Clean Sweep is one unit within AGENCY IQ, a secondary school program for
Clean Sweep is one unit within AGENCY IQ, a secondary school program for
~ fortifying teens in online & physical environments
IQ PROGRAMS provide curriculum focussed on safety and mental wellbeing to prevent porn harms.
Partnering With Your School Community
Parents and carers of students learning the Clean Sweep Unit are invited to partner with their school community to fortify teens in online and physical environments.
We are currently in the midst of a seismic social experiment. Instead of straight answers to curious questions, young people are met with an “eye-full of everything” via online porn, pop-ups, secret chats, hyper-sexed selfies, and a swipe left or right “judge with a click” instant gratification online culture.
For some, it’s easier to turn a blind eye and hope for the best. However, hypersexualised images and music, adult-themed video games and unlimited free porn are only a click away. This psychological cocktail and the steady stream of toxic messaging is impacting young people’s lives. We shouldn’t be surprised at the toll these social challenges are having on our kids’ mental health, safety and relational success.
We have two choices. Either leave our kids to their own “devices”—or, confront this toxic culture with the best defence we have—education. Many parents and schools are feeling the burden, but simply don’t know where to start. IQ PROGRAMS responds to this dilemma.
Providing young people with skills to navigate hypersexualised imagery is vitally important—which is why a parent/carer/school partnership is so integral. Keep reading to discover what your teen will learn through the Clean Sweep Unit. Learn how to prepare in advance, what conversations you can have after each lesson and ways to block online pornography on devices and in your home.
Clean Sweep is a 3-lesson unit written by specialist educators for children aged 14-15-years old. Its primary aim is to develop young peoples’ self-awareness skills surrounding the significance of personal choice. Whether these choices are avoiding or engaging with online pornography or other harmful material, Clean Sweep combines relevant conceptual examples with practical strategies designed to motivate young people to both recognise and evaluate their choices and identify their values.
Clean Sweep is part of AGENCY IQ – a secondary program with the focus of cognitively equipping and releasing the responsibility of informed decision making to young people—to exercise their personal agency. A fundamental principle of agency recognises freedom of choice. As educators, we understand our responsibility to guide young minds into maturity. Without imposing on their agency, we have made it our goal to release the mantle of personal accountability and social responsibility into the hands of young people by guiding them through the broader impacts of decisions. We also seek to familiarise young people with the power of their choices to instigate both personal and social change. By encouraging young people to make conscious choices in low-risk scenarios, young people learn to apply the self-regulatory skills required to execute informed decisions in higher-risk situations.
Clean Sweep, one unit within AGENCY IQ, positions choice within the context of personal and social outcomes. Students also develop an increased consciousness of the relationship that exists between their internal values and produced actions. The combination of conceptual examples and practical strategies imbue students with the skills necessary to become thoughtful citizens capable of independent thought and breaking negative behavioural patterns.
Desired learning outcomes:
- ~ Develop self-awareness (applicable to online and offline behaviours)
- ~ Build reflexivity skills regarding personal choices and behaviour (including pornography use)
- ~ Understand the effects of choice on short and long-term wellbeing
- ~ Make conscious decisions
- ~ Critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presuppositions (Socratic method)
- ~ Learn and apply discipline (E.g. short versus long-term gains; short-term sacrifice for long-term benefits)
- ~ Alleviate shame and guilt surrounding taboo topics
Before your child participates in the Clean Sweep Unit, you may like to prepare yourself to begin or perhaps expand upon, conversations about online safety. The Online Learning tab directs you to comprehensive resources on how to talk to your teen about hypersexualisation and porn. Find information about the Culture Reframed Parents Program, Porn Resilient Kids (a Youth Wellbeing Project initiative), and the Filters, Apps & Support Resources. We also recommend accessing information found on the Country-specific Support tab.
The chances of access
Statistics indicate that by the age of 12, approximately 65% of boys and 30% of girls have accidentally or deliberately seen porn. Ignoring this topic can mean that children remain vulnerable to porn’s influences. Conversely, there is no evidence to suggest that children would search for porn after learning about its harms.
In Australia, it’s been discovered that as young people move into adulthood, consuming porn is increasingly common. Among 15-29-year-olds, porn use is associated with health and behavioural outcomes. This research discovered that 100% of young men and 82% of young women had viewed porn. Daily or weekly porn viewing occurs with 84% of young men and 19% of young women. Given we know that porn can significantly impact attitudes and behaviours, education that responds proactively is essential.
If you discover that your child has been exposed or is watching porn, strategies for how to respond can be found by accessing the COMPOSE YOURSELF! Model by Culture Reframed.
Concepts you may like to cover with your teen in advance
Clean Sweep helps young people explore & uncover (some uncomfortable) ideas that might otherwise remain hidden in the dusty attics of the mind.
Some of these ideas include:
- The freedom & significance of “choice”
- Personal impacts of engaging with online material (including social media pornography)
- Identifying personal/relationship values
- How to handle conflicting values
- The basics of brain addiction
In the upcoming weeks, we use specific concepts to help convey the power of choice which you may like to familiarise yourself with to help emphasise at home.
One of these concepts is Pointillism—a painting technique in which small, distinct dots of colour are applied in patterns to form an image. Pointillism serves a conceptual purpose where the ‘dots’ become synonymous with our ‘choices’ – building together to project an image of our identity – visible to ourselves and others over time. We ask students to imagine their life was a “pointillism” painting and their choices being the dots on a canvas. We ask them to consider the kind of picture their choices are painting of them—to how they view themselves, and how others view them.
Another concept introduced is The Butterfly Effect—reinforcing the pointillism concept & allowing students to visualise how seemingly insignificant choices can have significant (personal and societal) effects..
IQ PROGRAMS are pleased to be able to offer suggested discussion topics to help your teen share what they learned in the Clean Sweep Unit with you.
After Lesson 1
In lesson one, students identify and explore individual values compared to social values and position them in a hierarchy. Students higher-order thinking skills are activated as they learn to identify, articulate and evaluate known and subconscious values.
Your teen will learn how to critically evaluate and personally justify motivations behind their decisions—an essential skill for making an informed decision. They also learn that when new information emerges, it may cause them to revaluate their values—and that being aware of the “why” behind values is essential for when someone challenges their position.
Parents and carers can encourage this sort of exploration at home. Any opportunity for teens to apply their values and priorities (some of which may be conflicting), will help them to refine their personal values and decision-making skills.
For example, “what do you think is more important?” scenarios can assist with this exploration. Here are some suggestions to get you started: Moral dilemmas.
You may also wish to discuss examples of where you have experienced value conflicts in your personal life. For instance, perhaps you had to decide between settling in two countries, and what ultimately led to your decision to move to where you did—also what you forfeited in making that decision.
In lesson 1, your teen will learn responsibility regarding their freedom of choice. Some choices might seem temporarily ‘good’ or of high value (chocolate) ‘in the moment’, but may not be ‘good’ long-term or for extended periods.
- ~ Unlimited chocolate is no good for your health, but it tastes good.
- ~ Sleeping in is great but is not helpful for productivity.
After Lesson 2
In lesson 2, we explore healthy and unhealthy habits and what determines behavioural addictions. Students learn that we can become addicted to things we know are harmful, and discover how these addictions can interfere with our decision-making.
We discuss the ease of access to specific resources and how this can (not always) foster addictive potential. An example of this is fast food; something that is cheap and convenient to access, but not necessarily healthy or good for us. For some people, the temptation this offers can contribute to an addictive cycle.
Throughout this lesson, your teen will become familiar with the basics of brain addiction and the science of dopamine and neuroplasticity. Dopamine is what wires our brain to repeat behaviours – even if we know these behaviours are unhealthy and can interfere with our decision-making. Neuroplasticity (also known as brain plasticity) is the ability of our brain to change and is associated with the strengthening and weakening of synapses.
The developing brain exhibits a higher degree of plasticity than the adult brain. This developmental reality makes it easier to break bad habits and form positive habits when we are younger. Good practices strengthen and reinforce over. For instance, going to the gym improves strength with time and persistence. You can discuss the importance of these ideas and encourage the formation of positive habits at home (either as individuals or as a unit).
Lesson two also explores business values and where we as ‘consumers’ fit of the hierarchy of company values. This concept revisits what students learn in lesson one regarding their personal values. Students apply it to businesses who financially gain when they exploit their consumers in the interests of their company success. Specifically, we discuss social media companies and the porn industry.
Ways to further discuss this at home might be to review beauty products, pharmaceuticals, clothing or any other significant corporate business. Explore as a family what a consumer gains compared to what a company gains from their product consumption. You may also like to consider if the product is made ethically. Discussions like this instil critical thinking habits and empower your teen to be a conscious decision-maker.
In lesson two, your teen will apply what they have learned about their values to personal relationships. Some examples of relationship values include:
- ~ Online or face to face relationships
- ~ Being in a relationship versus being single
- ~ Fun and freedom versus communication and understanding
- ~ Hook-ups versus long term commitment
Students begin to explore their existing values as they relate to intimate relationships. By reflecting on their relational values, young people learn to make conscious decisions and sacrifices when it comes to justifying their values and forming an understanding of what is important to them in a relationship.
Your teen will also conduct their own social media experiment. The task involves either ‘replacing or avoiding’ their favourite social media platform for 1 – 3 days and recording their experience. This activity helps your teen become aware of the kinds of things that influence them, inviting them to consider how much time they devote to their chosen online platforms.
- ~ Freedom of choice & health effects (including the choice to engage with pornography)
- ~ Exploring industry cost and benefits (online businesses including pornography)
- ~ Personal costs and benefits
- ~ Psychological exploitation & its personal and societal effects
After Lesson 3
In the final lesson of the Clean Sweep Unit, principles learned in the first two lessons are reinforced.
The ‘My Mind’ activity helps to analyse the online platforms they use and examine how they may be problematic, particularly when unhealthy content is involved, or habitual patterns emerge. Parents can reinforce this concept with their teen at home if they are noticing a recurring use of a particular online platform or activity.
In lessons 1 and 2, your teen explored the power of choice and how some online platforms seek to exploit their subconscious needs to benefit their business. (Cheap and easy access to fast food is one example). By the end of lesson 3, your teen considers what they can do to help them succeed by becoming conscious of online & offline choices (refer to pointillism and the butterfly effect). They also become mindful of how much time they spend online, relative to forming positive habits.
Students are encouraged to take ownership of their personal and social environments and draw connections between their internal (psychological) and external (environmental) states. For instance, young people consider how their online and bedroom environments may influence their behaviour, and how their engagement with these online environments shapes their identity.
- ~ If a young person identifies they tend to use pornography at night, they can make the conscious decision to avoid putting an electronic device in their room design that facilitates that behaviour.
- ~ If a student identifies excessive phone use at night, they can make the conscious decision to put their phone in a family charging station, so they aren’t tempted to use it at night.
These decisions bring underlying matters to the forefront and challenge them to physically organise, structure & create a reflection of their own space as it relates to their desired life goals. Taking responsibility for personal space equips students to become conscious influencers of their environments, whether these environments are on/offline. You can support your teen and encourage them to apply what they have done in class, at home in their real room environment.
- ~ Identify companies they engage with that may be exploiting them.
- ~ Analyse social media platforms and their usage (are they problematic, healthy?).
- ~ Learn to take responsibility for their personal spaces.
- ~ Become equipped to become conscious influencers of their environments (on/offline).
Where are your kids getting their sex education? Their smartphones? In this digital age, it’s critical for young people to have trusted adults to help them build resilience and resistance to hypersexualised media and porn.
Culture Reframed’s Program for Parents of Tweens and Program for Parents of Teens help adults build the skills and knowledge to begin these life-changing conversations with kids (complete with scripted conversations). Enrol in this free online program today!
When kids see pornography or become regular viewers, or maybe even engage in self-production of child exploitation material (CEM/child pornography), it is completely normal that parents will experience a huge range of emotions. If the first reaction is anger, it should be directed toward the pornographers – not the kids.
The best reaction is to COMPOSE Yourself! Culture Reframed has developed a model called COMPOSE Yourself!, which helps parents respond effectively when they discover their young person has viewed pornography. The COMPOSE Yourself! model is adaptable to all ages.
Porn Resilient Kids equips families for tricky conversations. Porn Resilient Kids publishes children’s books and directs parents and carers to exceptional resources to increase conversations about pornography in your home.
Safe4Kids Parents Information Course
Within two short hours, these videos by Holly-ann Martin from Safe4Kids will equip you to:
- Identify the benefits of child abuse prevention education
- Communicate to your child the importance of consent and recognising “safe touches” and “unsafe touches”
- Identify the importance of the need for children to “Risk on Purpose”
- Explain to your children the names and meaning of their different feelings
- Help your child to recognise their bodies “early warning signs”
Preventing access covers the following areas:
- Online Safety Basics
- Parental Controls and Apps
- YouTube Kids
- Social Media & Mobile Phone Contract
Online Safety Basics
Four simple things to remember about creating a safer experience for children on all online platforms:
- There are positives and risks to all online platforms. In regards to safety settings, it’s not a matter of set and forget. Boundaries and regular and open communication with your child is essential.
- All new media (smartphones, computers and online platforms) have the potential to be misused. Balance is key. Regular outdoor play, time with friends, engaging in hobbies or sports, and spending quality time with family are important ways to ensure kids’ use of new media doesn’t become problematic or obsessive.
- Predators are known to frequent the same platforms that children do, which is why kids must learn to develop self-awareness regarding their online behaviour.
- Teach kids the basics of internet safety from as young as possible. It’s essential that they know to not give away personal information. For example, phone numbers, age, name, address, etc. and that they tell a parent if anyone asks. The same goes for photos – grooming can start with predators asking for pictures of feet “just for fun”, and it can quickly progress to requests for naked images. Kids must know they can talk to their safe adults if this were ever to happen to them – kids want to know that they won’t be blamed or shamed or have their device confiscated.
These tips have been developed using the guidance of Safe on Social Media. Learn more practical strategies here.
Parental Controls and Apps
Alongside education, parental controls and apps are a vital part of preventing children from accessing online pornography. Whether your family chooses to implement parental controls or paid filter products, a “set and forget” approach is not the answer. Regardless of what tools you select, open communication and comprehensive education are essential. This way, your child knows that they can talk to you about anything.
If your family decides to utilise a paid platform to prevent children’s access to online porn, search online using terms like “internet filters” or “family filters”. Take time to read review sites so that you find a filter that is right for your family. Here are two platforms that parents may like to consider:
The Office of the eSafety Commissioner provides a comprehensive overview that covers how to use parental controls and other tools to maximise online safety in your home. They suggest that no parental control tool is 100% effective. Helping your child build good online safety habits is just as important. The Office provides advice on how to use parental controls on your home wi-fi network, built into devices, including computers, mobile devices, gaming consoles and smart TVs, through third-party software, and in apps and programs, including streaming services, web browsers and search engines.
Social Media & Mobile Phone Contract
When your child uses digital devices, it’s important to establish clear boundaries & open communication. Youth Wellbeing Project recommends that you access the free Social Media & Mobile Phone Contract by Culture Reframed. In addition, the Parents Program is a great way to be informed of everything related to hypersexualised media and porn, and learning how to speak with your kids to counter these harmful messages.