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Porn on pupils’ tablets is akin to a virus

COMMENT

The National Development Plan 2030 envisages a high-quality education system, with globally competitive literacy and numeracy standards.

There are many things that can contribute to building such a system but there are some behaviours at schools that have to be eliminated.

For example, I have observed that the newly introduced paperless classroom initiative and the provision of tablets, which is part of the information and communication technology (ICT) programme in Gauteng, is responsible for the promotion of premature sexual fantasies among adolescents. I have witnessed this in six schools.

Ideally, the use of technology, and of smart boards and tablets, is to enhance teaching by giving teachers and pupils access to extensive learning material.

More than 377 no-fee high schools have high-speed broadband connectivity, interactive smart boards and access to e-content, and pupils have been given learning tablets.

But, while visiting schools, I have observed one common behaviour — pupils storing porn videos on their tablets. In classrooms, you find pupils sitting in groups gazing intently at them.

This can only trigger sexual fantasies, particularly among pupils who have not been exposed to sex. Suddenly, influenced by their peers, they are curious and want to copy it.

When the Gauteng MEC for education, Panyaza Lesufi, launched the programme in 2015, he emphasised that social networks on the tablets would be disabled, but I have noticed that pupils use ShareIt and other apps to share videos and pictures. Pupils can also gain access to their Gmail accounts, through which they can share porn videos.

Perhaps that’s why the department of basic education introduced its new policy of providing condoms in schools as part of its fight against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, and has given children over the age of 12 the right to access sexual and reproductive health services without parental consent.

The misuse of tablets is a serious problem, and we need to lobby for solutions to stop such behaviour.

I remember, in high school, our teachers would check our textbooks to see that we had covered them and that we were looking after them.

In the case of tablets, do teachers monitor them? No, they don’t. I have noticed that some teachers even struggle to operate smart boards, which suggests they lack basic technology knowledge and skills.

Also, our parents would examine our books and textbooks, especially when they assisted us with homework. Do parents do the same on mobile learning gadgets? No, they don’t — just because the majority of them can’t operate the gadgets.

But something has to be done, otherwise we will continue to hear reports such as the one about three boys accused of raping a grade two pupil at a Randburg school.

Also, we could witness an increase in teenage pregnancies. In 2016, 4 446 pupils became pregnant in Gauteng. Ekurhuleni was the worst affected, with 1 289, and Tshwane was second, with 1 136. Shockingly, 39 primary school girls were among them, but the worst-affected grades were 10, 11 and matric.

There is a lot we need to do to influence progress in schools. This includes equipping our teachers to master all the tasks expected of them and to groom honest pupils who strive to progress through education.

Finally, parents must not forget they have a huge role to play in their children’s learning.

Siwaphiwe Myataza is a political science graduate working as a content developer 

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Siwaphiwe Myataza
Siwaphiwe Myataza is a political science graduate from UWC and works as media liaison specialist in the City of Johannesburg. She writes in her personal capacity.

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