British Naturism is the national organisation for Naturists in the UK, with over 9000 active members, and representing the interests of almost 4 million Naturists nationwide. We share a philosophical belief in a natural naked lifestyle, in harmony with nature, with their counterparts all over the world.
We believe that children should be brought up and kept safe in an environment of openness and body honesty. They should know about how their bodies work, what happens to them at puberty and what a normal consensual sexual relationship is, before they experience it as adults. This should be done ideally by bringing up children in a Naturist environment where body honesty is key, but otherwise through good, explicit, factually correct and non-judgemental sex and relationships education through the prime educators: parents, teachers and organisations like the BBC.
Bringing children up in such an environment, with wholesome, honest and open body attitudes leads to better sexual health outcomes for young people, fewer body image disorders, and more sensible attitudes to life. Prudery, not openness or nudity, harms children. We want children to be innocent, but not ignorant. We believe that body openness and honesty protects children from the possible harmful effects of inappropriate material. They should find out about sex and how their bodies work from good education and openness instead of glamour and pornography. Children are naturally curious and if their curiosity is not answered openly then they will seek answers anywhere they can. Blocking will not prevent them as they can usually circumvent it with a facility that adults may not believe possible. There is objective evidence that those beliefs are well founded, unlike some other beliefs.
British Naturism’s Children Deserve Better, 2016 report sets out our views using evidence from sound academic sources rather than prejudice or sound bites – as such it makes essential reading for anyone concerned with the welfare of children and/or internet censorship. It addresses the issues and analyses the reasons why it has proved so difficult for the UK to adopt the policies that are known to work. The report is both critical of the failures of the past to follow best practice and optimistic for the future. It explains how, with very little expenditure or effort, the well-being of children could be greatly improved. It is just necessary to follow the evidence instead of myth. We are confident that significant advances could be made quite quickly but there is considerable social inertia to overcome - it would be a generational project. We must address the body-attitudes which result in the UK being amongst the poorest performers in the western world. It can be done and the time to start is now.
It is long overdue that “Think of the children” really did mean “think” instead of it being a slogan to stifle debate and hinder progress. It is long overdue that policy was firmly evidence based; rigorous, objective evidence instead of myth and misconceptions. It is long overdue that “Putting children first” really did mean that the welfare of children took precedence over adult myths, dislikes, and embarrassment.
Malcolm Boura, British Naturism’s Campaigns Director said:
Wholesome body attitudes are so important and it’s time that ‘Think of the children’ once again meant just that. A paradigm shift is needed. It is long overdue that we stopped paying lip service to “children come first” and “evidence based policy making” and actually did it. Right across the spectrum, decisions are being made based on prejudice and myth, ignoring evidence and common sense. Worse, in some cases conclusions are reached with no evidence at all! Prudery is a form of child abuse, just less directly and less obviously so than many other kinds. We want politicians, children’s groups and charities, among others to think much more carefully about what works. It will take a generation or more to correct the harm so the time to start is now.