young ones involved in this video if known, must be monitored attentively
especially in these times when young people seem to be resorting to suicide as
an easy way out in times of “crisis”.

GIFTY ANDOH
APPIAH (giftdot@yahoo.com)