Last month we were contacted by a member who had been on holiday in the heart of England and had spent a few nights in different youth hostels. Disturbingly, he reported that pornography channels were available on the televisions in the bedrooms and public areas.
The Youth Hostel Association is a charity with a clear mission; to inspire all, especially young people, to broaden their horizons gaining knowledge and independence through new experiences of adventure and discovery.
Pornography is probably not the kind of knowledge and experience the YHA intends to provide its young guests.
We wrote to the Chief Executive of the YHA pointing out the growing body of evidence showing the profoundly harmful effect of porn consumption on the attitudes, behaviours and relationships of young people. We asked her to take action to ensure that these potentially harmful channels are removed from public view.
We were delighted to receive a reply thanking us for bringing the matter to her attention and assuring us that new guidelines have now been put in place to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
This is wonderful news and a good illustration that making our voice heard makes a positive difference.
In this case the easy availability of pornography was just an unfortunate oversight. However it does demonstrate the ubiquitous nature of highly sexualised material in our society. As it was so eloquently described in the Bailey Review, this is part of ‘the wallpaper’ of children’s lives today and what the long term consequence of this might be remains to be seen. We cannot afford to sacrifice the next generation as guinea pigs in a great social experiment. This is why your support remains so vital.