A FORMER South Tyneside mayor has launched an angry tirade against television programmes which promote a “promiscuous” society.
Coun Ernest Gibson spoke out this week in the midst of a review of the borough’s sexual health services.
The Labour representative for Whiteleas selected TV’s Geordie Shore for particular criticism, labelling it “trash” and saying it sets a bad example for the children who watch it.
South Tyneside Council took over responsibility for sexual health services from the former Primary Care trust in April last year.
And now all the service contracts that are commissioned – including the £590,881 that South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust receives for Contraceptive and Sexual Health Services (Cash) – are being reviewed.
Those services are provided from four centres – Stanhope Parade, Flagg Court and Cleadon Park, all in South Shields, and at Jarrow’s Palmer Community Hospital – with the services accessed by 7,300 individual users between April 2012 to March 2013.
Coun Gibson, speaking at yesterday’s meeting of the People Select Committee at South Shields Town Hall, said: “We have to target the television producers who are responsible for the trash that comes on, such as Geordie Shore.
“All the kids watch it, they watch it on their iPhones and it is promoting a promiscuous society.
“It’s all about how many times they can have sex with somebody in a night. We’re encouraging people to drink and be promiscuous by these programmes that are being put out.
“We see 11 and 12-year-old kids dressing like they are going nightclubbing – and they are actually going to school. We should be addressing that. When kids go to school they should dress normally and respectably.
“We do need to address what’s on television and hit the producers. We need the Government to take on board these television programmes which are helping to create this promiscuous society.
Janice Chandler, public lead for sexual health in the borough, said: “In terms of the promiscuous society, I think you are exactly right and we have some significant challenges around that.
“I think it’s not only around what young people access, it’s around the ease of access. It’s about the lack of parental control.
“In terms of sexual ill-health, we need to make sure that when young people do get involved in this kind of promiscuous behaviour, and when we can’t stop them doing it, that they should not be at risk of sexually-transmitted infections.”
Rates of access to sexual health support services in the borough is highest among 17 to 21-year-olds and the large majority of those users are women, a report reveals.