Crayrons to condoms
By Rhonda A. Blackman | Mon, October 15, 2012 - 12:01 AM
The transition from childhood to adolescence brings with it many changes. These changes affect the physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and also the contents of their school bags. Some teenage children have replaced the crayons once found in their school bags with a thin latex protective barrier – the condom.
The male condom is a sheath or covering that fits over the penis and is closed at one end. It comes in famous brands, various colours, sizes and flavours. It is popular with teenagers and becomes the centre of discussion among schoolchildren where some are shared or even traded. However, the female condom (femidom) differs, it is a thin sheath or pouch worn by a woman during sex and lines the entire vagina. The male condom is preferred and more widely circulated among schoolchildren because it is cheap and easily accessible.
The condom has become commonplace in some school bags and may be hidden among books or tucked neatly inside a wallet.
Girls caught carrying a condom will be seen as promiscuous. For boys, having and being seen with condoms will be an ego boost and be seen as “cool”.
Teenagers may carry around this latex tubing for numerous reasons. It carries great significance for boys: the “love sock” acts as a confidence booster even if not realistic, and gives them the sense that they are men and ready for sexual activity.
Furthermore, the “love glove” is a statement that they could “get lucky” at any time and would be prepared.
The question of much debate is, should a school-age child be carrying condoms to school? Some parents might say “better safe than sorry” and encourage their children to carry the “Jimmy Hat”.
Others might question the message being sent. They may believe that the wrong values are being set but are telling the child it is okay to have sex, just protect yourself.
It would be ideal to say that school-age children should not carry condoms, but we live in the real world – a world that promotes sex in many aspects of life; a society that advocates condoms and not abstinence, that tells teenagers sex is a rite of passage to adulthood. The underlining message sent to children is clear: have sex but play it safe – “protect your wicket”.
Here are the pros and cons of children carrying condoms in their haversacks.
• Should children become sexually active, the use of a condom will protect them against sexually transmitted diseases including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
• Condoms prevent pregnancy [as a rule].
• Having access to condoms does not mean that children are having sex or going to have sex. It means that if they do have sex, it will most likely be safe sex.
• gives children the belief that they have licence to have sex.
• promotes a high level of promiscuity.
• leads to experimentation and misuse.
• invites the possibility of sex.
Parents do not want their children engaging in sexually activity at an early age. Therefore, it is necessary to educate and instil the correct values in them, knowing that when they are faced with the pressures of society, they will practise abstinence.
• Rhonda A. Blackman is an educator, National Development Scholar, and former president of the Early Childhood Association of Barbados Inc. email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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