Am I really that naïve? Is it really so unreasonable to expect kids to hold off sex until they’re at least 16? Philadelphia thinks that I am. And so do a lot of commenters.
Here’s my issue. The City of Philadelphia launched a website recently, called TakeControlPhilly.org. Among other things, the site offers tips about how to properly put condoms on, how to use them, and how to prevent STD’s. All fine. But the controversial part? They will mail free condoms to those who are between the ages of 11 and 19, and live within Philadelphia’s city limits.
Yes, you read that correctly. Age 11. Without parental consent or knowledge.
In reading the comments that followed the original write up that I read (on another blog, not a news account), I was sad, and not at all shocked to read things like, “what a great idea! I hope they do this in my state!”
There weren’t many people at all who had a problem with this. No problem with circumventing parents; no thought to the Age of Consent and the fact that these are 11 year olds; not even any guff over the fact that this is more tax money being spent when there isn’t tax money available.
I don’t understand why there is such a lackadaisical attitude toward kids having sex. I’m not one of those people who thinks that you should wait until you’re married – I have friends who didn’t marry until they were 40. That’s a little ridiculous. But I do think that kids should wait until they at least understand the potential consequences of their actions. I don’t think 16 is unreasonable. In a perfect world, I’m thinking closer to 18 or 20 – so there’s the potential of a job to support that “consequence,” should it happen.
It seems to me that we (and by “we,” I mean, “Government”) should be putting together a massive marketing campaign, like “Say No To Drugs.” “Say No To Sex.” Looking up statistics, no matter how people want trash that program, the “Say No To Drugs” campaign did help reduce drug use during the Reagan Era. Why? Not because kids wanted to do what the government told them, but because everybody was behind that campaign. Parents supported it. Schools brought in speakers who told the horrors of drug use. Pictures of strung-out addicts were plastered all over the walls. Pretty soon, kids caught on, and it was uncool to do drugs. They shunned their peers who got high. Did it completely eradicate the problem? No, nothing ever will. But did it massively raise awareness? Yes.
But for some reason, we can’t do the same thing with sex. Those who argue say that there IS awareness… “Look at MTV’s ‘Teen Mom’ series!!” But what has happened to those girls? They’re rich and famous. How did they get there? They got pregnant. Wrong message, folks. They need to show the ones who got pregnant and are now living in shelters, on welfare, who can’t go to college because they have to work at McDonald’s just to pay for diapers. Because that’s more of reality.
I don’t know what the answer is. Truly I don’t. But I do know that saying, “Don’t have sex. Here’s a condom,” isn’t it.