I was interviewed by eNCA regarding the crush porn video, Squishing Nemo, that hit the headlines this week involving South African school girls. See the story below and you can listen to my interview on 567Cape Talk here. Parents should use this real life story as an opportunity to have important conversations with their teens. Discuss some of the following issues around the dinner table tonight that this teachable moment raises. Don’t just lecture, find out what your kids think about all this too:

  • Reputation management – your digital reputation follows you wherever you go
  • What might the impact be on these girls in five years time when they are going for job interviews?
  • The internet remembers everything – even what you delete!
  • The desire to be famous
  • Everything you put online is like a personal advertisement for you and for your family
  • Do you think these girls were looking for attention? If so, was this constructive, positive attention-seeking behaviour?
  • We don’t have much background for this story. There could be many possibilities: Were the girls blackmailed to do this? Were they paid? Were they groomed by someone over time to do this? Were they just doing it for kicks? Teenagers sometimes do risky things to generate an dopamine high.

CAPE TOWN, Monday 9 June 2014 by Gill Gifford Crush porn video can be used to teach teens about risky behaviour

As authorities investigate video footage of two high school girls crushing a gold fish while performing oral sex on a man which has gone viral, both the school and education department have declined to comment immediately while they consider what action needs to be taken.

The footage shows two Edgemead High School pupils in their uniforms engaging in pornography, stopping only to crush the fish during the act, in which one of the girls is identified as “London” – who allegedly appears in other crush porn videos dedicated to the fetish.

The minute-long video, titled Squishing Nemo, began circulating widely on social networks and porn sites on Sunday, sparking shocked reactions, angry responses from animal activists, concern from childrens’ rights authorities and intervention by the police.

But creative parenting expert Nikki Bush has urged parents in general to view the incident as “a wonderful teaching opportunity” to open up lines of communication with their teenagers.

What if, in five or 10 years, they are looking for a job and a potential employer does an internet search on them?

The report, she said, was a real-life story that can be used to teach teenagers about the dangers of the internet. Bush, who has not viewed the actual footage, says she understands that it was filmed two years ago and had only now gone viral.

“We don’t need to sensationalise this, we need to rather ask what we can learn from it. Ask ‘What should our children learn?’” Bush said.

Bush said teenagers generally wanted infamy or attention, and this was completely normal. Reasons why some would choose negative actions rather than positive ones were not always known. But teenagers needed to know that whatever they post on the internet will remain there forever, even if they they take it down immediately.

“The thing that shocks kids the most is that the internet remembers everything forever,” Bush said.

“So start a conversation with your teenagers. Ask them to think about these girls who have suddenly had their reputations sullied. There is a real danger that this will still come back to haunt them. What if, in five or 10 years’ time, they are looking for a job and their potential employer decides to do an internet search on them?” Bush said, suggesting how this could be used to teach other teenagers who could be at risk of indulging in similar negative attention-seeking behaviour.

Bush said crush videos were not a new phenomenon, but were part of a trend that had intensified – beginning with footage of people crushing cupcakes, to viral footage of three teenage girls crushing a puppy to death, and now the crushing of live creatures being combined with pornography.

“What people need to realise is that even nice children can be naughty or even nasty on the internet. So this is about stopping them from going out hitch-hiking on the internet super highway. We need to talk to our children and make sure they are not desperate or ignorant.”
Bush is the co-author of Future-proof Your Child and Easy Answers to Awkward Questions. She has co-authored a third book with Arthur Goldstuck. Tech-Savvy Parenting was published in August 2014. Click here for more details and for links to order the book.