The tapes are the latest published via social media in recent years but this time they’re all the more experimental and explicit.
Education officer responsible for guidance counselling in schools, Andrea Airall, says families are to be primarily blamed for the behaviour displayed in the resurging sex tapes involving secondary school students.
And, D Gisele Isaac-Arrindell, Executive Secretary of the Board of Education and past president of the Professional Organisation of Women in Antigua (POWA), shares the same view.
Last week one video tape surfaced but by yesterday evening another three had been making the rounds. In all but one case, the characters in the video were dressed in school uniform and their faces were featured more than once.
Airall said too many children are left on their own after school hours and parents and other relatives are not holding them accountable for their actions.
“There are a lot of them whose home environment is not supportive. They do not get attention and guidance. There are no boundaries. And love and affection are absent so many of them also have very low self esteem,” Airall said.
The educator of 22 years said many people with low esteem would do almost anything to please others and get attention.
“They are quite a lot of teens crying out for attention from parents and some of them want to be caught in their negative behaviours so they would be noticed.
“Too many of our young come and go from home and no one says anything to them; there are no consequences so they do anything they want to do,” Airall said.
She said guidance counsellors are placed within the education system and students are exposed to health and family education, which she also oversees.
However, the counsellor said there is “only so much the schools can do”.
“The schools, counsellors, we talk about these things – like sexual activities and risky behaviours – but when they leave school and get back in an environment where there are no boundaries, then our efforts are counteracted,” Airall explained.
She suggests there is need for greater collaboration between parents and schools because little or no help from parents and guardians makes the work of the education system more difficult.
In one video, a school girl is engaged in fallacio with a young male before they proceed to sexual intercourse– standing in the open, under a tree. The male youth was condom strapped.
In another, two girls engage in oral sex in the back of a pick-up while a third shows one girl masturbating on a bed. The last video to reach OBSERBER Media yesterday depicts a young girl, seemingly about 13, having sexual intercourse with an older male on a bench in an open area. The male was not wearing a condom.
None of the girls appeared camera shy, opposed to being recorded nor unwilling to participate in the acts.
Police are said to be probing the incidents to determine the age of the participants and the crimes committed.
Airall said many of today’s teens seem to think they are invincible and they don’t think much about the consequences of their behaviour.
She said there are quite a few who have strong support from home, but want to experiment and as soon as an opportunity presents itself, they jump at it.
Meantime, Isaac-Arindell expressed grave concern as she too has seen at least one of the videos to which OBSERVER Media referred while she said she has also heard of videos involving boys only.
“What are our young men thinking when they have these relationships with these girls and then put their business on the streets. It is always the girls who are exploited and humiliated by this medium and the boys generally remain anonymous or when he is identified it is an accolade to him and he gets off,” she lamented.
Like Airall, Isaac-Arindell said the causes of this reckless behaviour vary.
“Some of them are doing it for competition; to hold on to the man who they think loves them; they do it for attention and want to please the man who is giving them the love they’re getting nowhere else; and some of them do it for money or fun,” she suggested.
She said education officials can do very little to stop the trend.
“Whatever the ministry does or doesn’t do young people are going to have sex. This is nothing new. What we want to underscore to them, is the dangers of putting their sexual activity out there. It never goes away. Prospective employers are looking at their profiles to see what they are posting even on Facebook,” she said.
Isaac-Arindell further warned that students’ risky behaviour could result in them contracting sexually transmitted diseases, girls becoming pregnant in school, and dropping out of school among other things.
A 2006 study by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) revealed that young people in Antigua & Barbuda continue to engage in behaviours that put them at risk of contracting HIV.
It reported that at the time, 40 per cent of youth in the 15 to 24 age group did not use a condom the last time they had sex, whilst a 2005 study found that only 35 per cent of sexually active adolescents had knowledge on correct condom use.
The same study indicated that 39 per cent of adolescents between 10 and 14 years old were engaged in sexual relationships and the high level of teen pregnancy underscores the risky sexual behaviour of adolescent girls.