Author Topic: Authors have a duty of care  (Read 5616 times)  

Offline '

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Authors have a duty of care
« on: March 31, 2015, 07:16:46 AM »
On an earlier thread, I mentioned that authors have a responsibilty towards others, especially the vulnerable. I have long held the view that pornography on the 'net has a detrimental effect on how young people regard sexual activity. Research has shown that young teenagers see pornographic behaviour as normal. The study found disturbing evidence that young girls are being subjected to degrading sexual activities:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-32115162

As writers, don't we owe it to today's children to teach them how to behave towards one another and help them to form normal, loving, sexual relationships?
« Last Edit: March 31, 2015, 07:18:21 AM by Shelagh »

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2015, 07:23:02 AM »
Oh boy.

If you feel a duty of writing clean material, or normal healthy sexual relationships, then that's great, but that's for you to fulfill. Others feel they are bringing relationships and sexual behaviors out from the "that's weird there's something wrong with you" area to "it's okay to be you." And that's what they need to do.

We all have to write what we feel called to write. I happen to write mostly "clean" stories, but I wouldn't go so far to say that means EVERYONE has to write the same material. Young teenagers shouldn't be reading books that are written for adults, but that's up to their parents, teachers, and guardians to regulate.

I don't think we OWE anything to today's children in writing books for adults other than offering them as many perspectives and experiences as we can for them to enjoy and process later, once they are an adult.


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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2015, 07:23:59 AM »
As an author I consider it my duty to tell the stories I wish to tell.  I also consider it my duty to treat my customers with respect and offer them a fair deal.

As for the rest: I raise my children how I choose to raise them.  I prefer to let others do the same and not push my beliefs, morality, or ethics upon them.


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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2015, 07:25:29 AM »
No.
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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2015, 07:30:33 AM »
I feel it's important for me to tell stories that are about love, not just sex, but sometimes there is sex?  Self-acceptance, loving yourself, loving others--all in the form of gay romance novels.  IDK.  I think it varies for everyone.  If your writing suits your conscience, then you're doing something right.  If you're not...well, we all have room to improve, right?

Also for some reason I thought this was going to be about health care.  I could rant there probably.   :-[

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2015, 07:31:39 AM »
The only thing that's my duty is what I want to do. Personally, I've never found shaming sex to be a smart move. That's what leads to increases in teenage pregnancies and STDS. If you don't like sex in books don't read it, and definitely don't write it. Personally, I don't believe in setting limitations on others. If you want to get freaky in your own bedroom, as long as you're not forcing someone else, go nuts. I'm not the morality police. If you want to be the morality police: good luck. You're actually doing more harm than good by casting a stigma on something that should be treated as a healthy part of life.

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Offline Caddy

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2015, 07:32:47 AM »
As an author I consider it my duty to tell the stories I wish to tell.  I also consider it my duty to treat my customers with respect and offer them a fair deal.

As for the rest: I raise my children how I choose to raise them.  I prefer to let others do the same and not push my beliefs, morality, or ethics upon them.

Ditto.
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Offline '

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2015, 07:33:49 AM »
Oh boy.

If you feel a duty of writing clean material, or normal healthy sexual relationships, then that's great, but that's for you to fulfill. Others feel they are bringing relationships and sexual behaviors out from the "that's weird there's something wrong with you" area to "it's okay to be you." And that's what they need to do.

We all have to write what we feel called to write. I happen to write mostly "clean" stories, but I wouldn't go so far to say that means EVERYONE has to write the same material. Young teenagers shouldn't be reading books that are written for adults, but that's up to their parents, teachers, and guardians to regulate.

I don't think we OWE anything to today's children in writing books for adults other than offering them as many perspectives and experiences as we can for them to enjoy and process later, once they are an adult.

But it isn't "okay to be you" if your behaviour affects someone else. It's the wrong message, and it confuses young people. 

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2015, 07:38:22 AM »
I think we have that responsibility as parents. As artists, I think we're free to provide whatever material adults may enjoy as part of their sex lives. There's certainly porn around that I find personally icky, but there's also plenty out there that's fun and positive, and porn I personally find icky can be used as part of a healthy sex life by those who find it not-icky -- because having weird or disturbing kinks does not make you a bad person or a sexual deviant or whatever. I have a problem with anyone who seems to think that their definition of a normal, healthy sexual relationship is the one everyone else needs to follow. Sexuality is profoundly individual and highly varied.

I'll just add that I'm *thrilled* to live during the current blossoming of erotica, which is providing a woman-oriented avenue toward ... um ... solitary sexual satisfaction. It's about time we got what men have had since at least the 1800s.  8)




Offline cinisajoy

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2015, 07:40:18 AM »
No.  Authors do not have a duty to protect your child.    You don't like porn fine.   Don't watch or read it.   But do not get all judgemental and try to tell another adult what they should or shouldn't do.

I want to know why you think you have any rights to tell me what I should do with my mind or my body.  You are not paying my bills or supporting me in any fashion so what I do in my home and with my body is none of your business.
If I want to ______ every guy at the party, that is not your business.   
If I want to watch a movie or read a book, it is my choice of book.   Note I am not forcing you to do the same.

So until you are supporting me in every way, you have no right to tell me what to do.
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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2015, 07:42:00 AM »
But it isn't "okay to be you" if your behaviour affects someone else. It's the wrong message, and it confuses young people.
Says who? Who gets to decide what behavior is appropriate? Do I get to decide that religion is banned because I find that offensive? And if so, what religions do I get to outlaw from fiction? If I find monogamy unrealistic and offensive, do I get to ban that from you? Who gets to say what activities are okay and which ones aren't? Studies have shown abstinence only programs increase teenage pregnancy and STDs. Does this mean I get to hand condoms out to your kids? How exactly does being the morality police work?

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Offline bizmuth

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2015, 07:42:42 AM »
The problem with this stance is, who gets to decide? What "standard" do we adhere to? I can guarantee you one thing: no matter what your personal stance on the "morals" and "behaviour" spectrum, there are people out there who view you as undesirable. Shall we suppress everyone who potentially can be complained about? If so, that doesn't leave much. Shall we decide based on a "majority rules?" If so, by how much? Is 51% enough? What if you are not a majority, but only the biggest minority, at, say, 32% ? What if you discover, much to your chagrin, that you actually aren't the majority (or biggest minority) and you find yourself having someone else's standards imposed on you? Will you accept it gracefully, or will you kick and shout and scream and demand your rights?

A free society requires that we support the maximum freedom for the most people while imposing the least damage to the fewest. Imposition of an arbitrary set of standards by one self-proclaimed group (whichever group that turns out to be) does not meet this criterion.

You are welcome to not read stuff that bothers you. You are welcome to forbid your children from reading it as part of your duties as a parent. You are not welcome to forbid other adults from engaging in a completely legal activity, just because you don't like it.

Offline '

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2015, 07:45:01 AM »
The only thing that's my duty is what I want to do. Personally, I've never found shaming sex to be a smart move. That's what leads to increases in teenage pregnancies and STDS. If you don't like sex in books don't read it, and definitely don't write it. Personally, I don't believe in setting limitations on others. If you want to get freaky in your own bedroom, as long as you're not forcing someone else, go nuts. I'm not the morality police. If you want to be the morality police: good luck. You're actually doing more harm than good by casting a stigma on something that should be treated as a healthy part of life.

I'm not doing any harm. I agree with Peter Liver, director of ChildLine; I think it should be discussed. Mr. Liver  said that it was important to talk openly about the issue.
"Children of all ages today have easy access to a wide range of pornography," he said. "If we as a society shy away from talking about this issue, we are failing the thousands of young people it is affecting.
"We know from the young people who contact ChildLine that viewing porn is a part of everyday life, and our poll shows that one in five 12 to 13-year-olds thinks that watching porn is normal behaviour.
"They tell ChildLine that watching porn is making them feel depressed, giving them body image issues, and making them feel pressured to engage in sexual acts they're not ready for."
« Last Edit: March 31, 2015, 07:46:50 AM by Shelagh »

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2015, 07:45:03 AM »
Sorry, but it's my job as a parent to teach that to my own daughter and to have taught that to my sons. (they are grown now). It's not my job to teach that to readers. However, personally, I actually have written a romance that has a married couple and the conflict does not come from cheating or anything like that, but rather from an every day situation they face that any couple can relate to. I love writing that kind of thing, although sales of that book are only 1-2 a month. Obviously not a huge market.

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2015, 07:46:02 AM »
Is the problem with the pornographic material or that these kids are so unsupervised that they can watch hours of online porn without their parents intervening? At least if they are getting porn on their kindles, they are reading!


Offline cinisajoy

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2015, 07:46:02 AM »
Note on the porn issue,
I have found some I won't read but there are others that enjoy that kink so they can read all they want.   Not my place to judge.

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2015, 07:47:05 AM »
Countries that teach kids about sex early have -much- lower rates of teenage pregnancies / STDs etc than those that stick their heads in the sand and ignore the issue until its too late.

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Offline Carol Davis

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2015, 07:49:30 AM »
I get what you're saying, Shelagh, but I agree with the folks who are saying this is the responsibility of the child's PARENTS.

If they're looking at porn on the Internet... where are their parents?  If they're reading age-inappropriate books that confuse them and point them in the wrong direction, where are their parents?

I think our responsibility as human beings is to be kind, generous and compassionate toward others.  And it's admirable that you want your art to guide young people in the right direction.  But I don't think it's possible (or necessary, or advisable) to launder everything so that no young person is confused by it.

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2015, 07:50:38 AM »
I'm not doing any harm. I agree with Peter Liver, director of ChildLine; I think it should be discussed. Mr. Liver  said that it was important to talk openly about the issue.
"Children of all ages today have easy access to a wide range of pornography," he said. "If we as a society shy away from talking about this issue, we are failing the thousands of young people it is affecting.
"We know from the young people who contact ChildLine that viewing porn is a part of everyday life, and our poll shows that one in five 12 to 13-year-olds thinks that watching porn is normal behaviour.
"They tell ChildLine that watching porn is making them feel depressed, giving them body image issues, and making them feel pressured to engage in sexual acts they're not ready for."
So don't let your kid watch porn. That seems pretty simple to me. It's your job to worry about your kids. Let everyone else handle their's. It is not your job to tell everyone else how to live. And it is harmful to treat sex as dirty. Numerous studies have shown that.

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Offline '

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2015, 07:51:51 AM »
I think we have that responsibility as parents. As artists, I think we're free to provide whatever material adults may enjoy as part of their sex lives. There's certainly porn around that I find personally icky, but there's also plenty out there that's fun and positive, and porn I personally find icky can be used as part of a healthy sex life by those who find it not-icky -- because having weird or disturbing kinks does not make you a bad person or a sexual deviant or whatever. I have a problem with anyone who seems to think that their definition of a normal, healthy sexual relationship is the one everyone else needs to follow. Sexuality is profoundly individual and highly varied.

I'll just add that I'm *thrilled* to live during the current blossoming of erotica, which is providing a woman-oriented avenue toward ... um ... solitary sexual satisfaction. It's about time we got what men have had since at least the 1800s.  8)

Your words sadden me beyond measure. Instead of pulling men up to our high standards, we have to sink to their base instincts.   

Offline cinisajoy

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2015, 07:54:18 AM »
Don't give your child the password to the wifi.   Also use parental controls on the tv.  But don't step on my rights because you don't want to tell your child no.

Also please teach your children it is ok to say no if something makes them uncomfortable.
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Offline ShaneJeffery

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2015, 07:54:52 AM »
I have absolutely no idea how a person would read a book of fiction, and then go on to form their sexual relationships based on that book.

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #22 on: March 31, 2015, 07:57:26 AM »
Thank goodness we live a time where the few aren't allowed to oppress the many.

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #23 on: March 31, 2015, 07:57:30 AM »
Your words sadden me beyond measure. Instead of pulling men up to our high standards, we have to sink to their base instincts.
And this is all I have to see to back out of this thread and start writing for the day. It's a romance, and there will be sex. You've inspired me (probably not in the way you were hoping). Oh, by the way, my great-grandmother called, and she wants her judgement back. Have a nice day.

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #24 on: March 31, 2015, 07:57:39 AM »
Your words sadden me beyond measure. Instead of pulling men up to our high standards, we have to sink to their base instincts.   

Not at all, there is no such thing as women having higher standards. Sorry, but women have had sex drives this whole time it's been repressed by society's strictures. :)

You're really trying to preach to the wrong crowd. Those of us who write clean fiction do so because that's what we want to do, and those that don't do so because it's what they want to do. At no time is one type of author hurting today's youth because we don't write children's books.

I LOVE my adult erotica stories. My husband really doesn't mind me reading them either. :) I don't let my 5-year-old or 14-year-old read Mommy's kindle and I do monitor their devices for what they do because it's not material for them. At no time do I feel I have "sunk" in my morals or standards.


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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #25 on: March 31, 2015, 07:57:56 AM »
As writers, don't we owe it to today's children to teach them how to behave towards one another and help them to form normal, loving, sexual relationships?

No, PARENTS owe it to their children to teach them how to behave. I don't write for children. I write for adults.

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Offline timstevens

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #26 on: March 31, 2015, 07:58:17 AM »
I refuse to write sex scenes. I'm a devoted follower of the dictum 'write what you know'.

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #27 on: March 31, 2015, 08:00:25 AM »
OK, folks....

A few things.  I actually think that this is a good discussion for the WC (and not the first time it's come up over the years).    Note that Shelagh has posed a question.  Agree or disagree. 

This is a sincere discussion--please leave the popcorn comments out.  Post if you have a contribution to make; otherwise, lots of other threads.

And please, let's post without denigrating men or women.

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Offline Stephanie Marks

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #28 on: March 31, 2015, 08:01:18 AM »
Oh. HELL. No.

And if I say any more than that on this topic I will probably be banned from this forum.

Ok. No. I will not be silent.

This is absolutely grossly offensive. Who are you to dictate what constitutes "normal" sexual behavior? Who are you to sex shame people? It is up to children's PARENTS to speak with and educate their young so that they are not ignorant of the FACTS of sex, but as writers we have NO write to enforce our own personal sexual agenda on the masses.

And what are you talking about with this, "sink to their base instincts" nonsense? Did you SERIOUSLY just SEX SHAME another board member for her positive stance on women's sexual liberation and the perfectly NATURALE act of masturbation? I'm sorry, and you're worried about the possibility of PORN warping children's mind and giving them a twisted view of sex and their bodies?

OMG. Ok, I'm going to peace out. Cool down. And come back when I'm feeling a little more zen.

Someone better lock this thread before I forget how to be polite.

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Offline '

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #29 on: March 31, 2015, 08:01:32 AM »
Says who? Who gets to decide what behavior is appropriate? Do I get to decide that religion is banned because I find that offensive? And if so, what religions do I get to outlaw from fiction? If I find monogamy unrealistic and offensive, do I get to ban that from you? Who gets to say what activities are okay and which ones aren't? Studies have shown abstinence only programs increase teenage pregnancy and STDs. Does this mean I get to hand condoms out to your kids? How exactly does being the morality police work?

Firstly, banning books is not the solution. Secondly,  people take offense rather than are offended, so writing books that no one found offensive would be nigh impossible. Thirdly, morality police is the last thing I would advocate.

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #30 on: March 31, 2015, 08:02:16 AM »
Your words sadden me beyond measure. Instead of pulling men up to our high standards, we have to sink to their base instincts.

Seeing masturbation as giving into one's "base instincts" represents a profoundly warped and unhealthy attitude toward sexuality, IMO, one in which the body is viewed as dirty and untouchable, and pleasure for its own sake is not allowed because ... dunno. Because we're bad and don't deserve it, I guess. If this is the mindset that erotica-avoidance generates, bring on the erotica. I never want my daughters to feel this way about their bodies.




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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #31 on: March 31, 2015, 08:03:23 AM »
Your words sadden me beyond measure. Instead of pulling men up to our high standards, we have to sink to their base instincts.

Wow, really?

Honestly, if you are handing erotica to your kids as "instruction manuals for a healthy sex life" you have failed all on your own as a parent, no help from us dirty authors at all. Erotica, books with sex of any sort, is intended for adults. When you start telling adults what they are allowed to read and write, you step into some dangerous territory that is guaranteed to come back and bite you on the bum later when it's your preferences that become the target.

How about instead of telling authors what they should and shouldn't write, you write some parenting books to teach adults how to be better at including themselves in their children's lives  to make sure the kids don't get their hands on any mind warping naughty books? If your passion is saving the children, focus on parental education, not author censorship. :)

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #32 on: March 31, 2015, 08:03:56 AM »
Re-reading some of the earlier points, I'm not sure a discussion about the specific negative affects of porn (which is very serious) actually has to a lot to do with authors.  Are most children really exposed to porn through books?  Maybe it should be in a forum for filmmakers.

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Offline Lehane

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #33 on: March 31, 2015, 08:05:54 AM »
Yeaaah. Uh.

Parents have a responsibility to *themselves* to teach their children the standards of behavior (be that morality, beliefs, activities, whatever) they believe are the best fit for the family and the child's well being. Eventually, their child will go onto make their own choices, but it is a parent's duty, not a media creator's, to provide the best options for media consumption.

Authors have a responsibility to *themselves* to write to their own standards of comfort and belief. I, personally, have limits to what I'm comfortable "condoning" in my work, and have a lens that brings certain attitudes to my work. So, I will write to those. No one else in the world is required to follow my lead on my beliefs.

Readers have a responsibility *themselves* to not consume or recommend what upsets or distresses them. They have a responsibility to *themselves* to support authors and creators who they agree with, if they feel that is important.

That's pretty much the end of it. No one has a duty to anyone else in anything they do. End stop.

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #34 on: March 31, 2015, 08:06:01 AM »
I think a better use of energy would be more articles that explain and teach parents how to monitor, discuss, and handle situations regarding their children and their access to technology. Just like it took time for parents to understand that the TV has many channels and sometimes content really NOT okay for kids at 3PM in the afternoon because it's a syndicated rerun of an adult drama that originally aired at 10PM . . . many parents need help learning about the devices they buy kids but don't take the time to learn to use themselves.

For example, Amazon now has locked devices for children that restrict content to specific categories. Also, you can put a password on a Kindle to restrict purchases. All of this has to be done at the individual family level though because what's right for one family isn't the same for another. My 14-year-old is allowed to read books with swearing in them. Another parent may not want their 14-year-old reading swears. So that's why these tools and tricks are not just universally applied.


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Offline cinisajoy

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #35 on: March 31, 2015, 08:06:43 AM »
This thread reminds me that I need to call my mother and thank her for always being open and honest about sex and relationships. 
We could also read or watch anything we wanted.   
http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,216185.msg3013849.html#new

Please help our friend and fellow kboarder Craig Hansen.

Offline Steve Voelker

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #36 on: March 31, 2015, 08:07:51 AM »
Did you SERIOUSLY just SEX SHAME another board member...

Someone better lock this thread before I forget how to be polite.

I can't believe the mods are okay with that.

I am feeling the same way. This is NOT acceptable.

I think I need to go cool off.

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #37 on: March 31, 2015, 08:08:21 AM »
No.  Authors do not have a duty to protect your child.    You don't like porn fine.   Don't watch or read it.   But do not get all judgemental and try to tell another adult what they should or shouldn't do.

I want to know why you think you have any rights to tell me what I should do with my mind or my body.  You are not paying my bills or supporting me in any fashion so what I do in my home and with my body is none of your business.
If I want to ______ every guy at the party, that is not your business.   
If I want to watch a movie or read a book, it is my choice of book.   Note I am not forcing you to do the same.

So until you are supporting me in every way, you have no right to tell me what to do.

I'm not telling you what to do; I'm bringing to attention the findings of a study about young people and pornography.

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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #38 on: March 31, 2015, 08:08:26 AM »
Don't give your child the password to the wifi.   

And hope you don't have neighbors stupid enough to have open networks.  :D


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Re: Authors have a duty of care
« Reply #39 on: March 31, 2015, 08:09:22 AM »
OK, folks....

this thread is moving so fast I'm missing stuff.  Locked while I review.

Betsy

~~ update: We've reviewed the reports on this thread. While the OP topic is legitimate, it's a subject that in the past has rarely resulted in real discussion as opposed to stating fixed positions and outrage on both sides of the issue. Those threads can degrade quickly, and this one did. (Note: we've removed several posts that went outside Forum Decorum.) The thread will remain locked.  - Harvey
« Last Edit: March 31, 2015, 03:54:40 PM by Harvey »
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