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[personal profile] jewelfox

This is a response to 'Hello, my name is Ally' -- how children are being exploited by YouTube predators.

The link goes into slightly graphic detail about fetish material. This short essay discusses in broad terms what's happened to me and to others, but is not itself graphic.

The tl;dr of the link is that certain people with niche fetishes, like macro, are exploiting kids' ignorance about this stuff by creating fake "challenges" in the vein of the ALS ice bucket challenge. And then asking kids to try them.

As someone who's had her sexuality exploited to control her, and used to be friends with someone who was sexually abused as a child, I've been thinking a lot about the way stuff like this happens in society's blind spots. In families and subcultures where no one can see what's happening, and to people who don't realize what is being done to them.

And I feel like, maybe we should just make different fetishes part of sex ed? I'm not saying "expose kids to fetish material," I'm saying "educate people of all-or-most ages about what different fetishes entail," and it doesn't even have to be comprehensive.

This would help to reduce the stigma involved in having "weird" interests, as well as the shock factor of finding out you or other people have such-and-such fetish. It would shine a light into niche communities that may be rife with abuse, like furry and individual families, by making it less scary to check up on them and less shameful to talk about what goes on in them. But most importantly, it would help to protect the innocent from having their ignorance exploited.

Anglophone culture is deeply afraid of sex and ashamed of its interests and fetishes, and this leads to pretending that they don't exist. This makes the life of an Anglophone child into one of those horror movies where adults are useless / oblivious, because you are constantly being exposed to alarming stuff that no one has ever prepared you for and no grown-up will even acknowledge exists.

It took me a very long time to be comfortable with my body and feelings, and to realize that they belonged to me and not to god or the devil. Something like this would have helped me to see my feelings as harmless, and my "caretakers" as dangerous.

Date: 2017-06-10 09:29 am (UTC)
sablin27: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sablin27
Better sex ed (and romance ed and relationship ed) is a good idea in general, but it's not likely to happen precisely because sexuality is so taboo.

A lot of parents are non-co-operative. Some don't see why kids can't pick all the information up through assimilation. Some don't want their kids educated as early as thirteen (when kids in poor areas tend to start trying sex out), because they think the pupils are too young to deal with the information or liable to try sex too early or even just ask awkward.

Also, it's hard on teachers. As far as I can tell, the majority of pupils get stuck on the idea talking about sex is naughty and don't absorb much because they're too busy giggling. Also, a lot of schools have regular teachers teach it (with or without guidance), which means they're not just really uncomfortable talking to kids about it and worry about accusations of sexual offences against minors in their care.

The internet is helpful, because it makes people more aware of how much variety there is out there, but it mostly does this for younger people who are already sexually aware, so it doesn't really aid in sex ed, except where people are actively directing teens to helpful sites. (Also, schools try to block sex-orientated websites.)

Also, I think kinks are too many and complex for this to help kids protect themselves from this sort of thing. I expect a lot of adults who kept an eye on their kids' channels and knew about these fetishes missed.
Edited Date: 2017-06-10 09:44 am (UTC)

Date: 2017-06-10 12:10 pm (UTC)
sablin27: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sablin27
I don't know much about online sex education beyond my own information. However, I'd imagine that despite being one of the better venues for this sort of education, games would seriously lag behind other media, because they are complex and often co-operative to make. You'd need not just a few people who knew how to make games and wanted to make something realistic about sex, but those people to be comfortable talking to each other about sex.

I was rather ambiguous, but what I meant to say was that I think there were probably a number of older people who saw kids doing these videos and didn't realise that there was anything harmful going on. From which I extrapolated that greater knowledge about kinks wouldn't have be enough for most of these kids to recognise that they're being exploited.

I suppose that YouTube is the group best placed to prevent this sort of widespread subtle abuse. They could certainly do more to this end, like institute mandatory safety quizzes for users who have a channel. However, that's a lot of choices about danger and censorship to leave in their hands.

Re supervision:
Manual supervision of childrens' internet use is impractical and a major invasion of privacy. I do think that guardians should know the main risks of interacting online and keep track of what sort of sites children use (through talking to them), so they can make sure the kids know about relevant risks and correct any major misapprehensions.

Not sure how that works wrt harmful, controlling, or abusive parents.

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