Conservatives lie about schools teaching “pornographic literacy” to 8-year-olds – Rolling Stone

among all It states in this great nation, Idaho is not exactly known as a hotbed of progressive sexual politics. However, in the past week, Gem State has somehow, and improbably, become the epicenter of a right-wing moral panic, all focused on the claim that the government has been funding sex programs teaching something called “porn literacy” for eight-year-olds.

That claim started spreading last week, when the director of education at the Freedom Foundation of Idaho, a right-wing think tank, posted it on Twitter. “The Idaho government offers student ‘porn literacy’, a family planning curriculum and advocates for abortion,” Anna Kate Miller, Idaho’s director of education, wrote on Twitter. “If this happens in Idaho, it could happen anywhere.”

In an article posted on the Idaho Freedom Foundation website, Miller claims that the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW) funds an organization called Education, Training and Research, which offers a sex education curriculum called risk reduction. The article claims that the syllabus “includes instruction on “twisting and strength, pleasure, sexual identity, sexual acts, and sexual exploration in relation to pornography”” and is offered to children aged K-12. To reinforce the point, the tweet included footage of what appears to be a Zoom meeting about the infamous Idaho government plot to indoctrinate children:

The claim that Idaho schools were teaching kids “porn literacy” was catnip to people like Christopher Ruffo, the right-wing activist who invented the panic about cash race theory; and Chaya Raichik, creator of the far-right account Libs of TikTok. Rufo and Raichik both promoted the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s claims, with the Libs of TikTok account tweeting that “Idaho is using tax dollars to teach porn literacy to eight-year-olds.”

The rumors even reached Laura Ingraham, who vomited it on her Fox News show. “Over the years, right under parents’ noses, these deviant organizations have stormed our culture and schools. They have dumped multi-million dollar contracts to flood our schools with values ​​that directly contradict what most parents teach their children at home.” (For what it’s worth, more than 89 percent of parents of high school students support some form of sex education in schools regardless of their political affiliations, according to 2017 study It surveyed more than 1,600 parents.)

The moral panic from Idaho’s “porn literacy” program was very reminiscent of a similar panic caused by other supposed indoctrination efforts in public schools, mostly focused on LGBT issues. In June, for example, a children’s book called . was released big wig About a young boy wearing a magical wig who becomes the center of a culture war storm after Pizza Hut begins including the book in school literacy programmes, prompting far-right social media accounts to call for a boycott of the restaurant chain. And last month, right-wing accounts were similarly outraged by a video of a pole dancer at a Pride event in North Carolina helping a young boy balance on a pole, leading many to harass her and accuse her of “taking care” of the boy.

In this case, the allegations made by the Idaho Freedom Foundation were largely untrue. like AP mentionedThe Idaho Department of Health and Welfare issued a statement saying that it does not support or fund any “pornographic literacy” of children in Idaho. It presents the risk reduction approach as my choice sex education curriculum, but it is only offered in about 14 schools statewide, and does not discuss porn literacy; The video posted by the Freedom Foundation in Idaho was not shown to students, but was intended as an educational resource for educators to navigate children’s questions about sexuality.

Importantly, the risk reduction curriculum (which, again, is optional and requires parental consent, according to IDHW) is not directed at eight-year-olds but older middle and high school students between eighth and twelfth grades – well beyond the age when they appear data that Children are more likely to watch pornography for the first timeregardless of whether they actively search for it or not, simply because of how ubiquitous it is on the Internet.

Given that data shows that 93 percent of college-age males say they have watched pornography before age 18 — and that pornography has a clear, sometimes negative, effect on young people’s perceptions of sex and sexuality — a class that teaches porn literacy could be very beneficial for young adults who navigate the wilds of the Internet. But it’s not taught in Idaho, and certainly not taught to young children, no matter what paranoid conservatives might like to believe.

On this week’s episode of Don’t let this get lostAnd the rolling rockPodcast about internet news and culture, hosts Brittany Spanos and Ege Dixon discuss the porn literacy scare in Idaho, as well as the countless Adam Levine Instagram DM scandals, Lea Michele’s introduction to TikTok, and why Wisconsin might be the hottest tourist destination in year 2023.

Don’t let this get lost It is released every Wednesday on all podcast platforms, including Apple PodcastAnd the spotifyAnd the amazon musicAnd the Stitcher And the more.

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