about sex, complex problems, sex, Sex education, technology

A single click

Baby poster-01Young individuals of today spend more time interacting with multiple forms of media, including the Internet compared other activities. 95% of today’s youth is online, and 74% of them are able to access the Internet from a personal mobile device. Clicking on screens and speaking into our mobiles and tablets readily retrieve information. It’s fast, it’s easy. Information has become ubiquitous in today’s technology-saturated world. But how much of that information is trustworthy? Combine that with the fact of kids being naturally curious about sex and wanting to find out as much as possible and discuss with their peers, and we have a big problem to deal with here. Modern sexuality education and the values imposed by our culture have continuously refrained from accepting the existence of all the exposure children are receiving today.
When a child comes across extremely graphic images or videos online, it can be both stimulating and upsetting. An unexpected encounter with highly provocative sexual material crosses boundaries and compromises innocence. As stimulating as it can be for kids to see graphic sexual material, it can also be overwhelming and even frightening. The association may often be direct, between one’s exposure to sexually explicit material and one’s sexual attitude and behavior.

So,

Either we allow sexually explicit material online to be the sex educator of the youth today, or we take the responsibility on ourselves. For the latter to happen, we must clearly outline the existence and meaning of pornography and sexually explicit material, differentiate between porn sex and real sex, examine the frameworks of sexuality and its ethics, and exchange views on the idea of right and wrong in the context of sexual activity.

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about sex, Make it normal, responses, sex, Sex education

Make it Normal – Youngsters Talk Sex

We invited a few of our peers and asked them to read out some general facts about sex. None of them knew what they were going to be reading. We captured their reactions on camera.

But apart from all the awkwardness and the laughter involved, there are other reasons behind the making of this video. Their reactions show that talking out loud about these topics is not the most comfortable thing to do, even though they were speaking these words before their own friends, even though these statements are facts, adults of their age should know (that is if they knew what all they were saying).

And beyond the kind people who spared time to participate, some of the ones watching this for the first time might just hear something they haven’t heard before, in a ‘more fun than biology class’ way.

But the bottom line is, why should it be so embarrassing?

 

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design thinking, methods and tools, sex, Sex education

Shuffle and Deal

Do you remember our GMTs and our affinity map? (see https://shhhsex.wordpress.com/2015/10/27/method-to-madness/)

And our trigger cards? (see https://shhhsex.wordpress.com/2015/10/14/trigger-cards/)

We printed all our GMTN cards and trigger cards, to use them for a second round of ideation. We picked up Goal, Method and Tool cards at random and thought of solutions related to these cards. Different permutations and combinations lead to various kinds of solutions, and in the process more cards got linked to each solution.

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Coming up with all our ideas was the easy part. The ride gets bumpy now, when we have to pick the ones we want to take forward (really excited about all the arguments the four of us are going to have). The card games are over, it’s time for battle.

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persona mapping, sex, Sex education

Persona Mapping

We came up with nine personas to define a focus group our project’s solutions could be devised around. While thinking of possible design interventions, these personas would help us optimise our ideas in terms of approach, scale and credibility.

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persona mapping 12

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The character illustrations have been taken from the “chumbak” sticker collection.

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inforgraphic, parent child, responses, sex, Sex education

Story of Our Lives!

We had sent out two surveys to everyone we know back at the start of October; one to be filled by the ‘children’ (between the ages of 13 and 25 years old) and the other to be filled by the ‘parents’. In total, over 400 individuals filled out these surveys. The responses we got shed even more light on why sex and sexuality need to be taken out of this dingy, dark abyss of shame and ignorance.

Quotes from the parents describing their first sex talk with their children

Quotes from the parents, describing their first sex talk with their children and what prompted it

When we read the statements above it’s evident that most parents needed an external trigger to start this conversation; a conversation that wasn’t held as much as it just happened (fortunately!). Why should “the talk” require to be an ice breaking session between parents and their children? Why should we even throw in quotation marks and place this topic on a pedestal cursed with taboo in the first place?

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Quotes from the children, explaining whether they’ve had the talk with their parents or not

Here we see what the children have to say about the talk. From their general tone of speaking, certain things are very clear. Their sarcasm shows regret for all the lost opportunities of having a discussion, and for all the discomfort they felt during the discussions that did take place. There is a sense of defiance that points towards a big
difference in the opinions of the two respective generations. And in the minority that did seem to be able to speak to their parents openly, we see gratitude and confidence.

Also, we must spare a few moments of utmost empathy for the ones who were supposedly expected to learn from porn! Parents, please; children need correct information and good guidance.

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The numbers speak for themselves

Half of these children wouldn’t ask their parents, two thirds of them wouldn’t ask their teachers. The result? The internet is the most trusted source, followed by their peers.

But the point to note here is that the most trusted sources of information are not the most reliable ones.

In other shocking news, there are many individuals that have wrong information regarding the spread of STIs, even though our country’s education system seems to promote the teaching of topics like contraception and safe sex. A third of them believe that oral sex cannot cause STIs, almost a third of them believe that abstinence can cause them and one fourth of them believe that oral contraceptives can keep them safe from these diseases. At least the topics that are being taught should be taught very well, shouldn’t they? It seems not.

So the bottom line is, we need to start having ‘the talk’, and it should not be such a big deal for everyone. If personal stories don’t alarm you, the numbers surely ought to. We need good sex and sexuality education, now.

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educating, Sex education, workshop

Make It Normal – Inferences

Conducting our workshop was a great experience for us. We had a lot of fun interacting with the students, finding out what all they know about sex and sexuality and see them slowly come out of their shells.

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The ice-breaking video made the class 8 students very shy. They felt uncomfortable in coming to the front of the class and describing words from ‘Describe It’ by themselves. Seeing them refrain, we had to describe a few words for them ourselves.

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Class 8 students while their Biology teacher was present in the class

The presence of their Biology teacher also played a part in making them feel awkward, and while she was in the class their interaction with us was limited. However, after she stepped out, the students gradually opened up.

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Class 8 students after their Biology teacher stepped out of the class

Playing ‘Myth & Match’ proved to be a big success. The students started talking to each other about the myths and were eager to find out whether their guesses were correct or not.

Class 11 students were much more comfortable with the workshop in general. In an attempt to make the experience more open and casual, we removed all the tables and made them sit in a cluster. They were laughing away while the ice-breaking video was playing, were familiar with the words from ‘Describe It’ and keen to go in front of the class and play the game. They could quickly guess most of the words and enthusiastically took part in the discussions that these words sparked. Even while playing Myth & Match, most of them made correct choices or guesses while deciding which statements were true.

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A class 11 student trying to describe ‘puberty’ through drawing

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Class 11 students sitting and conversing with us in a cluster

The anonymous question answer session was very interesting for both classes. This activity made us realize that they do have a lot of queries regarding these topics. The questions ranged from vague queries to specific ones. It reinforced the fact that the students had a variety of opinions and doubts about sex and sexuality, doubts that they could not ask everyone around them. Their sources of information had been their peers and the internet. Hence they welcomed any assurance from someone older yet close to their age and preferred talking to young adults like us or their friends over teachers or parents.

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Anonymous questions from two different sets of students (above and below)

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The fact that speaking to the adults around the students (parents and teachers) was difficult for them also reflected in the feedback forms. More than half of the students said they preferred speaking to young adults and/or their peers about sex and sexuality over their parents. The feedback we got was very positive too; it was a huge boost for our confidence! All students said that they learnt something new and almost all of them said that the workshop was fun.

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A few of the feedback forms we received

There was stark difference in the students’ behaviour between the start of the workshop and its end. From shying away from even saying the word ‘sex’ out loud to asking questions about it without inhibition in a matter of one and a half hours told us that they were eager to know more; that they believed in the benefits of sex and sexuality education. The most satisfying bit for us, was sensing that the students had started trusting us.

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about sex, educating, learning, Sex education, workshop

Make It Normal – the Structure

We devised a workshop called ‘Make It Normal’ for school students of class 8 and 11 separately, with the objective of starting a conversation about sex and sexuality.

Make it Normal

The workshop’s structure

Before holding any workshops we consulted Ms. jamila Firdaus, the school counsellor at Navrachana High School, Vadodara. She helped us segregate our content age-appropriately and told us how to approach the students.

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Discussions with Jamila Ma’am

The workshop would begin with an ice-breaking video just to have a laugh and make the students feel comfortable. The ice-breaking videos for class 8 and 11 respectively are as follows –

The video would be followed by games – ‘Describe It’ and ‘Myth & Match’. Both games involve interactions between students that prompt exchanges of information between them regarding topics related to sex and sexuality, interspersed with us stepping in to provide them with extra information.

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Tools used for our games ‘Describe It’ (the pink slips), ‘Myth & Match’ (the green cards), and the red question box for anonymous queries.

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Cards segregated into separate stacks for the two classes

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A class 8 student describing a word to the class

After playing the games, students would ask us questions anonymously using a question box, which would be discussed and answered by us in front of the whole class.

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Anonymous Q & A with class 8

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The feedback form to be filled by each student at the end the workshop

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