We must not let this trend go on and not do something about it on a personal level. The Philippines is trailing behind the West’s moral decline and our government seems to be losing its moral imperative as our country’s legislators become bolder and more liberal in petitioning for laws that defy moral standards.
I stand firmly in my belief that GOD created the world and everything in it, and their existence comes with a purpose. Woman was created for a Man and night and day to complete a day. Even mountains, forest, seas and animals each serve their own purpose. And when these are violated and abused, it brings forth negative consequences to life and the planet. Disastrous events occur when we abuse the environment where we live, and we lose, when we attempt to defy the physical laws. In the same way, GOD intended sex to be enjoyed within the bounds of marriage, and its violation gives rise to various diseases, broken families, unwanted pregnancy, poverty and even death. When sex is done outside its intended purpose, bad things happen. The recent news on the rise of teenage pregnancy, sexual exploitation crisis and HIV/AIDS is a result of the mere violation of this moral law.
Why does our young people involve themselves to such risky behaviors? What and where do they get influence from? The following I think are avenues where our young people learn and get influence from and affecting the choices they make.
Parenting and the Home
It is the parent’s responsibility to rear, teach, model and guide their children into making the right choices as they mature. Kids learn from their parents and researches reveal that parents has the most influence on a child’s development. How teenagers behave, decide and choose depends on their worldview, values and beliefs – as a result of their upbringing, and environment where these teenagers grew up. Teenagers who goes through early pregnancy and suffer from HIV/AIDS is a result of the choices they make and their incapability of making cognitive actions. Researches also show that teenagers who goes through these painful experiences are mostly found to have been raised from broken and dysfunctional families. When teenagers are raised under good and responsible parenting – they are more likely to have better cognitive development, greater self-esteem, good behavior and firmer moral values. Family is the basic unit of a society and these social problems we face should lead us into evaluating ourselves, our government’s focus and existing programs that help improve the condition of every family.
A character education and life skills curriculum should be developed and taught at schools prior to introducing the content of sex education that we have today. Influencing the students to make wise choices cannot be done in a few hours or days of seminar or lecture as those other organizations do. It could take even more than a year to a few years. Teenagers need to have a strong foundation on understanding themselves, their uniqueness and value, then building good character and relationships before getting introduced into the proper context of when to experience sex and intimacy. According to a certain Mang Teban in opinion.inquirer.net page: in verbatim,
Teenagers must continuously be taught to control their emotions to the level of maturity where they should redirect their thoughts to completing their academic education in college or university and look forward to having a suitable employment or an endeavor to earn an income and make a living. This was what it was before and it works fine.
Teach our children to be responsible to refocus their drives and urges to making good in school and thinking of their future. There are many ways to teach the youth to be productive in their social relationships and earn more friends who are responsible not to dive into premarital sex that soon.
Furthermore, teachers should be properly trained on how to teach this character education curriculum so they can be effective, and be able teach it in an environment where students feel safe and accepted. Besides the curriculum, there should be strong teacher-parent-student connection, and allow the students to be in accountability groups where they can be further guided and cared for by a life coach or teacher mentors. It may be too ideal and requires a lot of time and effort but it is a better option if we want to teach them abstinence which is the 100% solution to this. If it is the best solution, we should teach it more than distributing condoms.
I strongly stand by this principle because I have personally proven it to be effective and we’ve doing this program inside our campus. We can only teach what we have, and those adults who themselves cannot control their sexual urges and have lost their moral compass about the proper context of sex are the ones who advise the unmarried young people that it’s alright to engage in sex as long as it’s safe. Well, not me.
On Condom Distribution:
Personally, I do not agree on the nationwide program of the DOH to distribute condoms in schools as a way to mitigate or address the rising cases of teenage pregnancy and HIV/AIDS. If they want to pursue with it, they should be selective. Find those who are already engaging in those risky behaviors, counsel them and give them condoms. Condoms are not for everyone and handing it even to those who don’t need it may indeed end up needing it as a result of insinuating them. The DOH has already identified the group of people who are mostly infected with HIV/AIDS and they should devote greater focus on finding, educating and helping them prevent themselves from getting infected. Similar steps should also be applied for those teenagers who are engaged into risky behaviors. I believe that most Filipino teenagers are not like those in the west who are way more liberated. We can still work the system out and prevent our young people from becoming loose and promiscuous.
Through the years, the media have greatly influenced the public. It has been successful in starting various lifestyle trends, in creating panic and fear, in bringing people of all sorts to fame, in influencing people’s choices and opinions during elections, and many more. Last year, though the Philippines only has about half of the population exposed to the internet, Philippines is among the top countries who spend longest hours in the internet, particularly in social media. The Philippines is number 1 in facebook and is among the top five in youtube, google plus and in twitter. The social media’s influence is so powerful that many are too quick at liking and commenting on posts even without reading and comprehending the contents. Many people are willing to do any silly act and even post horrible graphics just to get attention. The media has driven commercialism at its peak using even hoaxes and false information just to catch people’s attention.
With the rise of the media comes also the rise of immoral influences that shape the mind of its audience. Many studies have already been made correlating the behaviours of children and teens to the amounts of violence, pornography and other entertainment shows broadcasted in the different media. Such studies most of the times are of course ignored and are considered nothing but prejudice.
It’s not easy to impose strict disciplines for our kids and teenagers from their exposure to the media especially if it’s not carried out in their earlier stage. Parents therefore need to be wiser in halting the media’s influence from swaying their kids’ values.
Alarmingly, the Philippines as a haven of child pornography has also reached international attention. A recent online news article pointed out that it is a lucrative billion-dollar industry in the Philippines alone. And why is it greatly thriving? It is easily accessible, has low start-up capital (you only need an internet connection, a webcam and a computer), virtually undetectable and no shortage of demand with over half a million of people looking for child cybersex online, who mostly are westerners. What’s more extremely disturbing is that the family of the child being sexually exploited is involved or even leads the operation of this industry.
As I was writing this, I typed a related keyword on Google and it quickly showed over 2 million links in .48 seconds. This is now the filthy social plaque that the digital age has brought us.