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Written by: Diana West
Tuesday, December 11, 2012 5:07 AM 

The Death of the Grown-Up (2007) was written just before texting became ubiquitous to the point of further short-handing human relations -- and certainly before "sexting" further short-circuited human development ... in children. If I ever update Chapter 5, "Sophisticated Babies," this report on an investigation into "sexting" among British 13- and 14-year-olds in the Daily Mail goes in:

Boys and girls as young as 13 routinely swap explicit pictures of themselves, a disturbing investigation reveals today.

Children are now so sexualised the practice has become ‘mundane and mainstream’. One girl told researchers: ‘I get asked for naked pictures at least two or three times a week.’

A boy said: ‘You would have seen a girl’s breasts before you’ve seen their face’ while another youngster referred to so-called sexting as ‘the new flirting’.

Yesterday censors were forced to announce a crackdown on depraved films amid fears they distort the way teenage boys view women.

The British Board of Film Classification will ban movies or cut scenes to protect the vulnerable.

Isn't this we postmoderns came in? Banning, cutting, prohibiting pornography in the public square?

It wasn't pornography that was new to civilization, of course, as the ancient vaults of the Vatican copiously reveal. What was new, lo, by around 1970, was its increasing respectability and ubiquity in the mainstream (aptly expressed, as noted in D of G, p. 94, by Screw magazine pornographer Al Goldstein's kvelling delight: "I never dreamed we'd be in the Javits Center. It is such a class place.") Obviously, a few decades later it would become the humdrum domain of sexted-up kids.

Pupils aged from 13 to 16 admitted to Channel 4 News that intimate photos helped them decide whom to date.

One told the programme her father would have asked girls for a kiss when he was her age ‘but now it’s kind of – do you want to have sex’. ...

A 14-year-old from Berkshire said she received messages asking her to reply with a smiley face if she wanted sex or another phone symbol if she would prefer to perform a sex act on the sender.

Ah, progress. In D of G, the technology was still primitive to the point of requiring colored bracelets to be worn to signal what variety of sex the girl was ready to engage in (pp. 103-104).

Insight into the pornography increasingly exchanged by young teenagers came from interviews carried out for the NSPCC and Channel 4’s Generation Sex series.

`This is mainstream; this is normal; this is almost mundane for some of the people we spoke to,’ said Andy Phippen, the Plymouth University academic who carried out the study.

‘In pretty much every school in the country, people aged 13 and 14 are talking about this stuff and dealing with this stuff.’

The research, based on focus groups with 220 Year Nine pupils aged 13 and 14, found they were becoming sexualised earlier, largely because pornography was so easy to find online.

Professor Phippen, who is a social responsibility expert, also held sessions with 10- and 11-year-olds and found that most have received online abuse as well as messages from strangers.

The Daily Mail is campaigning for an automatic block on online porn to protect children.

How reactionary.

Over-18s would be able to access adult material only after opting in with their service provider and going through a strict age verification process. ...

A 15-year-old girl said that boys expected certain things of girls because they had become used to seeing it in online pornography.

The boys told the study team that in the absence of decent sex education, they were turning to online porn to learn about sex and relationships. And the easy availability was having a debilitating effect on them.

One 15-year-old said: ‘They’re put under pressure to get these photos of girls, to have muscles, to look this certain way, to be able to like do all these positions and to be able to last the longest in bed.’

The study found that sexting was related to other online issues and draws influence from celebrity and pornography.  ...

A remarkable collection of which, it must be said, the Daily Mail regularly features in its "Femail Today" online frontpage column! Getrude Himmelfarb has  written about the "remoralization" of Victorian-era British society, but, while a lovely historical precedent, is something that would appear to be well beyond the grasp and ken of 21st-century English-speaking-peoples, such as we are.

Frankly, it's almost less depressing to write about Islamic jihad.

Of course, as the book explains, it's all related.

---

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